WHY WAS GERMANY DIVIDED?

Germany was divided at the end of WWII. It was divided into four sectors: the American, British and French in the West and the Soviet Union in the East. America, Britain and France put their territory together to form one united place. The West was democratic; on the West the Soviet Union was still communistic. Germany needed to be rebuilt and that's when the Marshall plan came into effect. The US started sending goods and supplies to East Germany including West Berlin.
external image berlin-split.jpg external image berlin_wall.jpg.jpeg

WHAT IS THE BERLIN BLOCKADE/AIR LIFT?
The Berlin blockade was the Soviet Unions effort to block Allied access to Berlin between 1948 and 1949. Being surrounded by East Germany left the Western-occupied sections of Berlin vulnerable. On June 1948, the allies tried to produce a unified currency for West Germany which triggered alarm in the Soviet Union. SU officials decided to block all access to Berlin, in the hopes of forcing the Allies to give them more control of the city. Basically the Soviet Union planned to starve the city in order to force the West into submission. When the Soviet Union announced the Berlin Blockade, the West was forced to make a decision. The Decision they made was the Berlin Air lift. The air lift sent supplies to West Berlin and made it more prosperous.



THE BERLIN WALL

From August 12th to the 13th, 1961 the government in East Germany build the Berlin Wall to divide east and West Berlin. First it was a simple barbed-wire barrier that was intended on keeping West Germans out of East Germany and later the barbed-wire barrier was replaced by a concrete wall. The wall was patrolled by armed guards and now stood as a reminder of Europe's divide of east and west. Many people who tried to escape from West Berlin to East Berlin were shot down.

WHY WAS THE BERLIN WALL BUILT?

In 1952 the border between east and west Germany was closed making traveling between east and west difficult. The wall was built in 1961 because more than 2.6 million East Germans escaped to West Germany between 1949 and 1961. The total population of East Germany was 17 million.

WHY DID PEOPLE WANT TO GO TO WEST GERMANY?

Life in West Germany was better than life in East Germany after 1948. West Germany including West Berlin had gotten aid from the US through way of the Marshall plan. East Germany was communist therefore the US didn't aid the east. Many people in East Germany had suffered and were repressed by the communist party. Life in West Berlin appealed to many of the oppressed people of East Germany. The life was seen as so much better in the west that people were willing to die in order to feel free again.
Currency was different between West Germany and East Germany. 1 West German dollar was equal to 4 East German dollars. People with West German money could cheaply buy goods from East Germany. This wasn't the same for people in East Germany. East Germans had to pay more to buy goods and many people in East Germany didn't have much money. West Germany was a good place for people to want to go.

WHAT PRECAUTIONS WERE MET BY EAST GERMANY TO MAKE SURE PEOPLE DIDN'T CROSS TO WEST GERMANY?

When the Berlin wall was first built it in fact was not a wall at all. It was 96 miles of barbed wire fence. This fence proved that it was too east to scale and an improvement was needed. In 1962 a second fence was made it was parallel to the first fence but it was 100 yards further in. The space between the two fences was now called the "death strip". The "Death Strip" was covered with racked gravel which made it easier to spot foot prints, it offered no cover and was booby trapped with trip wires. Most importantly this area offered a clear area where the armed guards could fire on people. The guards were instructed to shoot on sight.
Soon even this was seen as insufficient and a concrete wall was created. This wall was good until 1975 when the Grenzmauer 75 (Border Wall ’75) version of the wall was built. The last wall was the final and most efficient wall.
The Grenzmauer 75 was made with 45,000 separate sections of reinforced concrete, each 11 feet high and 5 feet wide, it was topped with a smooth pipe, intended to make it more difficult for escapees to scale it. The Grenzmauer was reinforced by mesh fencing, signal fencing, anti-vehicle trenches, barbed wire, over 300 watchtowers, and thirty bunkers.
The Berlin Wall
The Berlin Wall
The Berlin Fence
The Berlin Fence

EVERYDAY LIFE IN EAST AND WEST BERLIN

In East Berlin the communistic ways ran it. The state established how much a person was payed, how much they worked and how much product should be made.Means of production were almost entirely state owned. East Berlin was like its own little place in Germany. It had its own brands for cloths, Theater was still huge and so was the television at this time. Movies were a big thing for people in East Berlin. Folk movies, indie films and films about people fighting for their rights really appealed to people in East Berlin. Life was a controlled thing and people constantly wanted their lives to get better.
In West Berlin life was much better. Being under the united democratic rule was better for people in many ways. Their money was more in West Berlin because the US helped rebuild their economy. West Berlin was united under one such government and it lead to an uplift in economy and overall a better life. West Berliners could buy more goods from East Berlin cheaper. West Berlin was prosperous again.

THE FALL OF THE WALL

In 1989 the first free labor union was founded and it marked the end of communism. The SU cfould control their satellite country's but it changed when new leader Gorbatshov took control in 1984. Gorbatshov revived the Stalenistic system but it wouldn't replace the communist system. Reforms in the Soviet Union were also felt in Hungary and Poland. On August 23rd 1989 Poland opened the Iron Curtain to Austria. East German tourists used this chance to escape the communistic rule. More than 13,000 East Germans escaped through Hungary within three days. Mass demonstrations against the government and the system in East Germany begun at the end of September until November 1989. Erich Honecker( Head of East Germany's state) had to resign in 1989. The new government lifted all travel restrictions for East German citizens. That moment meant that it was the end of the wall.

Berlin Today
Berlin Today


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