Significance of the Berlin Wall

Only available on StudyMode
  • Download(s) : 796
  • Published : November 28, 2001
Open Document
Text Preview
Significance of The Berlin Wall

The Berlin Wall, built in August of 1961, was s physical symbol of the political and emotional divisions of Germany. The Wall was built because of a long lasting suspicion between the Soviet Union on one side and Western Europe and the United States on the other. For 28 years the Berlin Wall separated friends, families, and a nation. After WWII was over Germany was divided into four parts. The United States, Great Britain, and France controlled the three divisions that were formed in the Western half and the Eastern half was controlled by the Soviet Republic. The Western sections eventually united to make a federal republic, while the Eastern half became communist. Even though Berlin lay deep within the Soviet sector, the Allies thought it would be the best to divide this capital. Therefore Berlin was also divided into four parts. Since the Soviet Union was in control of the eastern half of Germany, they made East Berlin the capital of East Germany. The other three counties were each in control of a small part of what was to be West Germany. The Allies decided that they would come together to form one country out of their three divided parts. Those three divided parts formed West Germany. After all the land was divided the Soviet Union controlled East Germany. Just like the Soviet Union, the economy in East Germany was struggling to get back on its feet after the war. While West Berlin became a lively urban area like many American cities, East Berlin became what many thought of as a ‘Mini-Moscow'. In East Germany there was literary almost nothing. The shelves in the stores were practically bare, and what was there was not in very good quality. At first, the divisions between East and West Berlin were uncertain. There was nothing that divided the city. For more than ten years after the official split of the city, East Berlin saw a major emigration of East Germans, unhappy with the communist system. With nothing physical to separate East and West Berlin, migration from totalitarianism to democracy was as easy for East Berliners as changing houses. The Soviet Union went against their promises to the people of East Germany, and made East Germany a Communist country. This decision by the Soviet Union separated East Germany even more from the rest of Europe. East Germany was now all by itself, and by the summer of 1952 the border between East and West Germany was closed; only in Berlin was the border was still open ( Encarta ). On June 17, 1953 the workers of East Germany were fed up, and they started a riot. By noon the riots had escalated and the workers from East Germany were marching through the Brandenburg Gate into West Germany with intension to combine with workers from West Germany. All of this came to an end when the Soviet Union called in tanks, and other troops, to take care of the riots. The Soviet tanks shot into the crowds of people killing many, and injuring many others, they even shot into the crowds in West Germany that were rioting ( Schulze ). The people of East Germany realized that they were trapped in East Germany, and if they wanted out they would have to risk their lives in doing so. In the late 1950's approximately 8,000 to 10,000 people from East Germany left and each day they would move further and further west. More than half of the emigrants between 1949 and 1961 were under the age of 24. For people under 60 years old, lawful emigration was not easy ( Encarta ). Legal processes were lengthy and difficult, and they were eventually successful in discouraging the young people from leaving the country. However, emigration for the elderly was no problem since they had no big role in the growth of the Communist State. East Germany did not have any ideas on how to stop all the people from leaving in groups, until a person came up with an idea to build a wall so high, and so booby-trapped that no one would try to get over the wall. This idea, thought up by some unknown...
tracking img