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

Understanding the Construction of the Berlin Wall

by | Mar 7, 2024 | Original Berlin

An Introduction to the Berlin Wall

The Berlin Wall, one of the most iconic symbols of the Cold War era, was a physical barrier that divided Berlin, the capital city of Germany, from 1961 to 1989. It was built by the German Democratic Republic (GDR), commonly known as East Germany, in an effort to prevent its citizens from fleeing to West Germany. This monumental wall had a significant impact on the lives of people living in both East and West Berlin, and its construction remains a subject of great historical interest.

The Builders of the Berlin Wall

The construction of the Berlin Wall was ordered and overseen by the government of East Germany, which was under the control of the ruling Socialist Unity Party. However, it’s important to note that while the GDR government directed the building process, it was actually carried out by a variety of organizations, including the East German Ministry of State Security (Stasi), the German People’s Police, and the National People’s Army.

These organizations worked together to build the physical barrier that would stretch approximately 155 kilometers (96 miles) around West Berlin. The primary purpose of the wall was to prevent people from East Germany from fleeing to the more prosperous and politically free West Germany. In addition to the wall, a “death strip” was created, equipped with fences, watchtowers, and minefields, making escape attempts extremely difficult and dangerous.

The Process of Building the Berlin Wall

The construction of the Berlin Wall was shrouded in secrecy, with plans being kept confidential within the East German government. On the night of August 12, 1961, construction began. The East German authorities mobilized a large number of workers, including soldiers, police officers, and volunteers, to carry out the construction process. Using barbed wire, concrete slabs, and other materials, they swiftly erected a physical barrier dividing the city.

Initially, the barrier consisted of a temporary barbed wire fence, which was gradually replaced by a solid concrete wall as the construction progressed. The wall ultimately became a formidable structure, reaching up to 3.6 meters (12 feet) in height and equipped with various security features to discourage escape attempts.

The Impact of the Berlin Wall

The construction of the Berlin Wall had profound consequences for the people of Berlin and the world at large. Families and friends were abruptly separated, leaving many East Berliners cut off from their loved ones in the West. The wall became a menacing symbol of the Iron Curtain, the ideological and physical divide between the communist Eastern Bloc and the democratic Western countries.

Life in both East and West Berlin underwent significant changes. In East Berlin, the wall represented restrictions on personal freedom, limited access to better living conditions, and constant surveillance by the Stasi. In West Berlin, the wall became a powerful reminder of the divide between democracy and communism and a symbol of hope for the eventual reunification of Germany.

The Fall of the Berlin Wall

After standing for nearly 28 years, the Berlin Wall finally fell on November 9, 1989. The fall of the wall was a result of various factors, including peaceful protests, political changes within the Soviet Union, and the increasing desire for freedom among the citizens of East Germany.

As the wall came down, the world watched in awe as German citizens from both sides embraced and celebrated their newfound freedom. The fall of the Berlin Wall marked the beginning of the end of the Cold War and paved the way for the reunification of East and West Germany on October 3, 1990.

Conclusion

The Berlin Wall stands as a powerful symbol of the deep divisions and struggles faced by the people of Germany during the Cold War era. It was built by the German Democratic Republic, under the control of the Socialist Unity Party, with the purpose of restricting movement and preventing East Germans from seeking a better life in the West. However, its construction and eventual fall also serve as a reminder of the indomitable human spirit and the desire for freedom and 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