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 History Behind the Berlin Wall

by | Oct 17, 2023 | Original Berlin

The Rise of the Berlin Wall

The Berlin Wall, one of the most infamous symbols of the Cold War era, was built to separate East Berlin, controlled by the Soviet Union, from West Berlin, which was influenced by Western democratic countries. Construction of the wall began on August 13, 1961, and continued for several months. It was a physical barrier that spanned 155 kilometers, cutting through streets, neighborhoods, and even families.

The Split of Berlin

After World War II, Berlin, like Germany as a whole, was divided into four occupation zones controlled by the victorious Allied powers: the United States, the Soviet Union, Great Britain, and France. The city of Berlin, located deep within Soviet-controlled territory, was also partitioned into these four sectors.

The Rise of Tensions

Over time, ideological differences between the powers became evident, with the Soviet Union implementing strict control over the eastern part of the city. Conditions in East Berlin deteriorated, and people began migrating to the more prosperous West Berlin, which was governed by democratic principles.

The Solution: A Wall

Unable to tolerate the increasing brain drain and political instability caused by the mass exodus of East Germans, the Soviet government, supported by East German authorities, authorized the construction of the Berlin Wall.

Construction and Features of the Wall

The construction of the Berlin Wall was a highly coordinated effort, carried out under the cover of darkness to prevent mass protests. Large concrete elements, known as “L-Sections,” were used to build the initial barrier.

A Multi-Layered Barrier

As time went on, the wall underwent a series of renovations to make it even more impenetrable. This led to the creation of a complex system of barriers, including a trench, walls topped with barbed wire, signal fences, watchtowers, and an area known as the “death strip.” The “death strip” was a heavily guarded no-man’s land, equipped with anti-vehicle trenches, mines, and automatic shooting devices.

The Checkpoints

Despite the many security features, a few checkpoints were established where Westerners and West Berliners could cross into East Berlin. The most famous of these was Checkpoint Charlie, located near the center of Berlin.

Impact and Fall of the Wall

The Berlin Wall was not only a physical barrier, but it also represented the division of a city and a country. Families were torn apart, and people on both sides lived under vastly different political systems.

Symbol of the Cold War

However, as the years went by, the wall also became a powerful symbol of resistance and the will for freedom. The cracks in the Iron Curtain began to appear, and pressure mounted on East German authorities to allow more freedoms and reforms.

Historic Moments

Finally, on November 9, 1989, under immense pressure from both its own citizens and international developments, the East German government announced that their citizens could freely cross the border. The fall of the Berlin Wall became an iconic moment in history, symbolizing the end of an era and the reunification of East and West Germany.

Conclusion

The Berlin Wall stood for 28 years, serving as a symbol of the divisions between East and West during the Cold War. Its construction had a profound impact on the lives of those living in Berlin and the world as a whole. Today, remnants of the wall serve as a reminder of the struggles faced by those who lived through this era. The fall of the wall demonstrates the power of the human spirit and the desire for freedom.

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