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

What Was the Soviet Perspective on the Berlin Wall?

by | Mar 7, 2024 | Walking Tour

The Berlin Wall was a significant landmark during the Cold War, dividing the city of Berlin into two distinct parts. While it is often portrayed from the perspective of the Western world, it is equally important to understand how the Soviets viewed the construction and purpose of the Berlin Wall.

The Historical Context

To comprehend the Soviet perception of the Berlin Wall, it is crucial to consider the historical context surrounding its construction. The post-World War II period witnessed a major power struggle between the United States and the Soviet Union, also known as the Cold War.

The Soviets aimed to spread communism throughout Europe, and Berlin became the focal point due to its strategic location and historical significance. However, the Western Allies’ presence in West Berlin posed a challenge to Soviet ambitions, leading to rising tensions between the two blocs.

The Soviet Justification

The Soviet Union justified the construction of the Berlin Wall as a defensive measure to protect East Berlin and East Germany from what they perceived as Western infiltration and espionage. They claimed that the barrier was essential to preserve the integrity of socialism and prevent the influence of capitalist ideologies.

The Soviets argued that the West, particularly the United States, posed a constant threat to East Germany’s stability. They feared that Western intelligence agencies were actively working to undermine the socialist government and carry out sabotage activities.

Additionally, the Soviet Union saw the division of Berlin as a necessary countermeasure against the mass exodus of East Germans to West Berlin and beyond. The brain drain severely impacted the East German economy and presented a challenge to the legitimacy of the socialist regime.

Control and Surveillance

The Berlin Wall served as a physical manifestation of Soviet control over East Berlin. The border fortifications were equipped with guard towers, barbed wire, and armed soldiers to prevent any unauthorized crossings. This strict control ensured that East Germans remained under the influence of the socialist regime.

The Stasi, East Germany’s secret police, also played a crucial role in maintaining surveillance over the population. They spied on the East German citizens, infiltrated dissident groups, and used informants to suppress any opposition to the government’s policies. The Stasi’s actions were supported and orchestrated by the Soviet Union.

The Propaganda Battle

While the Soviet Union may have promoted the construction of the Berlin Wall as a defensive necessity, they also utilized it as a propaganda tool. Soviet media depicted the barrier as a symbol of the triumph of socialism over capitalism, presenting it as protection against the decadence and imperialism of the West.

By emphasizing the ideological divide and portraying West Berlin as an exploitative outpost of Western capitalism, the Soviets aimed to solidify support for the socialist regime among East Germans. They propagated the idea that life in East Germany offered social equality, economic stability, and protection from the perceived vices of the West.

The Fall of the Berlin Wall

The Soviet perspective on the Berlin Wall dramatically shifted in the late 1980s. As the Soviet Union experienced significant internal turmoil and the Eastern Bloc countries initiated democratic reforms, the Berlin Wall became an ideological liability for the Soviet leadership.

Mikhail Gorbachev, the General Secretary of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union at the time, introduced a policy of glasnost (openness) and perestroika (restructuring). These reforms aimed to address widespread dissatisfaction and meet the aspirations of the Eastern Bloc countries for greater autonomy and freedom.

The peaceful protests in East Germany and the mounting pressure for reunification from both East and West ultimately led to the fall of the Berlin Wall on November 9, 1989. This event symbolized the end of an era and the beginning of German reunification.


Understanding the Soviet perspective on the Berlin Wall is essential to comprehend the complexities of the Cold War and the geopolitical tensions of the time. The construction of the wall from the Soviet viewpoint was primarily a defensive measure to safeguard the socialist regime and prevent the influence of capitalism.

The Berlin Wall served as a powerful symbol of Soviet control, enabling them to monitor and limit contact between East and West Berlin. The fall of the wall marked a significant turning point in world history and contributed to the eventual collapse of the Soviet Union itself.

By examining the motivations and justifications behind the construction of the Berlin Wall, we gain a deeper understanding of the dynamics and perspectives that shaped this tumultuous period.

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