In this blog post, we will explore the reaction of the USSR (Union of Soviet Socialist Republics) to the construction of the Berlin Wall during the Cold War. The Berlin Wall, erected in 1961, was a physical barrier built by East Germany, with approval from the USSR, to divide East and West Berlin. It divided families, friends, and a city, and had significant political, economic, and social implications. Let’s delve into the USSR’s role and reaction to the construction of the Berlin Wall.
1. Immediate public statements
As the construction of the Berlin Wall began, the USSR publicly endorsed and supported the actions of East Germany. They justified the construction as a necessary response to Western provocations and claimed it was protecting East German citizens from imperialism and espionage.
2. Reinforcing Cold War tensions
The construction of the Berlin Wall further heightened the tensions of the already tense Cold War. The USSR saw the wall as a symbol of its control and authority over East Germany, establishing a physical boundary to prevent people from defecting to the West. By approving the construction, the USSR demonstrated its commitment to maintaining the Eastern Bloc’s unity and preventing the spread of Western influence.
3. Utilizing propaganda to justify the wall
The USSR, alongside East Germany, utilized heavy propaganda to justify the construction of the Berlin Wall. They propagated the narrative that the wall protected the socialist achievements of East Germany, ensuring stability and safeguarding the socialist ideology. This propaganda aimed to maintain the support of the East German population and strengthen the perception that the wall was for their benefit.
4. Diplomatic implications
The construction of the Berlin Wall had diplomatic implications for the USSR. It strained relations with the Western powers, particularly the United States, which vehemently opposed the wall as a violation of human rights and freedom. The wall became a highly visible symbol of the divided Cold War world, leading to increased tensions and creating an “iron curtain” dividing Europe.
5. Controlling movement between East and West Berlin
The USSR played a central role in controlling movement between East and West Berlin through its influence over East Germany. They established stringent border controls, fortified the wall, and deployed guards to prevent unauthorized crossings. The Stasi, East Germany’s secret police, closely monitored citizens and maintained strict border control under the guidance and support of the USSR.
6. The USSR’s reaction to attempts to breach the wall
The USSR supported the actions of East Germany in responding to attempts to breach the wall. They authorized deadly force to prevent those attempting to escape to West Berlin, leading to tragic incidents where individuals lost their lives while seeking freedom.
The USSR played a significant role in the construction and maintenance of the Berlin Wall during the Cold War. They publicly endorsed the wall, utilized propaganda to justify its existence, and controlled movement between the divided city. The wall served as a symbol of the deep divide between East and West ideologies during this tumultuous period in history, creating a physical barrier that lasted for nearly three decades before finally being torn down.
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