Free Walking Tour Berlin

When: Every day 10am & 12pm every day
Where: The meeting point is in front of the ehemaliges Kaiserliches Postfuhramt Berlin, Oranienburger Straße, 10117 Berlin, Germany, next to the entrance.
Price: Free

Behind the Construction: The Berlin Wall and Its Builders

by | Oct 17, 2023 | Original Berlin

The Historical Context

In the aftermath of World War II, Germany was divided into four occupation zones controlled by the Allied forces:
the United States, Soviet Union, Britain, and France. As tensions between the Western powers and the Soviet
Union escalated, Germany became a focal point of the Cold War. Berlin, the nation’s capital, was
strategically positioned deep within Soviet-controlled East Germany.

The Decision to Build

The construction of the Berlin Wall in 1961 was a divisive and controversial decision made by the Soviet Union
and its leader, Nikita Khrushchev. Faced with a mass exodus of East Germans seeking freedom and economic
opportunities in West Germany and West Berlin, the Soviet government wanted to halt the brain drain and
prevent further destabilization of East Germany.

The Main Actors

Nikita Khrushchev

Khrushchev, the General Secretary of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union, played a central role in the
decision to build the Berlin Wall. He viewed the increasing number of people leaving East Germany as a
threat to the stability of the socialist regime.

Walter Ulbricht

Walter Ulbricht, the General Secretary of the Socialist Unity Party in East Germany, was also a driving force
behind the construction of the Berlin Wall. Ulbricht was committed to maintaining tight control over East
Germany and preventing any further drain of its population.

The Border Guards

The actual builders of the Berlin Wall were the border guards, members of the East German military and police
forces. They were responsible for the physical construction of the barricades, fences, and checkpoints that
spanned the entire length of Berlin.

The Construction Process

On the night of August 12, 1961, the East German authorities started the construction of the Berlin Wall. It
began with the erection of barbed wire obstacles and quickly evolved into a more substantial barrier,
consisting of concrete walls, guard towers, and a wide no-man’s-land known as the “death strip.” The
construction lasted for several years and led to the division of Berlin until its eventual fall in 1989.

The Impact and Significance

The construction of the Berlin Wall had a profound impact on the people of Berlin and the world at large. It
symbolized the division between East and West, between communism and democracy. Families were torn apart,
economic opportunities were limited, and the wall became a physical embodiment of the Cold War.

Conclusion

The Berlin Wall, built in 1961, was primarily the result of decisions made by Nikita Khrushchev and Walter
Ulbricht. The border guards were the physical builders of the wall, which stood as a stark reminder of the
ideological divide between East and West. The wall remained in place for almost three decades, serving as a
powerful symbol of the Cold War era, until it was torn down in 1989, signaling the reunification of Germany
and the end of an era of division and conflict.

The Historical Context

In the aftermath of World War II, Germany was divided into four occupation zones controlled by the Allied forces:
the United States, Soviet Union, Britain, and France. As tensions between the Western powers and the Soviet
Union escalated, Germany became a focal point of the Cold War. Berlin, the nation’s capital, was
strategically positioned deep within Soviet-controlled East Germany.

The Decision to Build

The construction of the Berlin Wall in 1961 was a divisive and controversial decision made by the Soviet Union
and its leader, Nikita Khrushchev. Faced with a mass exodus of East Germans seeking freedom and economic
opportunities in West Germany and West Berlin, the Soviet government wanted to halt the brain drain and
prevent further destabilization of East Germany.

The Main Actors

Nikita Khrushchev

Khrushchev, the General Secretary of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union, played a central role in the
decision to build the Berlin Wall. He viewed the increasing number of people leaving East Germany as a
threat to the stability of the socialist regime.

Walter Ulbricht

Walter Ulbricht, the General Secretary of the Socialist Unity Party in East Germany, was also a driving force
behind the construction of the Berlin Wall. Ulbricht was committed to maintaining tight control over East
Germany and preventing any further drain of its population.

The Border Guards

The actual builders of the Berlin Wall were the border guards, members of the East German military and police
forces. They were responsible for the physical construction of the barricades, fences, and checkpoints that
spanned the entire length of Berlin.

The Construction Process

On the night of August 12, 1961, the East German authorities started the construction of the Berlin Wall. It
began with the erection of barbed wire obstacles and quickly evolved into a more substantial barrier,
consisting of concrete walls, guard towers, and a wide no-man’s-land known as the “death strip.” The
construction lasted for several years and led to the division of Berlin until its eventual fall in 1989.

The Impact and Significance

The construction of the Berlin Wall had a profound impact on the people of Berlin and the world at large. It
symbolized the division between East and West, between communism and democracy. Families were torn apart,
economic opportunities were limited, and the wall became a physical embodiment of the Cold War.

Conclusion

The Berlin Wall, built in 1961, was primarily the result of decisions made by Nikita Khrushchev and Walter
Ulbricht. The border guards were the physical builders of the wall, which stood as a stark reminder of the
ideological divide between East and West. The wall remained in place for almost three decades, serving as a
powerful symbol of the Cold War era, until it was torn down in 1989, signaling the reunification of Germany
and the end of an era of division and conflict.

Thank you for reading. If you're inspired by the stories of Berlin and want to delve deeper, why not join us on our Free Berlin Walking Tour? It's a wonderful way to immerse yourself in the city's rich history and vibrant culture. We look forward to welcoming you soon.

WHAT TO EXPECT

  • 3.5 hours walking tour
  • Berlin’s major highlights
  • Brandenburg Gate
  • Reichstag and Berlin Wall
  • Historical sites

Free Walking Tour Berlin

When: Every day 10am & 12pm every day
Where: The meeting point is in front of the ehemaliges Kaiserliches Postfuhramt Berlin, Oranienburger Straße, 10117 Berlin, Germany, next to the entrance.
Price: Free