What was the Berlin wall?
A 155 km long fortified barrier separating West Berlin from East Berlin and encircling the exclave of West Berlin from the German Democratic Republic It stood from 1961 to 1989
Why was it built?
After WW2 , Germany (and the city of Berlin) was divided into 4 occupation zonesUSA France UK USSR East Berlin under USSR was now the capital of German Democratic Republic (GDR) West Berlin under UK, USA, France capital of Federal Republic of Germany (FRG)
Construction of a barrier started in 1961 to prevent the east German citizens from escaping to the west Germany via Berlin
Also a barrier throughout the east and west German border was built
It was the de facto border between the cold war enemies NATO/USA/WEST on one side and WARSAW PACT/USSR/EASTERN BLOC on the other
THE IRON CURTAIN
Factors contributing to the Fall of the Wall USSR policies Gorbachev’s Glasnost and Perestroika reforms. Non military involvement in affairs of the Eastern European countries.
‘’Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall’’ Revolutions of 1989 Revolutions spread throughout eastern Europe in 1989 leading to easing up of border controls between those countries and western Europe
Public protests In summer and autumn of 1989, east Germans protested in large demonstrations for democracy, freedom of movement and against the failing economy and rising national debt. Change in political leadership of SED in Oct.
1989 9 NOVEMBER
1989 The East German govt spokesperson Gunter Schabowski announced that travel restrictions will be relaxed for east Germans to travel to the west. East and west Germans gathered at the wall and began breaking the wall down.
Lakhs crossed over to the west (40 lakh in three days) In June 1990 the east German govt officially started destroying the wall and it took almost 18 months to remove it completely Elections held in march 1990 in GDR and a coalition of parties favouring re-unification won.
On 3 October 1990, GDR was dissolved and Germany was unified as one again.
By Dr. Mahipal Singh Rathore
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