The History Of Berlin Wall

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Construction and Purpose of the Berlin Wall

On August 13, 1961, the government of the German Democratic Republic began construction of "anti-fascist bulwarks" made of concrete and barbed wire separating West Berlin from East Berlin. The Berlin Wall's official goals were to destabilize the socialist regime and deter Western "fascist" from entering East Germany. It functioned as a barrier to widespread emigration from the East and the West. Until the East German Communist Party's party head proclaimed on November 9, 1989, that residents of the Germany Democratic Republic (GDR) or East Germany may cross the border whenever they needed to, the Berlin Wall was in place. The jubilant crowds drove the wall that evening. Some crowds crossed into West Berlin freely while others came with picks and hammers and started to chip off the wall. Up to date, the Berlin Wall stays to be one of the extremely powerful and lasting Cold War symbols.

The Memorable Moment of Reunification

In the year 1989, crowds swarm at the boundary that divided west and East Berlin which was the wall that symbolizes the Cold War. It was before midnight when border guards started to permit people to flow on both sides of the wall, which made East Berliners and West Berliners reunite joyously with their relatives, friends, and even strangers as their friends (Brodeur 26). There was a celebration that became a memorable moment and relentless force which resulted in incredible change. This happened After 20 years experience of a division between West and East Berlin with a wall that was a symbol of cold war.

Escaping the Wall and Mass Demonstrations

The Hungarian government started to break up the fence. Apparently, the fence was electrified in June 1989 at the point where it borders Australia. In September the same year, tourists of the East German who were exceeding 13,000 escaped to Australia through the section of the wall in Hungary. This led to a series of events which are affiliated with the wall. For instance, many more people from East German were prevented by Hungarians from crossing the boundary and send them back to Budapest. The East German overflow the embassy of the West German and rejected to go back to East German. The government of the East German responded by prohibiting any further journey to Hungary, yet they allowed those that were already there to turn back to East Germany. This brought about similar happenings in neighboring Czechoslovakia (Frank 167). However, this time East Germany authorities permitted people to move given that they departed through East Germany by train. This was accompanied by mass demonstration that took place inside East Germany itself.

Protests and Political Change

In September 1989, complaint demonstrations spread all over East Germany. At first, protesters did it for the reason that they mostly wanted to move to the West. They chanted "Wir wollen rause!", which is a phrase which means "We want out!". They then started to chant, "Wir bleiben hier!", A phrase meaning "We are staying here!". It was the beginning of a "Peaceful Revolution," which is a general name coined by the people of East Germany. The protest demonstrations became greater in early November 1989. Additionally, the movement became closer to its peak on 4rth November. People worth half a million assembled to demand a political change, at Alexander Platz demonstration in East Berlin's transportation hub and a large public square (Bain 28).The long-term East Germany leader, Erick Honecker was replaced on the same day by Egon Krenz after resigning on 18th October 1989. In January of the same year, Honecker had predicted that if the condition which had caused the wall construction were not adjusted, then the wall could stand for 50 to 100 years more. Refugees were getting their pathway to Hungary through the embassy of the West Germany in Prague or Czechoslovakia. The new Krenz government tolerated it due to long-lived agreements made to communist Czechoslovak government, letting free traveling across their border. However, the movement of people became so big that it caused problems to both countries. To reduce the difficulties for both countries, the politburo headed by Krenz defined on November 9th, to let refugees exit directly by crossing points that are between West Germany and East Germany, which included West and East Berlin. After that, on the very day, the administration of ministers adjusted the proposal by including private, round-trip. The current regulations were to be effective on the next day.

The Confusion and Fall of the Wall

Gunter Schabowski, who was SED politburo spokesman and the East Berlin party boss, had the duty of declaring the new regulations. Though he was not among those who were in the discussion concerning the new regulations and he was not completely updated. Just a few moments before the press conference, he was given a note declaring the changes although no more instructions were provided to him on how the information should be handled. The completing of the regulations had only taken place a few hours earlier yet they had to be effective the following day to allow some time to update the border guards. On the contrary, Schabowski was not informed about the delay of the starting time. When the press conference came to an end, Schabowski read the note that he was given loudly (Drechsel 16). Riccardo Ehrman who is one of the reporters questioned on when the regulations took effect. Schabowski hesitated for a few seconds then assumed that it would take effect on the same day based on the words of the note and he replied, "As far as I know, it takes effect immediately, without delay." After the journalist had asked further questions, he verified that regulations had to include the border crossings over the wall into West Berlin, which he had not revealed until then.Schabowski's press conference excerpts were the top story on the West Germany's news programs on that night. The two main news programs were ZDF's heute at 7:17 p.m. and on ARD's Tagesthemen at 8 p.m. Hanns Joachim Friedrichs announced. " This 9 November is a historic day. The GRD has announced that starting immediately, and its borders are open to everyone. The gates in the Wall stands open wide." After listening to the broadcast, East Germany started gathering along the wall at the six checkpoints that are between West and East Berlin, as they demanded border guards to open the gates immediately. The border guards became overwhelmed and surprised as they made many telephone calls to inform their superiors concerning the problem.

The Fall of the Berlin Wall and German Reunification

Initially, the guards were ordered to identify the more aggressive individuals that assembled at the gates then use a special stamp to stamp their passports that blockade them from going back to East Germany due to citizenship denial. However, the idea still left many people demanding that they want to be let through considering Schabowski saying that they are capable of. It then became precisely that among the authorities of East Germany, no one would take part in personal responsibility of giving orders by use of lethal force. The greatly outnumbered soldiers were overpowered by the huge crowd from East German citizens (Judson 18). At last, when it was 10:45 p.m., the commander of Bornholmer gave in, then asked the border guards to open the checkpoints and let people pass through whether with or without identity checking. The Ossis swarmed through and met the Wessis who had been waiting for them with flowers. They greeted one another and rejoiced. Soon afterward West Berliners' crowd jumped on wall top, and then they were joined by youngsters from East Germany. They celebrated their freedom by dancing together.

Demolition and Reunification

Sections of the wall were demolished on 9 November 1989, then on June 13, 1990, the military from East Germany officially began to dismantle the wall, starting from Bernauer and over the Mitte district. From there it continued through Helligensee, Gesundbrunnen, and throughout the city of Berlin till December. By November 1991 various military unit competed for the job by dismantling Berlin border Wall. The fall of the wall cleared the first and critical step for German reunification that competed a mere 339 days after taking place on 3 October 1990 with East Germany dissolution and official reunification of the state of German along the democratic lines. The reunification was completed on 3 October then the day was chosen to be a Germany Unity Day. Berlin celebrated 20th Anniversary on November 9, 2009, for the fall of the Berlin wall with dignitaries that came from around the world to attend the celebration that took place in the evening around the Brandenburg Gate. The Berlin wall which was a symbol of Cold War that was formed 20 years back before it falls came to an end resulting in a change that reunited the Berlins up to date.

Work Cited

Primary sources

Bain, Olga. "Education after the fall of the Berlin Wall: the end of history or the beginning of histories?." Post-Socialism is not Dead:(Re) Reading the Global in Comparative Education. Emerald Group Publishing Limited, 2010. 27-57.

Drechsel, Benjamin. "The Berlin Wall from a visual perspective: comments on the construction of a political media icon." Visual Communication 9.1 (2010): 3-24.

Judson, Ruth. "Crisis and Calm: Demand for US Currency at Home and Abroad from the Fall of the Berlin Wall to 2011." (2012).

Secondary sources

Brodeur, Jean-Paul. "High and low policing in post-9/11 times." Policing: A journal of Policy and Practice 1.1 (2007): 25-37.

Frank, Douglas H. "Governance institutions and adaptation costs: Evidence from the fall of the Berlin Wall." Management Science 60.1 (2013): 166-187.

April 06, 2023

World Government


Europe Political Science

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Germany Democracy Communism

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