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 Rise and Fall of the Berlin Wall: A Glimpse into History

by | Oct 17, 2023 | Original Berlin

Introduction

When it comes to defining the lengths that societies will go to separate themselves, few examples compare to the Berlin Wall. For 28 years, this towering concrete barrier divided not only a city but also symbolized the ideological divide of the Cold War era. In this article, we will explore the history of the Berlin Wall and how it impacted the lives of people on both sides during its existence.

The Construction of the Berlin Wall

The Berlin Wall was erected overnight, on August 13, 1961. It was constructed by the German Democratic Republic (GDR), otherwise known as East Germany. The purpose of the Wall was to prevent the massive exodus of East Germans to West Germany, where living standards were considerably higher.

What was initially a makeshift barrier of barbed wire and concrete slabs ultimately evolved into a formidable structure stretching 155 kilometers (96 miles) in total. The Wall featured guard towers, anti-vehicle trenches, and was surrounded by a death strip, a cleared area patrolled by armed guards and dogs.

The Impact on Daily Life

The Berlin Wall completely severed the connections between families, friends, and colleagues who suddenly found themselves on opposite sides. Travel between East and West Berlin was strictly regulated, making it almost impossible for people to freely cross the border.

The wall also had significant economic ramifications. West Berlin, although an isolated enclave within East Germany, became a prosperous western outpost. On the other hand, East Berlin experienced economic decline due to the brain drain and lack of economic opportunities.

Checkpoint Charlie: A Symbol of Tension

Checkpoint Charlie, located at Friedrichstrasse, became one of the most iconic checkpoints along the Berlin Wall. Here, American and Soviet tanks once faced each other, heightening the tension between the superpowers during the Cold War.

Checkpoint Charlie also acted as a hotspot for dramatic escape attempts. In October 1961, just weeks after the Wall’s construction, an American diplomat named Herbert Artwin managed to escape through Checkpoint Charlie by hiding inside a wooden crate in his diplomatic car.

The Fall of the Berlin Wall

November 9, 1989, marked a historic turning point. The East German government, facing immense pressure from its population and the international community, announced that its citizens could freely cross the borders, including the Berlin Wall.

That evening, thousands of East and West Berliners ecstatically clambered atop the Wall, tearing it apart with hammers, picks, and bare hands. The reunification of East and West Germany became an undeniable reality.

The Emotional Reunification

The fall of the Berlin Wall was not just a physical moment, but a deeply emotional one. Families, who had been separated for decades, tearfully embraced each other. People danced and celebrated, expressing joy and relief after years of division.

The Legacy of the Berlin Wall

To this day, remnants of the Berlin Wall still stand as a reminder of the harsh realities of the past. The East Side Gallery is one such example, where parts of the Wall have been transformed into a vibrant open-air gallery, showcasing murals and artwork symbolizing hopes for a united and peaceful world.

The fall of the Berlin Wall not only led to the reunification of Germany but also marked the beginning of the end for the Cold War. It served as a reminder that even seemingly unbridgeable barriers can be overcome when people collectively strive for freedom and unity.

Conclusion

The Berlin Wall stood as a symbol of division and oppression for 28 long years. Its construction and eventual fall left an indelible mark on history, reminding us of the power of human resilience and the triumph of hope over adversity. As we reflect on this dark chapter of the past, we are reminded of the importance of unity, freedom, and the pursuit of a better future.

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