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Rise and Fall of the Berlin Wall

Essay by   •  April 11, 2013  •  Essay  •  559 Words (3 Pages)  •  1,295 Views

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After World War 2, Germany was separated into four different zones; USSR, France, Britain, and the United States as agreed upon at the Potsdam conference. Berlin being part of The Union of Soviet Socialist Republics was already split into four areas; this became a problem for Russia. The United States, France and Britain merged there zones together. Germany and Berlin were forced to split into two separated areas. After they had split people started to spread rumors that something might happen to strengthen the barrier between West and East Berlin, but I don't believe that anyone expected the wall to be built overnight with such great strength and haste.

On August 12, 1961, construction workers constructed a wall that was 96 miles long, cutting through 192 streets, 97 of them leading through East Berlin and 95 through East Germany. The wall ran not only through the center of Berlin, but also went all the way around West Berlin as well. This cut off West Berlin from all of Germany, Berlin was like an island in the middle of the ocean.

The Berlin wall started out as a simple coiled barbed-wired fence with an occasional concrete post. Within 48 hours of the first stage of the wall being built, it was quickly replaced with a more suitable, sturdier, and permanent structure. This second stage consisted of concrete blocks, with barbed wire laced on the top. This was thought to be the permanent structure before the civilians began to get a little more resourceful with ways to flee. Many people got desperate to escape the awful country. There were a couple that tried things similar to the hot air balloon but were immediately shot down, all the way to people desperate enough to try and dig under the wall with spoons. The successor to the second wall was composed of a solid concrete wall, instead of bricks, supported by steel grinder. The fourth and final version of the berlin wall took 5 full years to complete and consisted of thick concrete slabs stretching to 12 feet tall and 4 feet wide and had a massive, smooth pipe running across the top to prevent people from scaling it.

The Berlin wall was built to prevent East German and other Eastern European immigrants from fleeing to West Berlin. The USSR feared that too many people would leave to go to Berlin because East Germany was communist and the West was Democratic.

West Germany wasn't happy to see this number of people leaving the East. Not only did it create an incredible economic strain, it increased tensions between East and West to an unbearable level.

West Germany and East-Germany were separated successfully for nearly quarter century before Ronald Regan challenged Mikhail Gorbachev, then the General Secretary of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union, to tear down the wall as a symbol of increasing freedom in the East.

On Nov. 9, 1989, an East German official announced that East Germans would

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