The Berlin Wall Tensions

The Berlin Wall Tensions

The Berlin wall divided East Berlin and West Berlin. It was built in order to deter people from fleeing East Berlin. It was in many respects the ideal symbol of the Cold War’s “Iron Curtain,” which divided the communist countries of Eastern Europe from the capitalist western countries.

After the Second World War, Berlin was divided into four occupation zones: the Soviet Union took the eastern half, while the United States, the United Kingdom, and France took the western half.

The tension over Berlin grew as a result of failed summits between the Soviet Union and the West.
As a result, more Berliners fled to the West in the event that the Soviets closed the border.

Relations between the East and the West deteriorated further, when the West refused to comply with Khrushchev’s demands to leave Berlin. Thus, the Soviet Union then decided to build a physical barrier between East and West Berlin.

On the night of August 13, 1961, East German troops built a barbed wire fence around Berlin and between East and West Berlin, creating the symbolic “Iron Curtain” that had separated East and West since 1945.

As a result, the influx of refugees into the West came to a halt: the Berlin Wall held East Berliners “at home.” Soldiers in East Germany carried out orders to “shoot to kill” anyone attempting to cross into West Berlin.

In the West, it was known as a prison wall. Until the end of the Cold War, Berlin was a center of friction between the two super powers.

The Berlin Wall separated families who were unable to see each other. Many East Berliners lost their jobs. West Berliners protested against the wall, with their mayor, Willy Brandt, leading the charge against the United States.