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

The Berlin Wall: Dividing a City, Separating Lives

by | Mar 7, 2024 | Original Berlin

Welcome to our comprehensive guide on one of the most significant symbols of the Cold War era, the Berlin Wall. In this article, we will explore the question, “Who did the Berlin Wall separate?”

The Beginning of the Division

The Berlin Wall was constructed by the German Democratic Republic (GDR) on August 13, 1961. It was a physical barrier that divided the city of Berlin into two parts: East Berlin, controlled by the Soviet Union and the GDR, and West Berlin, which was under the influence of the United States, Great Britain, and France. The construction of the wall was a response to the mass emigration from East Germany to West Germany, mainly through Berlin, which the GDR considered a significant brain drain.

East Berliners

Primarily, the Berlin Wall separated the people of East Berlin from the rest of Berlin. East Berliners were German citizens residing in the eastern part of the city, which was under the control of the Soviet Union. The wall prevented them from freely crossing into West Berlin or West Germany.

East Berliners faced numerous challenges due to the division. Families were separated, and people were cut off from their workplaces, schools, and friends. They had to rely on temporary border crossings, such as Checkpoint Charlie, to visit their loved ones in the western part of the city. However, these crossings were highly regulated, and obtaining the necessary permits was often a cumbersome and emotionally challenging process.

West Berliners

While West Berliners were not physically separated from the rest of Berlin by the wall, their lives were also affected by its presence. They lived in a city surrounded by a concrete barrier, a constant reminder of the division between East and West. West Berliners faced the psychological pressure of living in a city with limited access to the eastern part, which was a stark contrast to their pre-divided lives.

West Berliners often witnessed attempts by East Berliners to escape by climbing over the wall or using makeshift tunnels. Such events deepened the sense of separation and reminded them of the extent to which their fellow citizens on the other side of the wall yearned for freedom.

The Consequences of the Wall

For nearly 28 years, the Berlin Wall stood as a physical and ideological boundary, affecting the lives of millions of people in different ways. The wall reinforced the division between East and West, further establishing the Soviet and NATO blocs during the Cold War.

The Border Guards

The GDR stationed border guards along the wall to ensure that East Germans did not attempt to cross into West Berlin illegally. These guards were responsible for patrolling the wall, preventing escapes, and maintaining order. Unfortunately, attempts to cross the border illegally often resulted in tragedy, with guards having the authority to use force, including firearms, to prevent escape.

The story of Peter Fechter, an East Berliner shot while trying to cross the wall in 1962 and left to die, stands as a tragic example of the harsh measures enforced by the GDR. The border guards ensured that the division between East and West remained intact, reinforcing the psychological impact of the wall on the people.

The Fall of the Wall

On November 9, 1989, after years of mounting pressure and increasing protests, the Berlin Wall finally fell. This momentous event marked the beginning of the reunification of Germany and played a significant role in the end of the Cold War. The fall of the wall was celebrated worldwide and symbolized the triumph of freedom over division.

So, who did the Berlin Wall separate? In its physical representation, the wall separated the people of East Berlin from the rest of the city, preventing them from freely crossing into West Berlin or West Germany. It also affected the lives and psyche of West Berliners, who experienced a continued sense of division and witnessed the struggles of their fellow citizens on the other side.

Conclusion

The Berlin Wall was much more than just a concrete barrier; it was a symbol of the vast ideological divide between the East and the West during an era of tension and hostility. Its construction and subsequent fall shaped the lives of countless individuals, leaving a lasting impact on both personal and geopolitical levels.

Today, the remains of the Berlin Wall serve as a reminder of the importance of unity, freedom, and the resilience of the human spirit in the face of division. The story of the Berlin Wall is a lesson for generations to come, highlighting the significance of overcoming barriers and embracing the power of unity.

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