Full Text

BerlinWall


Subject History

Place Western Europe » Germany

Period 1000 - 1999 » 1900-1999

DOI: 10.1111/b.9780631209379.1999.x


Extract

It was built to separate West Berlin from East Berlin and the surrounding German Democratic Republic (GDR). The frontier of the GDR with West Germany (the Federal Republic of Germany: FRG) had been closed since 1952, but East Germans could move to the West by going to Berlin and crossing from the eastern (Soviet) sector of the city to the western. Three million had done so from 1945–61, an intolerable drain on the economy of the GDR, as many were skilled and highly educated, stalin's therefore, obtained the permission of khrushchev to seal off the east of the city from the west. On 13 August 1961 barbed wire separated the two parts of the city, to be followed by the building of a wall, 25 miles long and 20 feet (6 metres) high in places. Searchlights, towers with armed guards, and land mines deterred people from crossing the wall. Over 200 people were to lose their lives in attempting to do so. The building of the wall was a humiliating recognition that the democratic FRG was more attractive and economically successful than the repressive communist regime of the GDR, yet it served its purpose. The exodus to the West ended and this made the government of the GDR more stable and secure. The reaction in the FRG was dismay that its Western allies had done nothing. Politicians there decided that they would have to devise their own policy towards the East. Willy brandt later recalled ... log in or subscribe to read full text

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