The Fall of the Berlin Wall from Mary gold's blog

The end of World War II left Germany partitioned into 4 sectors, which were controlled by France, United States, Russia and Britain. Germany’s capital, Berlin, had also been partitioned similarly. However, the British, French and American sectors were united in 1949 to form West Germany (“The Rise and Fall,” n.d.). This became known as the capitalist country while the remaining sector under Russia was the communist country (Engel, 2011, p. 24). The border between the communist and capitalist states was closed but the one dividing East and West Berlin was not. This opinion essay writing paper examines the events that led to the fall of this border, which ended the partition.

On August 13, 1961, a barrier made from barbed wire was set up. This was initiated by the communist Government of East Germany, whose aim was to prevent the entry of Western fascists into East Germany as the latter could contribute to the undermining of the socialist state. The barricade was also an attempt to put a stop to the mass defections of the citizens from East to West (Engel, 2011, p. 13). This closed various established crossing points between the Soviet and Western sectors, consequently separating families and neighborhoods. The barricade was later developed into a concrete structure that was heavily guarded. This wall isolated West Germany from other parts of the country.

Before the building of the wall, the citizens from the eastern and western sectors could cross back and forth freely. After the wall was built, however, access to either sectors was considerably limited (“The Rise and Fall,” n.d.). Initially, three major checkpoints placed at Dreilinden, Helmstedt and Friedrichstrasse were used to screen movement between these regions. These were later added to twelve checkpoints and only officials and diplomats were allowed to enter or leave. It was, however, difficult for ordinary citizens to cross except under special circumstances. In 1965, a sturdier wall was erected 100 meters behind the makeshift wall. This wall was 4 feet wide and 12 feet tall, with a massive pipe at the top which made climbing over quite difficult. A death strip comprising trip-wire machine guns, floodlights, soft sand and soldiers with vicious dogs was set up on the eastern side right behind the wall (Sarotte, 2014, p. 93). This was meant to deter crossing and those who attempted were instantly killed. However, people still managed to cross over the wall by using sewer tunnels, hot air balloons or using the buildings next to the wall to jump over.

Civil unrest and a number of significant political changes in Eastern Europe in 1989 made the government of East Germany loosen restrictions pertaining border crossing between the two sectors. G?nter Schabowski, the East German spokesman, announced that crossing was permitted between the two sectors. However, Western media interpreted this announcement wrongly and thus made an inaccurate report that the border between the two sectors had been opened (Sarotte, 2014, p. 147). Consequently, many people gathered on both sides of the wall at the designated checkpoints. The soldiers who had not been made aware of the developments, were eventually overwhelmed by the multitude and so decided to let them through (Sarotte, 2014, p. 147). There were nationwide celebrations which marked the end of this partition, during which time the wall was destroyed using various tools.

After many years of partition, the announcement from the communist government of Western Berlin set in motion the events that led to the destruction of the wall. This announcement was the result of various political, social and economic factors which put pressure on the weakened and unstable communist government (Millington, 2014). The fall of the wall was an important event since it marked the beginning of Germany’s reunification. The country was officially reunited 11 months later on October 3, 1990.

     Blog home

The Wall

No comments
You need to sign in to comment