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An introduction to the history of the berlin wall

What led to the building of the wall[ change change source ] After Germany split into West and East Germany on May 8,1949, 2. In Berlin alone, 3.

Berlin Wall

The wall was built to keep the country's people in. But the Soviets and East German government said it was to keep capitalism out. They said that West Germany refused to recognize East Germany as an independent country because they wanted to take over North-East Germany just like Hitler took over Poland.

People still tried to escape even though the Berlin Wall was there. They used many methods to get around the guards and barbed wire on the Berlin Wall.

In the late 1980s, Mikhail Gorbachev said that the Soviet Union would not use the Red Army to stop the people of Eastern and Middle Europe from changing their government.

After he said that, several countries began to change the way they governed their people. Hungary opened its border and people from East Germany began moving to the west through Hungary. In October 1989 mass demonstrations against the government in East Germany began. The long-time leader, Erich Honeckerresigned and was replaced by Egon Krenz a few days later.

The Berlin Wall

Honecker had predicted in January 1989 that the wall would stand for a "hundred more years" if the conditions which had caused its construction did not change. This did not turn out to be true.

A mistake by the press officer meant the border was opened several hours before it should have been. Millions of East German citizens celebrated the opening of the wall. Many collected souvenirs with chisels and some television stations filmed people hitting the wall with sledge hammers.

This image of people in West Berlin hitting the wall is often said to be East Berliners breaking out. This is not true. The eastern side of the wall had no graffiti on it. All pictures of people chipping away at the wall show people hitting graffiti covered walls. Less than one year after the Berlin Wall was broken down, Germany again became one country.

Satellite image of Berlin. The yellow line is where the Wall was. Where the Berlin Wall was inside Berlin Checkpoints, or places that people could cross the wall, are shown.

Panel at the border of the sector boundary in Berlin Same panel, other side original Death toll[ change change source ] Berlin Wall, with graffiti and death strip. The side with the graffiti on is the West. This was at a street called Bethaniendamm In the 28 years of its existence, between 125 and 206 people were killed when trying to cross the Berlin Wall.

The East Germans did not record all of the deaths, so the real number of how many people died an introduction to the history of the berlin wall never be known. Those people who were caught alive in an attempt to flee, had to go to jail for at least five years.

The first victim of the Wall was Ida Siekmann. She was fatally injured after jumping out of the window of her apartment. She fell onto the pavement on the west side.

He was 24 years old and was shot by police, near the railway station of Berlin Friedrichstrassewhen he tried to get into the West. This was on 24 August, 1961, only eleven days after the border had been closed. Peter Fechter bled to death in the death strip, on 17 August, 1962.

This led to a public outcry. American troops watched him, but could not help him.

  • The East Germans did not record all of the deaths, so the real number of how many people died may never be known;
  • The Chief Guard of the checkpoint frantically telephoned his superiors hoping to get answers as to why so many people thought that the wall was to open;
  • Border guards at each checkpoint told the people to go back home as they had no orders that the wall would open that night;
  • It grew into a vast fortification system featuring two concrete barriers with a control or "death" strip between them, along with floodlights, electric fences, vehicle trenches, wire-guided dog patrols, observation towers, bunkers and armed guards.

The East-German border policemen, who had wounded him, did not help him either. In 1966, two children, aged ten and thirteen years, were killed in the border strip. This is unusual because the East German border police had orders to not shoot on pregnant women, children or mentally ill people. The last death took place on 6 February, 1989, when Chris Gueffroy died trying to escape into West Berlin. Ronald Reagan speaking in front of the Brandenburg Gate " Tear down this wall!

It was made to honor the 750th anniversary of Berlin. Fall of the Wall[ change change source ] By late 1989 the GDR was suffering from many problems such as a struggling economy, and large-scale protests. The Hungarian regime had collapsed and was dismantling its border fences with Austria by August 1989.

Since the Warsaw Pact allowed citizens to travel within the Soviet blocmany East German tourists fled to the west via Hungary. When the Hungarian government refused the GDR's demand to stop defectors, East Germany banned all travel to Hungary; prompting demonstrations and protest. This began the GDR's isolation within the bloc. He was replaced by Egon Krenz after a unanimous vote by the politburo. The number of defectors grew and caused tensions between East Germany and Czechoslovakia. The Krenz regime decided to allow people to leave directly to the west through border checkpoints in East Berlin.

This prompted many East Germans, who learned about it broadcast from West An introduction to the history of the berlin wall media, to go to the border crossings and demand to be let through immediately.

Border guards at each checkpoint told the people to go back home as they had no orders that the wall would open that night. As time passed, the number of people arriving at the checkpoint was increasing and the guards were becoming alarmed. They began taking the more aggressive people aside and stamped their passports with a special stamp that allowed them access to West Berlin however, the people weren't aware that they were effectively revoking their East German citizenship and were shocked to be refused entry back into the GDR.

The Chief Guard of the checkpoint frantically telephoned his superiors hoping to get answers as to why so many people thought that the wall was to open.

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The Chief Guard surrendered and ordered the gates to West Berlin to be opened. The crowds of East Berliners were met with crowds of West Berliners in a happy scene as the Berlin wall had just fallen.

Many people even climbed up onto the wall by the Brandenburg Gate in protest and began to chisel away at the wall. The GDR authorities responded to this initially by blasting the people with water cannons; this proved to be ineffective.

The East German army later climbed up onto the wall to prevent others from standing on the wall. The government began demolishing the wall the next day. The German Democratic Republic would cease to exist less than a year later; reuniting with the Federal Republic of Germany on October 3, 1990.

What the wall was made of[ change change source ] The wall was changed and added to several times. It was not really a wall, but a collection of walls and fences and other devices. This is what the border fence was made of, starting from the east, going west Concrete wall or wire fence, 2—3 meters high Signalling system in the floor, which would cause an alarm to be sounded when touched Contact wire fence with barbed wire fence.

Taller than a man. Not in all places Kennels for dogs. With German Shepherd Dogs or other trained dogs. Not in all places Equipment and trenches to stop vehicles and tanks. These systems would be removed if the West paid for the removal. Most were replaced later. Streets to get replacements and reinforcements in. Watchtowers in 1989 there were 302 of them.

Including searchlights death strip. This was an area in which all of the buildings were torn down, with nowhere to hide. Sometimes there were strips of sand where footprints could be detected. Metallic fence, then the border itself: Very hard to climb. The whole was done in an a zone of between 30 and 500 m wide. The official civil border began before the first fence.

The Berlin Wall: a short history

The real border was about one or two metres in front of the concrete wall, so that the whole of the wall complex was inside East Germany only the East Berlin part of the wall was inside East Berlin.

The border between East Germany and West Germany was also heavily defended with fences and mines. East Germans needed a special permit to live close to the border.