Select Page

After What War Was the Berlin Wall Built?

by | Mar 7, 2024 | World War Tour Berlin

The Berlin Wall, an iconic symbol of division and the Cold War era, was
constructed following World War II. The wall was primarily built to
separate East Berlin (controlled by the Soviet Union) from West Berlin
(controlled by the Allies) during the height of the Cold War.

The Division of Germany

After the end of World War II in 1945, Germany was divided into four
zones of occupation, each controlled by one of the victorious Allied
powers: the United States, Soviet Union, United Kingdom, and France. The
capital city, Berlin, was also divided into four sectors despite being
located entirely within the Soviet zone.

Over time, ideological differences between the Western Allies and the
Soviet Union deepened, leading to increased tensions. The differences
eventually resulted in the start of the Cold War, a global geopolitical
conflict between the two superpowers and their respective allies.

The Construction of the Berlin Wall

As tensions escalated, East Germany, under Soviet influence, faced a
significant migration challenge. Many East Germans sought opportunities
and freedom in the prosperous West, leading to a steady brain drain. To
curb the mass exodus, the East German government, with the support of the
Soviet Union, decided to build a physical barrier.

On August 13, 1961, construction of the Berlin Wall began. The
circumference of West Berlin was surrounded by a concrete wall,
fortified with barbed wire, guard towers, and other military
installations to prevent unauthorized crossings. The wall effectively
confined East Germans in their own country and restricted movement
between the two sectors of Berlin.

The Impact and Significance

The Berlin Wall had a profound impact on the people of Berlin and
represented the physical manifestation of the global division during the
Cold War. Families and friends were separated overnight, causing immense
emotional distress. The wall became a symbol of oppression, stifling
freedom and isolating citizens from the rest of the world.

Attempts to cross the wall were met with severe consequences. Many lost
their lives attempting to escape to the West, and those who were
captured often faced imprisonment or other penalties.

Over the years, however, public opinion shifted, and pressure mounted on
both sides of the wall to reunify Berlin. In November 1989, a wave of
peaceful protests swept across East Germany, ultimately leading to the
fall of the Berlin Wall on November 9th. This historic event paved the
way for the reunification of Germany in 1990 and symbolized the end of
the Cold War era.

In Conclusion

The Berlin Wall was constructed after World War II to physically divide
East Berlin from West Berlin. It was a symbol of the escalating tensions
between the Soviet Union and the Western Allies during the Cold War. The
wall had a profound impact on the lives of the people in Berlin,
separating families and restricting movement. Its fall in 1989 marked a
significant turning point in history, leading to the reunification of
Germany and the end of the Cold War.

After What War Was the Berlin Wall Built?