Why was the Berlin Wall built?
After WWII, Germany was split between the Allies (U.S.A., G.B., France, and The Soviet Union). The Soviet Union had East Germany and the West was for the other three countries.
Berlin was also split into four sections between the four countries even though it was completely in East Germany.
Before the wall was built, people could move freely between the two sides. Some people worked in one section but lived in a different section.
On August 31, 1961 the government in East Berlin built a wall made of barbed wire and concrete between East and West Berlin. The wall was built in attempt to keep war away from the city. Later, a more stable wall was built.
The wall was around 87 miles long and costed around $25 million.
what was the "death strip"?
The Berlin Wall was actually two different walls with a section in the middle known as the "death strip".
This was built to keep people from being able to get to the opposite side. It had floodlights, sand to show footprints, vicious dogs, trip-wire machine guns, and patrolling soldiers. At least 171 people were killed trying to get across the wall.
There were checkpoints with guards that some people like officials were able to go through to the other side.
Over 5,000 people in East Berlin successfully crossed to West Berlin.
- Stole a tank
- In a convertible
- On an air matress
- On a zip line
- In a hot air balloon
- On a tightrope
Two brothers living in West Berlin who had gotten split from their other brother made fake Soviet planes. They flew right over the wall and picked their brother up and brought him back safely to the West.
There was a system of tunnels that many people escaped through. In 1964 there were 57 people escape in two nights through underground tunnels.
the two different sides
East Berlin was controlled by The Soviet Union. It was a communist government. People suffered from shortages in food and living supplies. The Stasi were a group of people run by the government in the East that would spy and watch citizens to "gather deep knowledge" of citizens' lives.
There were around 6,000 spies from East Germany in West Germany. West Germany had around 10,000 spies in the East.
West Berlin was run by capitalist ideas. It was split into three different sections between the U.S.A., Great Britain, and France. These countries used Berlin as a headquarters for many spies.
West Berlin was surrounded by a communist country. Berlin was fully in East Germany, but was also split in order to keep war away.
why did the Berlin wall fall?
On November 9, 1989 East Berlin's Communist Party announced that people could freely pass through the wall. After 28 years, more than 2 million people crossed into West Berlin that night.
Many people in East Germany and other communist countries were starting to fight back against the government. East Germany's head of state resigned in October of 1989 because of this. The new government created laws that allowed people to travel to West Germany.
There are some theories that people were to go through many checkpoints before they could pass into West Berlin. One guard at a gate was surrounded by a mob wanting to get through, so he opened the gate and let all these people get through to the West.
The two sides of Berlin were officially reunited on October 3, 1990.