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 Cold War Symbol: The Story Behind the Construction of the Berlin Wall

by | Mar 7, 2024 | Original Berlin

Introduction to the Berlin Wall

One of the most significant historical events of the 20th century was the construction of the Berlin Wall in 1961. Erected during the Cold War, the Berlin Wall stood as a physical and ideological barrier, dividing East and West Berlin, symbolizing the deep tensions of the time. In this article, we will explore the reasons behind the building of the Berlin Wall and its impact on the people and the world.

The Cold War and the Division of Germany

Following World War II, Germany was divided into four occupied zones controlled by the victorious Allied powers: the United States, Great Britain, France, and the Soviet Union. The capital city, Berlin, was also divided into four sectors, even though it was located in the Soviet-controlled East Germany. As tensions between the Soviet Union and the other Allied powers escalated, disagreements arose regarding the future of Berlin.

The Rise of the Iron Curtain

In the wake of World War II, Europe became divided along ideological lines. The Soviet Union and its Eastern European satellite states fell under communist control, while Western Europe embraced capitalist ideologies influenced by the United States. This divide became known as the “Iron Curtain,” symbolizing the separation between the two opposing sides.

The Feud Over Berlin

As tensions grew between the United States and the Soviet Union, Berlin became a focal point of the rivalry. The city was deep inside East Germany, yet governed by the Allies, inspiring a flood of East Berliners to escape to West Berlin in search of freedom and better living conditions. This provoked the Soviet Union, leading to a blockade by East Germany in 1948 in an attempt to force the Allies out of West Berlin.

The Construction of the Berlin Wall

On August 13, 1961, the German Democratic Republic (GDR), under Soviet influence, commenced the construction of the Berlin Wall. Officially known as the “Antifascist Protection Rampart,” it was presented as a measure to protect East German citizens from Western “fascist elements.” However, the true motives behind the construction were to prevent the mass exodus of East Berliners to the West, thereby stopping the brain drain and preserving the legitimacy of the Eastern regime.

The Wall’s Structure

The Berlin Wall spanned approximately 96 miles (155 kilometers) and consisted of concrete slabs, watchtowers, barbed wire, anti-vehicle trenches, and a strip of cleared land known as the “death strip.” The wall encircled West Berlin, cutting it off completely from East Germany. It stood as a formidable physical barrier, manned by armed guards who had orders to shoot anyone attempting to cross.

Impact on Berliners

The construction of the Berlin Wall had a profound impact on the people living in Berlin. Families were separated, and friends were torn apart overnight. Many East Berliners found themselves trapped in the East, unable to visit or communicate with loved ones in the West. The wall became a symbol of oppression and became a constant reminder of the division.

The Fall of the Wall

The Berlin Wall stood for 28 years, representing one of the darkest chapters in German and world history. However, with changes in political climate and mounting pressure from both the international community and its own citizens, the GDR finally allowed unrestricted movement across the border on November 9, 1989. Thousands of East Germans flooded through the checkpoints, and celebrations erupted on both sides of the wall. This historic event marked the beginning of the end for the Cold War.

Legacy of the Berlin Wall

The fall of the Berlin Wall symbolized not only the reunification of Germany but also the collapse of the Soviet Union and the end of the Cold War. The wall serves as a constant reminder of the importance of freedom, the consequences of division, and the resilience of people coming together to overcome hardship.


The construction of the Berlin Wall in 1961 represents a significant event in history that embodies the struggle and division of the Cold War era. Standing as a physical manifestation of the Iron Curtain, the wall was built to prevent East Berliners from fleeing to the West, but it also became a symbol of repression and the human spirit’s longing for freedom. The fall of the wall holds a special place in history, serving as a reminder that unity and freedom can triumph over division.

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