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

From Division to Unity: The Story of the Berlin Wall

by | Mar 7, 2024 | Original Berlin


The Berlin Wall stands as a powerful symbol of division and subsequent reunification. Erected on August 13, 1961, this concrete barrier physically separated East and West Berlin for nearly three decades. Its fall on November 9, 1989, marked a significant turning point in history, as it ultimately led to the reunification of Germany. Let’s explore the timeline of events surrounding the construction and eventual dismantling of the Berlin Wall.

The Construction of the Berlin Wall

In the years following World War II, tensions between the Soviet Union and the Western Allies escalated. As Berlin was located within the Soviet occupation zone of East Germany, it became a focal point of these conflicts. East Germany, under Soviet influence, aimed to stop the mass exodus of its citizens to the more prosperous West Germany.

On August 13, 1961, the East German government authorized the construction of a barrier to deter emigration. Soldiers and police swiftly closed off streets, erected barbed wire fences, and created a fortified wall along a 155-kilometer (96-mile) stretch that surrounded West Berlin.

Hundreds of checkpoints were established, and the wall eventually evolved into a complex system of multiple barriers, including fences, trenches, and guard towers. The wall also included a “death strip,” an area littered with obstacles and mines to prevent escape attempts.

The Impact of the Berlin Wall

The construction of the Berlin Wall had a profound impact on the lives of East and West Berlin citizens. Families were abruptly separated, as loved ones found themselves on opposite sides of the wall. People who once crossed freely between the two sides were now restricted by strict border controls.

Life within East Berlin was characterized by political repression and limited freedoms, while West Berlin enjoyed relative prosperity and freedom. Despite these stark differences, the Western powers and the German government refused to formally recognize the division and continued to assert their right to access Berlin.

Escapes and Tragedies

Over the years, numerous individuals attempted daring escapes from East Berlin. Some risked their lives by climbing over the wall or tunneled under it, while others tried to disguise themselves in vehicles or swim across bodies of water. These escape attempts often resulted in tragedies, with many losing their lives in the process.

Among the notable escape attempts was the story of Peter Fechter, an 18-year-old East German who was shot and left to bleed for hours in the “death strip” before succumbing to his injuries. Tragic incidents like these drew international attention and intensified the outrage against the wall.

The Fall of the Berlin Wall

The fall of the Berlin Wall was a historic moment that symbolized the end of the Cold War and the beginning of a new era. The catalyst for the wall’s eventual demise was a combination of internal pressures, political changes, and protests.

The East German government faced mounting economic challenges and increased pressure for political reform. Pro-democracy movements gained momentum, with mass protests demanding freedom and the reunification of Germany.

On the evening of November 9, 1989, East German officials unexpectedly announced that travel restrictions for citizens were lifted. Berliners flooded the checkpoints, and border guards, overwhelmed by the crowds, eventually opened the gates. People joyously climbed on top of the wall, using hammers and chisels to chip away at the concrete structure that had kept them apart for so long.

The Reunification of Germany

Following the fall of the Berlin Wall, efforts towards German reunification accelerated rapidly. The governments of East and West Germany began negotiations, and on October 3, 1990, the reunification became official. The two nations were formally reunited as the Federal Republic of Germany.

Reunification brought about great joy and hope for the German people. The wall, once a symbol of division, became a symbol of unity and the triumph of freedom over oppression.


The Berlin Wall’s construction and subsequent fall were pivotal moments in history. It represented the sharp division between East and West during the Cold War and the longing for freedom and reunification. The fall of the Berlin Wall illustrated the power of people united in their pursuit of liberty. Today, the remnants of the wall stand as a reminder of the resilience and the triumph of the human spirit.

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