The Fall of the Berlin Wall and Communism in Europe Essay
1804 Words8 Pages
After World War II, Germany was separated into four different sectors assigned to the triumphant Allied forces: the United States, Britain, France, and the Soviet Union. (Wolski) The capital was located one hundred fifteen miles into Soviet territory. (Kenny) The Western Allies believed this was unfair because Berlin was the only large city at the time. They agreed to separate Berlin into quadrants as well. (Wolski) The United States, Britain, and France joined their sectors together as a democratic state called the Federal Republic of Germany. (Taylor) Meanwhile, Russia kept their portion separate and it became known as the German Democratic Republic (GDR). However, this caused a problem because the democratic West Berlin was…show more content…
He wanted to cut off shipments of goods into the Western half of the city. The desperate citizens asked the West for help. The United States’ response became known as the Berlin Airlift. It was the idea of General Locus Clay and approved by President Truman. Cargo planes brought food and other necessary items into the blockaded city. The blockade was finally lifted in May of 1949. By the end, American pilots flew in over two million tons of supplies on 270,000 flights. (Kenny) President Clinton once said, “If the Soviet empire was a prison, then Berlin was the place where everyone could see the bars and look behind them.” He believed that the empire could only exist behind a wall. If ideas and people from the outside were allowed in, the structure would surely collapse. (Clinton) During the summer of 1961, the mass departure from East Germany reached critical levels. (Taylor) President Kennedy said, “He (Nikita Krushchev, Stalin’s successor) will have to do something to stop the flow of refugees – perhaps a wall. And we won’t be able to prevent it. I can hold the alliance together to defend West Berlin, but I cannot act to keep East Berlin open.” (Kenny) Thus began the building of the infamous Berlin Wall. The building started on August 12, 1961 under the leadership of Erich Honecker. (Wolski) Sunday, August 13, became known as Stacheldrahtsonntag, or barbed wire Sunday. (Taylor) The mission was top secret, and
The Rise and Fall of the Berlin Wall
- Length: 1024 words (2.9 double-spaced pages)
- Rating: Excellent
There are many events concerning the rising and the falling of the Berlin Wall, I will attempt to explain some of them in my following report. The person responsible for the rise of the Wall was Walter Ulbricht. He was a longtime member of the German Communist Party. After 1958 the German Democratic Republic (GDR or East Germany) entered a new state of development. As a result of this a sharp rise of industrial output was ordered in East Berlin. This was a part of a Seven - Year Economic Plan to bring per capita consumption in the GDR up to the level of the Federal Republic or Germany (FRG or West Germany).
The one major loop hole of this scheme was the open border to West Berlin. Which hundreds of East Germans left the country daily. Most of them went underground and weren’t notice. Even regular spot checks by police had no effect because most people avoided it by making several trips few belongings at a time. This flow of refuges continued for about a six month period. After that it stopped for a little while, but as soon as the effect of the Seven-Year Plan began to be felt the flow of refuges arose again.
In 1959, it was a total of 144,000 refuges and in 1960 it rose to 199,00 and in the first seven months of 1961 it rose again to 207,000. This included hundreds of professional
people 688 doctors, 296 dentists, 2,698 engineers. The total estimation of 2.5 million people had fled between the years of 1949 and 1961.
Although Berlin was politically divided after the end of World War II. To emphasize the point of and to stop the flow from East Berlin. It was physically divided by a wall in 1961. Fleeing the republic was now a criminal offense. The people of East Berlin were
effectively locked in their country. In the summer of 1961 Ulbricht persuaded the Russians that force was the only way to stop the fleeing of all the people.
Early Sunday morning August 13, 1961 the Wall went up. The GDR began to block off East Berlin from West Berlin by means of barbed wire and antitank obstacles. Streets were torn up, and barricades of paving stones were erected, and tanks were gathered in crucial places. The subways and local railway services between East and West Berlin were interrupted.
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Berlin Wall Economic Plan Democratic Republic East Germany West Germany Sunday Morning Communist Party Offense
People of East Berlin were no longer allowed to enter West Berlin amongst them were 60,000 commuters who had worked in West Berlin. The East German government severed telephone links between East and West Berlin and halted any border crossing that did not have official approval from the government.
The following day construction brigades began replacing the provisional barriers by a solid wall. All roads came to a dead end at the Wall except for a three heavily guarded
border crossings. Those checkpoints were Alpha (Helmstedt) and Bravo (Dreilinden), and the third was Charlie which was the most popular one. Until 1990, Checkpoint Charlie was the only crossing point for foreigners between East and West Berlin. The subway systems was rerouted into two separate systems. After August 23, 1961 citizens of west Berlin were no longer allowed to enter East Berlin. On September 20, 1961 the forced evacuation of house situated immediately at the border. People of East Berlin living within a 100m to the border had to register.
The total length of the wall was 96 miles, 27 miles though the city center, and 23 through residential areas and 46 miles in other places. The concrete segment wall was 12 feet high. The wire mesh fencing on the wall was 42 miles long and the anti-vehicle
trenches were 65 miles long. There was a total of 302 watch towers, and 20 bunkers around the Wall. The contact or signal fence was 79 miles long.
Escaping was virtually impossible because mines, attack dogs and armed guards with shoot-to-kill orders. People attempted to escape by climbing, vaulting, tunneling or crashing through checkpoint. Other attempted to swim the canals or stow away in cargo shipped across the border. Unsuccessful attempts resulted in death, mostly at the hands of East German guards. Total estimations show that more than 400 people had died trying to
escape from East Germany and 120 of then by shooting and 160 were killed at the boarded. Although human-rights activists say the true figure could be closer to 800. There were 5,000 people who succeeded in passing the Wall and 3,200 who were arrested at the Wall.
The Wall was not just an international frontier between two countries, it was a front-line between to opposite ways of life. It was a border between communism and capitalism, totalitarianism and democracy and mainly represented the boarder between was and peace.
Large numbers of East Germans fled to West Germany by way of Hungary, Czechoslovakia, and Poland. The border with West Berlin remained closed to East Germans until November 1989, when mass demonstrations throughout East Germany forced the government to allow citizens to travel freely. On November 9, 1989 the border between East Germany and West Germany was opened. The East German government ended its restrictions on immigration and travel to the West by its citizens.
The East Germans opened the 26 mile Wall that divided the cities and soon began to tear it down. A tidal wave of thousand made the way through checkpoints. At 4 am of 9/10 of November people were still celebrating shops were still open people crowding in
to buy souvenirs. On November 10/11, 1989 the flow from East to West Berlin was endless. On November 11th the first slab of concrete was removed from the wall to the cheering of thousands. On November 12th the Wall was opened at Potsdaren Platz which once was on of the busiest crossroads in Western Europe. On December 22nd the Brandenburg Gate was opened. The Brandenbug Gate was a part of the soviet occupied sector, and when the Wall was built to separate East and West Berlin, the gate was sealed off in the stretch of land between the two sections of the divided city.