Berlin Wall

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The Berlin Wall was the most poignant symbol of the Cold War and served as a prominent reminder of the repressive nature of Soviet Dominance in post World War II in Europe. After the fall of Nazi Germany, the allied powers divided newly conquered country into four zones, each of the sections occupied by the US, Great Britain, France, or the Soviet Union; the same was done with the capital city of Berlin (Rosenberg). Being the center of the country, Berlin was split between the two sides, the west turning into an island of democracy within Communist East Germany (Rosenberg). By 1961, 2.5 million East Germans had fled. Thus, the Berlin Wall was built as a means of stopping the increasing exodus of population (Biesinger).

East Germans were not the only victims to the split of the Berlin Wall however. Because the wall was built a few yards back from the border, West Berlin citizens who came too close to the wall were subject to arrest by the GDR border patrols. To keep the city booming, the FRG encouraged much foreign immigration and granted special privileges to people staying in West Berlin (Dowling).

The western half of the now losing power city became a symbol of freedom, which was recognized most famously by John F. Kennedy’s phrase “Ich bin ein Berliner” which translates to I am a resident of Berlin. “Two thousand years ago the proudest boast of Civis Romanus sum. Today, in the world of freedom, the proudest boast is Ich bin ein Berliner. There are many people in the world who really don’t understand, or say they don’t, what is the great issue between the free world and the Communist world. Let them come to Berlin. There are some who say that communism is the wave of the future. Let them come to Berlin. And there are some who say in Europe and elsewhere we can work with the Communists. Let them come to Berlin. And there are even few who say that it is true that communism is an evil system, but it permits us to make economic progress....
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