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

Building and Fall of the Berlin Wall: An Iconic Symbol of Division

by | Oct 17, 2023 | Original Berlin

The Rise of the Berlin Wall

The Berlin Wall was a concrete symbol of the ideological divide between the Western countries and the Soviet-controlled Eastern Bloc during the Cold War. Construction of the wall began on August 13, 1961, but its roots can be traced back to the end of World War II in 1945 when Germany was divided into four occupied zones controlled by the United States, the Soviet Union, Britain, and France.

As tensions escalated between the Western Allies and the Soviet Union, Germany became a focal point of the Cold War. The ideological differences between the two sides led to an increasing number of East Germans fleeing to the West, seeking freedom and better living conditions. This mass exodus posed a significant challenge to the communist regime in East Germany and prompted the construction of the Berlin Wall.

The Construction Process

The Berlin Wall was constructed by the German Democratic Republic (GDR) under the leadership of the Soviet Union. Initially, barbed wire fences were set up overnight in Berlin on August 13, 1961, to prevent East Germans from escaping to the Western part of the city. Over time, these makeshift barriers were replaced by a more formidable structure that became known as the Berlin Wall.

The wall was constructed using concrete segments, each weighing several tons. These segments, measuring 3.6 meters (12 feet) high, featured rounded tops to discourage attempts to scale or grip the wall. Additionally, the wall was patrolled by armed guards and watchtowers equipped with searchlights, making escape attempts incredibly risky.

The construction of the wall continued for several years, with additional fortifications and improvements being made along its length. Much of the wall ran along the border between East and West Berlin, but it also encircled the entire West Berlin region, effectively cutting it off from East Germany.

The Fall of the Berlin Wall

The Berlin Wall stood as a physical and ideological barrier for 28 years. On November 9, 1989, a series of events and a misunderstanding led to the sudden and unexpected opening of the border. A government official misspoke during a press conference, indicating that travel restrictions would be eased. This announcement sparked a wave of euphoria among East Germans, who flocked to the border crossings in large numbers.

Overwhelmed by the situation and lacking clear instructions, the border guards decided to open the checkpoints. Thousands of East Germans poured into West Berlin, celebrating their newfound freedom. People from both sides of the wall climbed on top of it, bringing hammers and chisels to break off souvenirs.

The Aftermath

The fall of the Berlin Wall marked a pivotal moment in history, symbolizing the end of the Cold War and the reunification of Germany. The dismantling of the wall began almost immediately, as people from both sides enthusiastically tore it down, brick by brick, turning it into a symbol of unity rather than division. The reunification process took time and effort, but the barriers that once divided the city were removed, and Germany emerged as a united nation.

The Legacy of the Berlin Wall

The Berlin Wall serves as a powerful reminder of the consequences of political division and the desire for freedom. Its remnants stand as a memorial and a tribute to those who suffered during the era of separation. Today, parts of the wall are preserved as landmarks and historic sites throughout Berlin, attracting visitors from around the world who seek to learn more about this turbulent period.

Conclusion

The completion of the Berlin Wall in 1961 solidified the division between East and West Germany, becoming a symbol of the ideological clash during the Cold War. When it fell in 1989, it marked the triumph of the desire for freedom and unity over division and oppression. The construction and eventual fall of the Berlin Wall remains a significant historical event, reminding us of the importance of open borders, communication, and the inherent human desire for freedom.

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