Berlin Wall

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The Berlin Wall was a huge part of the history of Germany because it was a contributing factor in the way that Germany was shaped from 1961 to 1989. There was no one reason for the building of the Wall it was a cluster of many events that took place. The west part of Germany was a very prosperous and profound area in the late 1950’ and early 1960’s and it was only going to get better. They had wanted to continue to grow their economy but East Germany was holding it back. East Germany was ‘behind the eight ball’ and had many problems inside their territory. They were a communist region refusing to give up its identity and their people did not like this. At a rapid pace East Germans began to move over to West Germany and the East lost many of their skilled workers (Harrison). This movement had begun to offset the East and the West and eventually created resentment within the East towards the West. The East saw no other resolution besides to build a wall that would create a separation between the two areas. On August 13, 1961 East Germany and its soldiers had constructed a wall to separate East and West Germany. This had separated many families and a ton of controversy and eventually on November 9, 1989 the wall was torn down. From 1961 to 1989 the Berlin Wall created many problems through Germany but the tearing down of the wall allowed for unification within Germany, the end of communism, and a prosperous Germany (Berlin Wall, Berlin).

The Building of the Berlin Wall a result of three things: to help stabilize the East Germans, keep people from fleeing from the East to the West, and to attempt to maintain the East’s communist state. Since the western life was better and the East Germans needed to keep the professionals in their city, the government closed the frontier between the two states in 1958. By July 1961, an average of 30,000 East Germans were fleeing to the west each month. Most of these refugees who left the East were young skilled workers. Obviously, the East could not afford to lose talent like this in their workforce. The survival of East Germany was threatened and the only solution was to build a wall (Nicolaevsky, 38-39). In twelve years between the establishment of East Germany in 1948 and the Wall over 2.7 million East Germans fled to West Berlin. This shift caused many problems in the workforce and in the economy. On top of the exchange of people, the money in the economies of the two states was vastly different too. Every four dollars in the East was one in the West and people could get things cheaper in the West so people saw an economic reason to leave East Germany as well and these reasons all forced the building of the all in 1961 (Adenauer, 19).

The most noticeable and immediate problems of the wall was the separation of families and friends. Overnight, East Berliners were denied the right to travel over to the west. For those who had relatives in the West it was impossible to imagine that they would never see their loved ones again. This scenario affected thousands of Berliners and there are many stories of people crying as the stood at the barrier of the barbed wire (Brinkley, 53-55). Roughly 60,000 East Berliners were cut off from their jobs in West Berlin and this prevented their own personal financial improvements as wages in the West were higher than the East. This also created problems for companies in the West who often relied on Easterners who they could pay lower. This then forced the West Berlin companies to higher Italians, Yugoslavs, and Turks who made up one fifth of the workforce (Le Gloannec).

From 1949 to 1961 large numbers of skilled workers commuted to work each day. Many East Berliners did shopping in the West because of the price differences and because of the Wall this inhibited those sales that were being made in the West. As many East Berliners experience life the “Western Way” either by visiting West Berlin or accessing TV and radio they decided to move to the West for...
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