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What War Was the Berlin Wall Built In?

by | Mar 7, 2024 | World War Tour Berlin

Many people know about the Berlin Wall, but its historical context and the war it was built in is often misunderstood. In this blog post, we will explore the answer to the question: what war was the Berlin Wall built in? Let’s dive in.

The Cold War: A Brief Introduction

Before discussing the construction of the Berlin Wall, it is essential to understand the broader context in which it was built – the Cold War. Following World War II, tensions between the United States and the Soviet Union escalated, leading to the ideological and political rivalry known as the Cold War.

The Division of Berlin

After the defeat of Nazi Germany in 1945, the victorious Allies – the United States, Great Britain, France, and the Soviet Union – divided Germany into four occupation zones. Berlin, which was located deep inside Soviet-controlled territory, was similarly divided into four sectors.

The Berlin Airlift

In 1948, the Soviets imposed a blockade on West Berlin, cutting off all land and water access to the city. This action was a response to Western initiatives to unify the three western zones of Germany. In response, the US and its allies organized the Berlin Airlift, where essential supplies were airlifted into West Berlin for over a year.

The Creation of East Germany

The tensions between the East and the West reached a turning point in 1949 when the Soviets created the German Democratic Republic (GDR), commonly known as East Germany. West Germany meanwhile was established as a separate state in 1949.

The Construction of the Berlin Wall

The Berlin Wall, a physical barrier separating East and West Berlin, was built by the GDR, mainly under the supervision of the Soviet Union. Contrary to popular belief, the construction of the wall did not occur during any explicit war but rather during a period of intense Cold War tensions.

The Night of August 12-13, 1961

The construction of the Berlin Wall began overnight on August 12-13, 1961. The East German government justified the construction as necessary to deter western “fascists” and protect the integrity of the socialist state. However, the real motivation was likely to halt the significant brain drain from East to West Germany.

The Wall’s Structure and Development

The initial makeshift barriers were gradually replaced with a more sophisticated structure. The Berlin Wall eventually consisted of concrete walls, watchtowers, barbed wire, and a heavily fortified ‘death strip’ to prevent escape attempts.

The Fall of the Berlin Wall and the End of the Cold War

After nearly three decades, the Berlin Wall finally fell on November 9, 1989, as a result of mass demonstrations and political changes in East Germany. This marked a significant turning point in history, symbolizing the end of the Cold War.

The Reunification of Germany

The reunification of Germany followed the fall of the Berlin Wall. On October 3, 1990, East Germany was dissolved and joined the Federal Republic of Germany.


The Berlin Wall was constructed during the period of the Cold War as a physical barrier between East and West Berlin. The wall was not built during a specific war but was rather a consequence of political tensions and events during this time. It stood as a potent symbol of the ideological divide between the communist East and the capitalist West. However, it ultimately fell, leading to the reunification of Germany and marking an end to the Cold War era.

Thank you for reading this blog post! We hope it has provided valuable insights into the historical context and purpose of the Berlin Wall.

What War Was the Berlin Wall Built In?