The Berlin Wall By: Alex Arzenshek, Jane Cox, Joni DeVictor, and Kelley Threlkeld
Introduction After World War One, Germany was split into two sides. The East was occupied by the Soviets. The West was divided into three smaller sections for the British, French, and Americans. The German capital of Berlin was separated and occupied by Britain, America, the Soviet Union, and France. Unfortunately, Berlin was in the Eastern Soviet section of Germany. Tension emerged when the Western parts of Berlin were occupied by Soviet soldiers. This conflict was solved shortly after it occurred. The Western side formed the German Democratic Republic and the West formed the Federal Republic of Germany. These groups made up the two opposing sides for the Cold War. Nikita Khrushchev demanded that within six months all the issues between the two sides of Berlin be resolved. He wanted the other three countries occupying to evacuate and give the Soviets all of Germany. When the other countries refused to comply, Khrushchev took action and sealed the border between the East and West, creating the Berlin Wall.
TheBerlin Wall 13 feet tall 27 miles long
Target Questions Why did the government feel like the Berlin Wall was necessary? How did the people feel about the Wall? What did the Berlin Wall symbolize?
Who? Nikita Khrushchev was a Soviet premier who felt that Western Germany was a threat, since it was being occupied by the British, French, and Americans. He gave a “Secret Speech” and addressed the separation of Eastern and Western Germany in hopes that each side would become independent from one another. However, President Kennedy refused the proposed German peace treaty and would only be satisfied if Germany was once again united. In 1961, Khrushchev sealed the border between Eastern and Western Berlin in an effort to keep the Western side out of everyone’s business. Khrushchev had thirty thousand troops seal off West Berlin with a twenty-seven mile long concrete wall. This would later be known as the Berlin Wall.
What? The Berlin Wall was a concrete wall built by the German Democratic republic to separate east and west Germany. The Wall encompassed all of the western side of Germany’s capital, Berlin. Guards were placed sporadically along the wall. The part of the wall through Berlin was roughly 27 miles long, but the full length of the fence surrounding the entirety of Western Germany was 97 miles long. The Wall went through renovations four times before it was breached. The last improvements for the wall consisted of 45,000 pieces of concrete to completely annihilate any possibilities of travel through the two separate sections of Germany.
When? The Berlin Wall was a result of the Berlin Crisis that lasted from 1958-1962. On August 12th, 1961 is when the border between the eastern side (the Soviet side) and the western side (America, Great Britain, and France) began to be sealed. On this day, troops started to be assembled and by one in the morning, everyone was in place and wire posts were the start of the wall. On August 13th, the two countries had completely split. In mid 1962, they started strengthening the wall. and in 1965 they started using concrete slabs between steel girders and concrete posts. By 1975, they were using interlocking concrete slabs for complete blockage.
Where? The allies, France, Britain, United States, made a decision in which they decided to divide the country into four zones. Most of eastern Germany was given to the Soviet Union and Poland. About 15 million people that lived in this area were forced to leave. The capital of Germany, Berlin, was also made into four zones of occupation. The four zones of occupation include: the British Zone, French Zone, Soviet Union Zone and United States Zone. The Soviet Union was communist while the other three zones were considered democratic.
Why? There were two main reasons why it was built: economics and politics. Nikita Khrushchev feared the spread of western capitalism into the eastern side of Germany. The west was getting monetary help mainly from the United States, while the East was struggling under communism. Nikita Khrushchev built the Berlin Wall to try to force out the other occupants of Germany. When the west refused to give everything back to the Soviets in six months, he felt the Wall was the only choice to resolve conflict.
Compare/Contrast the view on the Wall West: The Western side of the Berlin Wall is covered with graffiti and drawings displaying the feelings of unrest, unhappiness and rebellion of the residents. To some people, the freedom of speech allowed on the west side appeared as a sign of a lacking government and to the communist East, it might have even seemed like a bridge into future anarchy. East: The Eastern side of the Berlin wall is completely unmarked. The people on the East side were not allowed near the wall. The government set up guards to make sure that none of the residents could escape. Unlike the West side, the East Berliners were not allowed to express their opinions and were forced to suppress their feelings of unhappiness.
The West Side of the Berlin Wall
East Side of the Berlin Wall
Side Picked After Hitler's dictatorship rule, the United States wanted to ensure a democracy. One of the things that occurred in efforts to gain this kind of economy was a private newspaper company in west Germany. This government’s free press allowed citizens to write about and express anything that they felt. When the Soviet Union started to rebuild their economy, they wanted to do so as a socialist republic. In this society, the government controlled all aspects of life, including all the media. We think that this was hindering to the people. The government should not be controlling all aspects of peoples lives. We side with the West and think the wall should never have gone up in the first place.
Interesting Facts Money in Eastern Germany did not have a lot of value compared to the money on the Western side. Money in Eastern Germany could only be used there. The guards from the Eastern side of the wall would investigate into cars crossing the border. The guards peered into the car windows, and they would poke a long stick into the gas tanks to insure people were not smuggling people out of the Eastern side. Any American citizen in the Eastern side was most of the time being followed and watched with extreme suspicion. The Brandenburg Gate was where leaders from the two sides of Berlin met after the restraints on the people were lifted and travel was legal again.
Conclusion The demolition of the Wall was about as rapid and unexpected as its initiation. In an interview, a member of the Politburo said that people living on the east side would be permitted to leave the country. He told reporters that the people would be able to travel immediately. People in East Berlin saw the televised interview and flooded the border in Berlin immediately. The guards had no choice but to allow the people to pass. On November 9, 1989, the people of Berlin demolished a section of the wall, thus destroying the symbol of the Cold War between East and West Berlin. The Wall was down forever and Berlin was once again united.
Work Cited Coleman, David G. "Berlin Wall." Gale Virtual Reference Library. N.p., 2006. Web. 10 May 2010. <http://go.galegroup.com/ps/ i.do?id=GALE|CX3401800421&v=2.1&u=cant48040&it=r&p=GVRL&sw=w>. Gafron, George. "The Berlin Wall." Newseum. N.p., n.d. Web. 11 May 2010. <http://www.newseum.org/cybernewseum/exhibits/berlin_wall/index.htm>. "History of the Berlin Wall: Why the Wall was built up." Berlin Wall Online. N.p., 2009. Web. 12 May 2010. <http://www.dailysoft.com/berlinwall/ history/why-the-berlinwall-was-built.htm>. "Khrushchev, Nikita." Gale Virtual Reference Library. Ed. Richard C Hanes, Sharon M Hanes, and Lawrene W Baker. Gale, 2004. Web. 11 May 2010. <http://go.galegroup.com/ps/ i.do?id=GALE|CX3410800143&v=2.1&u=cant48040&it=r&p=GVRL&sw=w>. Online Highways LLC. “Berlin Wall.” United States History . N.p., 2010. Web. 10 May 2010. http://www.u-s-history.com/pages/h1867.html. Rose, Cynthia, ed. American Decades Primary Sources. Vol. 7. 2004. Detroit: Gale, 2004. 10 vols. Gale Virtual Reference Library. Web. 10 May 2010. <http://go.galegroup.com/ps/ i.do?id=GALE|CX3490201306&v=2.1&u=cant48040&it=r&p=GVRL&sw=w>. Schmemann, Serge. When The Wall Came Down . Ed. Deidre Langeland. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Company, 2006. Print. Tulloch, David. "Berlin Wall." Gale Virtual Reference Library. N.p., 2006. Web. 10 May 2010. <http://go.galegroup.com/ps/ i.do?id=GALE|CX3403300077&v=2.1&u=cant48040&it=r&p=GVRL&sw=w>. "Why the Berlin Wall Was Built." Why the Berlin Wall Was Built. N.p., 2004. Web. 13 May 2010. <http://www.berlinermauer.se/BerlinWall/bygg.htm>.