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 the Barrier: The Rise of the Berlin Wall

by | Mar 7, 2024 | Original Berlin

When it comes to significant historical events, few have left as much of a lasting impact as the construction of the Berlin Wall. This imposing structure, which stood for almost three decades, symbolized the division between East and West during the period of the Cold War. In this article, we’ll explore the origins of the Berlin Wall, its construction, and the profound consequences it had on both Germany and the world.

The Origins of the Berlin Wall

The seeds of the Berlin Wall were sown shortly after the end of World War II, during the negotiations between the Allied powers – the United States, the Soviet Union, the United Kingdom, and France. They divided Germany into four occupation zones, with each superpower governing a specific portion of the country.

As tensions between the Allies and the Soviet Union grew, so did the divide between the two German states: the Federal Republic of Germany (West Germany) and the German Democratic Republic (East Germany). This division led to a wave of mass migration as many East Germans sought better living conditions in the West.

Worried about the exodus of skilled workers, intellectuals, and professionals, the East German government, under the leadership of Walter Ulbricht, felt compelled to take action. They aimed to halt the population drain and maintain the socialist ideals they had implemented.

The Construction of the Berlin Wall

The construction of the Berlin Wall began in the early hours of August 13th, 1961. What started as a barbed wire and mesh fence quickly evolved into a formidable barrier. Built by the East German government with the support of the Soviet Union, the wall spanned approximately 155 kilometers (96 miles) and was composed of concrete segments, watchtowers, electrified fences, and heavily guarded checkpoints.

Overnight, families, friends, and loved ones were separated, and a city once unified became divided. The wall encircled West Berlin, completely isolating it from the surrounding East German territory. Those attempting to escape faced dire consequences, including imprisonment, torture, or even death as they risked their lives to overcome the barrier.

The Berlin Wall became a somber symbol of the ideological and physical separation between the East and the West. It represented the struggle between democracy and communism, freedom and repression.

The Impact of the Berlin Wall

The construction of the Berlin Wall had far-reaching effects on various aspects of life on both sides.

Political Consequences

Politically, the wall solidified the division between the democratic Western powers and the Soviet-led Eastern Bloc. It became a stark reminder of the tensions and conflicts of the Cold War era.

The United States, in an effort to show support for West Berlin and its citizens, launched the Berlin Airlift in 1948. This massive airlift campaign provided essential supplies to those living in West Berlin when Soviet forces cut off all land access. The construction of the wall served as a reminder of the struggles faced during that time.

Social and Economic Impact

Socially and economically, the wall had a profound impact on the lives of people on both sides. Families and friends were abruptly torn apart, with contact reduced to letters and occasional visits under strict supervision.

In East Germany, the wall further stifled the already limited freedoms and opportunities available to its citizens. The regime’s tight control over everyday life magnified, and citizens faced constant surveillance and restricted travel.

Meanwhile, in West Germany, the wall became a symbol of resilience and hope. The city of West Berlin quickly transformed into a vibrant hub of creativity and innovation, attracting artists, musicians, and intellectuals who sought refuge from the oppressive regime in the East.

The Fall of the Berlin Wall

The optimism and yearning for freedom that had been growing in East Germany could no longer be contained by the wall. On November 9th, 1989, after weeks of mass demonstrations, the East German government, overwhelmed by mounting pressure, announced that travel restrictions would be lifted.

Thousands of East Berliners flocked to the wall, greeted by jubilant West Berliners. Many climbed onto the wall, hammer and chisel in hand, to chip away at the concrete barrier. It was a defining moment in history, signaling the end of the Cold War era and the reunification of Germany.


The construction and eventual fall of the Berlin Wall remain powerful reminders of the intense political divisions and the resilience of the human spirit. The wall’s legacy serves as a testament to the enduring desire for freedom and the perseverance of those who dared to challenge oppressive regimes.

Today, the remnants of the Berlin Wall stand as a memorial, allowing visitors to reflect on a dark chapter in history and honor those who fought for unity and liberty. The story of the wall acts as a constant reminder of the power of a divided world and the importance of striving for a future without barriers.

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.


  • 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