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Berlin Wall
 

Berlin Wall

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Brief history of the Berlin Wall

Brief history of the Berlin Wall

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    Berlin Wall Berlin Wall Presentation Transcript

    • The Berlin Wall 1961 - 1989
    • Background
      • After WW II, Germany was divided into 4 zones.
      • The capital (Berlin) was also divided into 4 zones.
      • Soviet leader Joe Stalin tried to starve West Berlin with a blockade in 1948.
      • This was met by the Allied Berlin Airlift and Stalin lifted the blockade.
    • Two Germanys
      • West Germany
        • Created in 1949
        • Federal Republic of Germany
        • Including West Berlin
      • East Germany
        • Also created in 1949
        • German Democratic Republic
      • West Germany
        • Developed into a western capitalist country with a parliamentary democracy.
        • 1950s started 30 years of economic growth.
      • East Germany
        • Established an authoritarian government with a Soviet-style planned economy.
        • Many of its citizens looked to the much wealthier West for political freedoms and economic prosperity .
      Into the 1950s
      • The flight of growing numbers of East Germans to non-communist countries via West Berlin .
      • Between 1949 and the end of 1960, over 2.66 million East Germans had fled to the West .
      Problem for East Germany
      • The impetus for the creation of the Berlin Wall came from East German leader Walter Ulbricht, approved by Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev.
      • The flight of people to West Berlin was a huge embarrassment for the communists.
      Permission Granted
      • Construction of 156 km (97 miles) began early on Sunday, August 13, 1961 in East Berlin.
      • The zonal boundary had been sealed that morning by East German troops.
      • These soldiers stood in front of the construction with orders to shoot anyone who attempted to defect.
      Construction Begins 1961 The East German government claimed that the Wall was an "anti-Fascist protective rampart"
    • Building the wall…
    • JFK at the Berlin Wall
      • June 26, 1963
      • Kennedy gave his famous speech at the Wall. (click below to listen)
      • “ Ich Bin Ein Berliner”
      • Gave hope to West Berliners that US would not leave them alone to face the USSR.
    • General Facts about the Wall
      • The East German troops tore up streets and installed barbed wire and fences through Berlin in 1961.
      • Concrete blocks came first and within months a wall of concrete 12 feet high and 103 miles long was finished.
      • In 1962 a second parallel fence with 91 meters was made further into East territory, between the two barriers was created a “no man’s land”, later known as the “death strip”.
        • It was paved with raked gravel, making it easy to spot footprints; it offered no cover; it was booby-trapped with tripwires; and, most importantly, it offered a clear field of fire to the watching guards
    • Over the Years…
      • The wall went through 4 distinct phases:
        • Basic wire fence (1961)
        • Improved wire fence (1962–1965)
        • Concrete wall (1965–1975)
        • Grenzmauer 75 (Border Wall 75) (1975–1989)
    •  
    •  
    • Escaping to the West
      • From 1962 – 1989, around 200 people were killed trying to flee to the West.
      • On 1962-08-17, Peter Fechter, an eighteen year old citizen of East Berlin, bled to death after he was shot down by East Berlin border patrol in an attempt to escape over the wall .
      • During the Wall's existence there were around 5,000 successful escapes into West Berlin.
      • Successful escape attempts included long tunnels, waiting for favorable winds and taking a hot air balloon, sliding along aerial wires, flying ultralights, and in one instance, simply driving a sports car at full speed through the basic, initial fortifications.
      Success! On August 15, 1961, Conrad Schumann was the first East German border guard to escape by jumping the barbed wire to West Berlin.
      • Elected president in 1980 and 1984.
      • Took an aggressive position against the USSR + communism.
      • Believed USSR could be defeated.
      • Began huge military build up in US.
      Ronald Reagan
      • Came to power in 1985 in the USSR.
      • Allowed for some reforms and openness.
      • Realized the Soviet Union could not keep up with US military spending.
      Mikhail Gorbachev
      • “ General Secretary Gorbachev, if you seek peace, if you seek prosperity for the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe, if you seek liberalization: Come here to this gate!”
      • “ Mr. Gorbachev, open this gate! Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall!”
      Tear Down this Wall! Remarks at the Brandenburg Gate West Berlin, Germany June 12, 1987. This speech was delivered to the people of West Berlin, yet it was also audible on the East side of the Berlin wall.
      • Sometimes called the Autumn of Nations , was a revolutionary wave that swept across Central and Eastern Europe in the autumn of 1989, ending in the overthrow of Soviet-style communist states.
      • The political upheaval began in Poland, and led to a surge of mostly peaceful revolutions in East Germany, Czechoslovakia, Hungary, and Bulgaria.
      Revolutions of 1989
      • On May 2, 1989 the first visible cracks in the Iron Curtain appeared when Hungary began dismantling their 150 mile long border fence with Austria.
      • The relatively open border with the West allowed for hundreds of East Germans vacationing in Hungary to escape to Austria and then travel safely to West Germany.
      Beginning of the End
      • After Hungary's reformist government opened its borders, a growing number of East Germans began emigrating to West Germany via Hungary's border with Austria.
      • By the end of September 1989, more than 30,000 East Germans had escaped to the West.
      Fleeing East Germany Border Warning Sign that was disregarded by fleeing East Germans
      • Mass demonstrations against the government in East Germany began in October 1989.
      • The long-time leader of East Germany, Erich Honecker, resigned on October 18, 1989 .
      • Honecker had predicted in January of that year that the wall would stand for a "hundred more years" .
      Change in Leaders
      • After a misunderstanding, Gunther Schabowski famously announced in a live broadcast international press conference that (effectively) all rules for traveling abroad were lifted, in effect "immediately".
      • Tens of thousands of people immediately went to the Berlin Wall where the vastly outnumbered border guards were forced to open access points and allow them through, which proved to be the end of the Berlin Wall.
      November 9, 1989 East German Minister of Propaganda; famous for accidentally beginning the destruction of the Berlin Wall !!
    • East German Soldiers React
      • Soldiers were not sure of their orders up until the very end.
      • East German border policemen, refuse to shake hands with a Berliner who stretches out his hand over the border fence at the eastern site near the Checkpoint Charlie border crossing point .
      Hands across the divide
    • Celebration!
      • East Berlin citizens climb up the Berlin Wall near the Brandenburg Gate, November 10, 1989, to reach the western part of the divided city.
      • Leonard Bernstein gave a concert in Berlin celebrating the end of the Wall, including Beethoven's 9th symphony ( Ode to Joy ) with the word "Joy" (Freude) changed to "Freedom" (Freiheit) in the text sung.
      December 25, 1989
    • Images from the End
    • Media Reaction
      • The fall of the Wall was the first step toward German reunification, which was formally concluded on October 3, 1990.
      • Major symbol of Cold War was gone.
      Importance
    • THE END