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 Tale of Division and Freedom

by | Mar 7, 2024 | Original Berlin

When it comes to significant historical landmarks, few can rival the impact and symbolism of the Berlin Wall. Erected during a tumultuous period in history, the wall stood as a physical and ideological barrier, dividing a city, a nation, and even the world. Join us as we delve into the captivating story of when the Berlin Wall was built, exploring the events, motives, and consequences surrounding its construction.

Post-WWII Germany: A Nation Divided

The origins of the Berlin Wall can be traced back to the aftermath of World War II, when Germany was divided into four occupation zones administered by the victorious Allied powers: the United States, Great Britain, France, and the Soviet Union. While the western sectors gradually transitioned towards democracy and economic recovery, the Soviet-controlled eastern sector became an isolated and impoverished state, eventually giving birth to the German Democratic Republic (GDR).

The Construction of the Wall

The Berlin Wall was built as a physical barrier by the German Democratic Republic, commonly known as East Germany, to encircle and isolate West Berlin, which was a freer and democratic enclave within East Germany. On the night of August 12, 1961, construction of the wall began under the orders of East German leader Walter Ulbricht.

Initially, the wall consisted of barbed wire fences, guard towers, and concrete obstacles. However, over the years, it evolved into a formidable structure, featuring reinforced concrete walls, electrified fences, anti-vehicle trenches, and an extensive network of watchtowers equipped with spotlights and automatic weapons.

Motives Behind the Construction

Various factors contributed to the construction of the Berlin Wall. Firstly, it served as a means for the East German government to prevent the mass exodus of its citizens to the more prosperous and democratic West Germany. The division between East and West Germany had already resulted in a significant brain drain, as individuals sought better opportunities and political freedoms elsewhere.

Furthermore, the construction of the wall was intended to reaffirm the Soviet Union’s determination to maintain control over East Germany, showcase the superiority of socialism, and deter Western powers from interfering in Eastern Bloc affairs. The wall additionally provided the East German government with a propaganda tool, as they portrayed it as a safeguard against Western imperialism and fascism.

The Impact and Consequences

The construction of the Berlin Wall had far-reaching consequences, both for the people living in its shadow and the international community. Families and friends were torn apart, and many East Berliners found themselves trapped behind the wall, unable to visit their loved ones or access their previous livelihoods in the West. The wall also effectively cut off West Berlin from its surrounding East German territory.

Human Tragedy and Courage

The Berlin Wall was a symbol of oppression, but it also became a powerful testament to human resilience and courage. Countless individuals risked their lives attempting to cross the wall, often resorting to ingenious methods such as tunneling under it or using makeshift hot-air balloons and zip lines.

Tragically, many lost their lives in these desperate attempts. The wall stood for nearly three decades, dividing families and friends, until November 9, 1989, when a series of events unfolded, leading to its eventual fall and the reunification of Germany.

The Fall of the Wall: A Day of Jubilation

On that fateful evening in 1989, an East German government spokesman mistakenly announced that travel restrictions to the West had been lifted. Thousands of East Berliners flocked to the checkpoints, overwhelmed the guards, and streamed into West Berlin. It was a momentous occasion that marked a turning point in history, as the wall crumbled under the pressure of its own people.

The fall of the Berlin Wall symbolized the end of the Cold War era and the reunification of a divided nation. It was a joyous event that captured the attention of the world and served as a reminder of the indomitable human spirit in the face of oppression.

The Legacy of the Berlin Wall

The Berlin Wall may no longer physically stand, but its impact and legacy can still be felt today. Beyond being a historical landmark, it serves as a poignant reminder of the dangers of division, totalitarianism, and the importance of individual freedoms. The Berlin Wall teaches us about the resilience of the human spirit and the power of unity.

Today, remnants of the wall are preserved as a memorial and serve as a somber reminder of the past. The Berlin Wall stands as a testament to the triumph of the human spirit, reminding us of the progress that can be achieved when people come together in pursuit of liberty, justice, and equality.

In conclusion, the Berlin Wall was built in 1961 by the German Democratic Republic to physically and ideologically divide East and West Germany. Serving as a symbol of the Cold War era, it held profound consequences for those living on both sides. However, its fall in 1989 marks a significant turning point in history, a testament to the indomitable human spirit and the pursuit of 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.


  • 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