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Within two years, political divisions increased between the Soviets and the other occupying powers. The major task of the ruling communist party in the Soviet zone was to channel Soviet orders down to both the administrative apparatus and the other bloc parties, which in turn would be presented as internal measures.
Indoctrination of Marxism-Leninism became a compulsory part of school curricula, sending professors and students fleeing to the West. In , following disagreements regarding reconstruction and a new German currency, Stalin instituted the Berlin Blockade , preventing food, materials and supplies from arriving in West Berlin.
Communists attempted to disrupt the elections of , preceding large losses therein,  while , Berliners demonstrated for the international airlift to continue.
By a secret treaty, the Soviet Ministry of Foreign Affairs accorded the East German state administrative authority, but not autonomy.
The Soviets permeated East German administrative, military and secret police structures and had full control. East Germany differed from West Germany Federal Republic of Germany , which developed into a Western capitalist country with a social market economy "Soziale Marktwirtschaft" in German and a democratic parliamentary government.
Continual economic growth starting in the s fuelled a year " economic miracle " "Wirtschaftswunder". After the Soviet occupation of Eastern Europe at the end of World War II, the majority of those living in the newly acquired areas of the Eastern Bloc aspired to independence and wanted the Soviets to leave.
By the early s, the Soviet approach to controlling national movement, restricting emigration, was emulated by most of the rest of the Eastern Bloc , including East Germany.
Up until , the demarcation lines between East Germany and the western occupied zones could be easily crossed in most places. Stalin agreed, calling the situation "intolerable".
He advised the East Germans to build up their border defenses, telling them that "The demarcation line between East and West Germany should be considered a border—and not just any border, but a dangerous one The Germans will guard the line of defence with their lives.
Consequently, the inner German border between the two German states was closed, and a barbed-wire fence erected. The border between the Western and Eastern sectors of Berlin, however, remained open, although traffic between the Soviet and the Western sectors was somewhat restricted.
In , the Soviets gave East Germany authority over civilian movement in Berlin, passing control to a regime not recognized in the West. However, following the defection of large numbers of East Germans under this regime, the new East German state legally restricted virtually all travel to the West in With the closing of the inner German border officially in ,  the border in Berlin remained considerably more accessible because it was administered by all four occupying powers.
An important reason that crossing the inner German border was not stopped earlier was that doing so would cut off much of the railway traffic in East Germany.
Construction of a new railway bypassing West Berlin, the Berlin outer ring , commenced in Following the completion of the railway in , closing the border became a more practical proposition.
See History of rail transport in Germany. The emigrants tended to be young and well-educated, leading to the "brain drain" feared by officials in East Germany.
Both from the moral standpoint as well as in terms of the interests of the whole German nation, leaving the GDR is an act of political and moral backwardness and depravity.
Those who let themselves be recruited objectively serve West German Reaction and militarism, whether they know it or not. Is it not despicable when for the sake of a few alluring job offers or other false promises about a "guaranteed future" one leaves a country in which the seed for a new and more beautiful life is sprouting, and is already showing the first fruits, for the place that favours a new war and destruction?
Is it not an act of political depravity when citizens, whether young people, workers, or members of the intelligentsia, leave and betray what our people have created through common labour in our republic to offer themselves to the American or British secret services or work for the West German factory owners, Junkers , or militarists?
Does not leaving the land of progress for the morass of an historically outdated social order demonstrate political backwardness and blindness?
The loss was disproportionately heavy among professionals: The exodus of emigrants from East Germany presented two minor potential benefits: Neither of these advantages, however, proved particularly useful.
In April , Khrushchev gained an impression that Kennedy is not very smart when he saw Washington supporting the failed invasion of Cuba by anti-communist exiles which were then left to their fate.
Khrushchev decided to alarm rather than appease the president. He soon revealed his intention of signing the separate peace treaty with East Germany that would abolish allied rights in West Berlin.
One of his intentions was therefore to get the whole of Berlin. However, this action had risks behind it. The risks that we are taking are justified.
He showed the unpredictability of US policy. It was then decided to block the access to West Berlin from the East. That is when the construction of the wall started.
It was the first time the colloquial term Mauer wall had been used in this context. The transcript of a telephone call between Nikita Khrushchev and Ulbricht on 1 August in the same year, suggests that the initiative for the construction of the Wall came from Khrushchev.
This feeling of miscalculation and failure is admitted by Kennedy in the U. There Ulbricht signed the order to close the border and erect a wall.
At midnight, the police and units of the East German army began to close the border and, by Sunday morning, 13 August, the border with West Berlin was closed.
The barrier was built inside East Berlin or East German territory to ensure that it did not encroach on West Berlin at any point.
Later, the initial barrier was built up into the Wall proper, the first concrete elements and large blocks being put in place on 17 August.
With the closing of the East-West sector boundary in Berlin, the vast majority of East Germans could no longer travel or emigrate to West Germany.
Berlin soon went from being the easiest place to make an unauthorized crossing between East and West Germany to being the most difficult.
West Berlin became an isolated exclave in a hostile land. Allied intelligence agencies had hypothesized about a wall to stop the flood of refugees, but the main candidate for its location was around the perimeter of the city.
I see no reason why the Soviet Union should think it is—it is to their advantage in any way to leave there that monument to communist failure.
United States and UK sources had expected the Soviet sector to be sealed off from West Berlin, but were surprised by how long the East Germans took for such a move.
Thus they concluded that the possibility of a Soviet military conflict over Berlin had decreased. The East German government claimed that the Wall was an "anti-fascist protective rampart" German: East Germans and others greeted such statements with skepticism, as most of the time, the border was only closed for citizens of East Germany traveling to the West, but not for residents of West Berlin travelling to the East.
Most people believed that the Wall was mainly a means of preventing the citizens of East Germany from entering or fleeing to West Berlin.
The National Security Agency was the only American intelligence agency that was aware that East Germany was to take action to deal with the brain drain problem.
The interagency intelligence Berlin Watch Committee assessed that this intercept "might be the first step in a plan to close the border. Kennedy until noon on 13 August , while he was vacationing in his yacht off the Kennedy Compound in Hyannis Port, Massachusetts.
However, he denounced the Berlin Wall, whose erection worsened the relations between the United States and the Soviet Union. In response to the erection of the Berlin Wall, a retired general, Lucius D.
Clay , was appointed by Kennedy as his special advisor and sent to Berlin with ambassadorial rank. He was immensely popular with the residents of West Berlin, and his appointment was an unambiguous sign that Kennedy would not compromise on the status of West Berlin.
Clay and Vice President Lyndon B. Johnson arrived at Tempelhof Airport on the afternoon of Saturday, 19 August On 16 August, Kennedy had given the order for them to be reinforced.
On Sunday morning, U. Lead elements—arranged in a column of vehicles and trailers carrying 1, men, divided into five march units—left the Helmstedt-Marienborn checkpoint at East German police watched from beside trees next to the autobahn all the way along.
The front of the convoy arrived at the outskirts of Berlin just before noon, to be met by Clay and Johnson, before parading through the streets of Berlin in front of a large crowd.
Hartel and his brigade of 4, officers and men. The creation of the Wall had important implications for both German states. By stemming the exodus of people from East Germany, the East German government was able to reassert its control over the country: The economy in the GDR began to grow.
But, the Wall proved a public relations disaster for the communist bloc as a whole. Western powers portrayed it as a symbol of communist tyranny, particularly after East German border guards shot and killed would-be defectors.
Such fatalities were later treated as acts of murder by the reunified Germany. The houses contained between the fences were razed and the inhabitants relocated, thus establishing what later became known as the death strip.
The death strip was covered with raked sand or gravel, rendering footprints easy to notice, easing the detection of trespassers and also enabling officers to see which guards had neglected their task;  it offered no cover; and, most importantly, it offered clear fields of fire for the Wall guards.
Through the years, the Berlin Wall evolved through four versions: Begun in  and completed about ,  it was constructed from 45, separate sections of reinforced concrete, each 3.
The top of the wall was lined with a smooth pipe, intended to make it more difficult to scale. This version of the Wall is the one most commonly seen in photographs, and surviving fragments of the Wall in Berlin and elsewhere around the world are generally pieces of the fourth-generation Wall.
The layout came to resemble the inner German border in most technical aspects, except that the Berlin Wall had no landmines nor spring-guns.
As was the case with the inner German border, an unfortified strip of Eastern territory was left outside the wall.
Also in contrast with the inner German border, little interest was shown by East German law enforcement in keeping outsiders off the outer strip; sidewalks of West Berlin streets even ran inside it.
In , defector and political activist Wolfram Hasch and four other defectors were standing inside the outer strip defacing the wall when East German personnel emerged from one of the hidden doors to apprehend them.
All but Hasch escaped back into the western sector. Hasch himself was arrested, dragged through the door into the death strip, and later convicted of illegally crossing the de jure border outside the wall.
Besides the sector-sector boundary within Berlin itself, the Wall also separated West Berlin from the present-day state of Brandenburg.
The following present-day municipalities, listed in counter-clockwise direction, share a border with former West Berlin:. There were nine border crossings between East and West Berlin.
These allowed visits by West Berliners, other West Germans, Western foreigners and Allied personnel into East Berlin, as well as visits by GDR citizens and citizens of other socialist countries into West Berlin, provided that they held the necessary permits.
These crossings were restricted according to which nationality was allowed to use it East Germans, West Germans, West Berliners, other countries.
Several other border crossings existed between West Berlin and surrounding East Germany. Access to West Berlin was also possible by railway four routes and by boat for commercial shipping via canals and rivers.
West Germans and citizens of other Western countries could generally visit East Germany, often after applying for a visa  at an East German embassy several weeks in advance.
Visas for day trips restricted to East Berlin were issued without previous application in a simplified procedure at the border crossing.
However, East German authorities could refuse entry permits without stating a reason. In the s, visitors from the western part of the city who wanted to visit the eastern part had to exchange at least DM 25 into East German currency at the poor exchange rate of 1: It was forbidden to export East German currency from the East, but money not spent could be left at the border for possible future visits.
Tourists crossing from the west had to also pay for a visa, which cost DM 5; West Berliners did not have to pay this.
West Berliners initially could not visit East Berlin or East Germany at all — all crossing points were closed to them between 26 August and 17 December In , negotiations between East and West resulted in a limited possibility for visits during the Christmas season that year Passierscheinregelung.
Similar, very limited arrangements were made in , and In , with the Four Power Agreement on Berlin , agreements were reached that allowed West Berliners to apply for visas to enter East Berlin and East Germany regularly, comparable to the regulations already in force for West Germans.
However, East German authorities could still refuse entry permits. This regulation remained in force essentially until the fall of the Wall, but over the years several exceptions to these rules were introduced, the most significant being:.
For each of these exceptions, GDR citizens had to apply for individual approval, which was never guaranteed. In addition, even if travel was approved, GDR travellers could exchange only a very small amount of East German Marks into Deutsche Marks DM , thus limiting the financial resources available for them to travel to the West.
Citizens of other East European countries were in general subject to the same prohibition of visiting Western countries as East Germans, though the applicable exception if any varied from country to country.
Allied military personnel and civilian officials of the Allied forces could enter and exit East Berlin without submitting to East German passport controls, purchasing a visa or being required to exchange money.
Likewise, Soviet military patrols could enter and exit West Berlin. This was a requirement of the post-war Four Powers Agreements. A particular area of concern for the Western Allies involved official dealings with East German authorities when crossing the border, since Allied policy did not recognize the authority of the GDR to regulate Allied military traffic to and from West Berlin, as well as the Allied presence within Greater Berlin, including entry into, exit from, and presence within East Berlin.
For this reason, elaborate procedures were established to prevent inadvertent recognition of East German authority when engaged in travel through the GDR and when in East Berlin.
Special rules applied to travel by Western Allied military personnel assigned to the Military Liaison Missions accredited to the commander of Soviet forces in East Germany, located in Potsdam.
As with military personnel, special procedures applied to travel by diplomatic personnel of the Western Allies accredited to their respective embassies in the GDR.
This was intended to prevent inadvertent recognition of East German authority when crossing between East and West Berlin, which could jeopardize the overall Allied position governing the freedom of movement by Allied forces personnel within all Berlin.
Ordinary citizens of the Western Allied powers, not formally affiliated with the Allied forces, were authorized to use all designated transit routes through East Germany to and from West Berlin.
In these instances, such travelers, unlike Allied personnel, had to submit to East German border controls. During the years of the Wall, around 5, people successfully defected to West Berlin.
GDR officials denied issuing the latter. In an October order later discovered by researchers, guards were instructed that people attempting to cross the Wall were criminals and needed to be shot: Early successful escapes involved people jumping the initial barbed wire or leaping out of apartment windows along the line, but these ended as the Wall was fortified.
East German authorities no longer permitted apartments near the Wall to be occupied, and any building near the Wall had its windows boarded and later bricked up.
He attempted to swim across the Spree to West Berlin on 24 August , the same day that East German police had received shoot-to-kill orders to prevent anyone from escaping.
Engels stole a Soviet armored personnel carrier from a base where he was deployed and drove it right into the Wall. He was fired at and seriously wounded by border guards.
But a West German policeman intervened, firing his weapon at the East German border guards. The policeman removed Engels from the vehicle, which had become entangled in the barbed wire.
East Germans successfully defected by a variety of methods: When a metal beam was placed at checkpoints to prevent this kind of defection, up to four people two in the front seats and possibly two in the boot drove under the bar in a sports car that had been modified to allow the roof and windscreen to come away when it made contact with the beam.
They lay flat and kept driving forward. The East Germans then built zig-zagging roads at checkpoints. The guards often let fugitives bleed to death in the middle of this ground, as in the most notorious failed attempt, that of Peter Fechter aged He was shot and bled to death, in full view of the Western media, on 17 August The Wall gave rise to a widespread sense of desperation and oppression in East Berlin, as expressed in the private thoughts of one resident, who confided to her diary "Our lives have lost their spirit On 6 June , David Bowie , who earlier for several years lived and recorded in West Berlin, played a concert close to the Wall.
This was attended by thousands of Eastern concertgoers across the Wall,  followed by violent rioting in East Berlin.
According to Tobias Ruther, these protests in East Berlin were the first in the sequence of riots that led to those of November You are now among Heroes.
Thank you for helping to bring down the wall. On 19 July , 16 months before the Wall came down, Bruce Springsteen and the E-Street Band, played Rocking the Wall, a live concert in East Berlin, which was attended by , in person and broadcast delayed on television.
Springsteen spoke to the crowd in German, saying: They hoped that by letting Springsteen in, they could improve their sentiment among East Germans.
However, this strategy of "one step backwards, two steps forwards" backfired and the concert only made East Germans hungrier for more of the freedoms that Springsteen epitomized.
On 31 December , American TV actor and pop music singer David Hasselhoff was the headlining performer for the Freedom Tour Live concert, which was attended by over , people on both sides of the Wall.
The live concert footage was directed by music video director Thomas Mignone and aired on broadcast television station Zweites Deutsches Fernsehen ZDF throughout Europe.
During shooting film crew personnel pulled people up from both sides to stand and celebrate on top of the wall.
Hasselhoff sang his number one hit song "Looking For Freedom" on a platform at the end of a twenty-meter steel crane that swung above and over the Wall adjacent to the Brandenburg Gate.
On 26 June , 22 months after the erection of the Berlin Wall, U. Kennedy visited West Berlin. Two thousand years ago, the proudest boast was civis romanus sum ["I am a Roman citizen"].
Today, in the world of freedom, the proudest boast is "Ich bin ein Berliner! All free men, wherever they may live, are citizens of Berlin, and therefore, as a free man, I take pride in the words "Ich bin ein Berliner!
The message was aimed as much at the Soviets as it was at Berliners and was a clear statement of U. It was a great morale boost for West Berliners, who lived in an exclave deep inside East Germany and feared a possible East German occupation.
In a speech at the Brandenburg Gate commemorating the th anniversary of Berlin  on 12 June , U. We welcome change and openness; for we believe that freedom and security go together, that the advance of human liberty can only strengthen the cause of world peace.
There is one sign the Soviets can make that would be unmistakable, that would advance dramatically the cause of freedom and peace.
General Secretary Gorbachev, if you seek peace, if you seek prosperity for the Soviet Union and eastern Europe, if you seek liberalization , come here to this gate.
Gorbachev, open this gate. Gorbachev, tear down this Wall! Also in June the Hungarian government began dismantling the electrified fence along its border with Austria with Western TV crews present , and then, in September, more than 13, East German tourists escaped through Hungary to Austria.
The Hungarians prevented many more East Germans from crossing the border and returned them to Budapest. The East German government responded by disallowing any further travel to Hungary, but allowed those already there to return to East Germany.
This time, however, the East German authorities allowed people to leave, provided that they did so by train through East Germany.
This was followed by mass demonstrations within East Germany itself. Protest demonstrations spread throughout East Germany in September Initially, protesters were mostly people wanting to leave to the West, chanting "Wir wollen raus!
Then protestors began to chant "Wir bleiben hier! This was the start of what East Germans generally call the " Peaceful Revolution " of late Honecker had predicted in January of that year that the Wall would stand for 50 or more years  [ dead link ] if the conditions that had caused its construction did not change.
The wave of refugees leaving East Germany for the West kept increasing. This was tolerated by the new Krenz government, because of long-standing agreements with the communist Czechoslovak government, allowing free travel across their common border.
However this movement of people grew so large it caused difficulties for both countries. To ease the difficulties, the politburo led by Krenz decided on 9 November to allow refugees to exit directly through crossing points between East Germany and West Germany, including between East and West Berlin.
Later the same day, the ministerial administration modified the proposal to include private, round-trip, travel. The new regulations were to take effect the next day.
However, he had not been involved in the discussions about the new regulations and had not been fully updated.
These regulations had only been completed a few hours earlier and were to take effect the following day, so as to allow time to inform the border guards.
But this starting time delay was not communicated to Schabowski. At the end of the press conference, Schabowski read out loud the note he had been given.
As ARD and ZDF had broadcast to nearly all of East Germany since the late s and had become accepted by the East German authorities, the news was broadcast there as well simultaneously.
The GDR has announced that, starting immediately, its borders are open to everyone. The gates in the Wall stand open wide. After hearing the broadcast, East Germans began gathering at the Wall, at the six checkpoints between East and West Berlin, demanding that border guards immediately open the gates.
At first, they were ordered to find the "more aggressive" people gathered at the gates and stamp their passports with a special stamp that barred them from returning to East Germany—in effect, revoking their citizenship.
However, this still left thousands of people demanding to be let through "as Schabowski said we can". It soon became clear that no one among the East German authorities would take personal responsibility for issuing orders to use lethal force, so the vastly outnumbered soldiers had no way to hold back the huge crowd of East German citizens.
Soon afterward, a crowd of West Berliners jumped on top of the Wall, and were soon joined by East German youngsters. Walking through Checkpoint Charlie , 10 November At the Brandenburg Gate , 10 November Another border crossing to the south may have been opened earlier.
The fall of the Berlin Wall German: Mauerfall began the evening of 9 November and continued over the following days and weeks, with people nicknamed Mauerspechte wall woodpeckers using various tools to chip off souvenirs, demolishing lengthy parts in the process, and creating several unofficial border crossings.
Crowds gathered on both sides of the historic crossings waiting for hours to cheer the bulldozers that tore down portions of the Wall to reconnect the divided roads.
While the Wall officially remained guarded at a decreasing intensity, new border crossings continued for some time, including the Brandenburg Gate on 22 December Initially the East German military attempted repairing damage done by the "Wall peckers"; gradually these attempts ceased, and guards became more lax, tolerating the increasing demolitions and "unauthorized" border crossing through the holes.
West Germans and West Berliners were allowed visa-free travel starting 23 December. Thus, in the weeks between 9 November and 23 December, East Germans could actually travel more freely than Westerners.
According to estimates by the border troops, a total of around 1. These were equipped with trucks, 65 cranes, 55 excavators and 13 bulldozers.
Virtually every road that was severed by the Berlin Wall, every road that once linked from West Berlin to East Berlin, was reconstructed and reopened by 1 August What remained were six sections that were to be preserved as a memorial.
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