The more than 160 kilometers long Berlin Wall between East and West Berlin separated the connections in the area of Greater Berlin between the eastern part (“capital of the GDR”) and the western part of the city for more than 28 years. Today parts of the wall can still be visited in different places in Berlin. The Berlin Wall is one of the most important places of remembrance and one of the best Berlin sights. Here you can get information as well as tickets and tours to the Berlin Wall.
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Berlin Wall: symbol of the division of Germany and the Cold War
Hard to imagine today, but for a long time Berlin was divided into East and West. About 168 kilometers of border with a height of between 3.40 and 4.20 m divided Berlin. In some places in Berlin you can see the border lines.
In 1945, after the end of the Second World War, Berlin was divided into four sectors, analogous to Germany as the former Reich capital. From the summer of 1945, the first demarcation lines were drawn between the occupation zones, the so-called “zone borders”. In the times of the Cold War and due to the different social systems – capitalism on the one hand and communism on the other – there were repeated clashes of the Cold War between the western allies and the Soviet Union. But in particular the prevention of the escape of trained young people from the Soviet occupation zone and the later GDR were the reason for the construction of the wall. Because a total of around 3.5 million people fled from 1945 until it was built.
Construction of the Berlin wall
The Berlin Wall was built on or from August 13, 1961 as a border fortification system for the German Democratic Republic (GDR). According to the SED leadership, the so-called “anti-fascist protective wall” was built to protect against the threat from the West. The main purpose, however, was to prevent people from fleeing the GDR to the western part.
The decision was made in Moscow on August 3, 1961 at a meeting between Khrushchev and Ulbricht. The implementation took place on the night of August 12th to 13th, 1961. That night, the GDR began to seal off the roads and railways to West Berlin with 5,000 members of the police and the people’s police on standby as well as 4,500 members of the factory combat groups.
Unfortunately, the death strip also went down in history. Since 1960 the order to shoot has been in effect in cases of “illegal border crossings”. Over a hundred people were killed while trying to cross the border fortifications in the direction of West Berlin. The information varies here. The exact death toll is unknown. However, an estimated 100,000 citizens of the GDR managed to flee to the West even after the construction.
The opening of the Berlin Wall
Im Zuge der der politischen Wende wurde am Abend des 9. November 1989 die Mauer geöffnet. Im Ergebnis ebnete der Mauerfall auch die Auflösung der DDR und führte gleichzeitig zur Wiedervereinigung Deutschlands.
Berlin Wall today a landmark
Other sights that remind of the wall:
- Checkpoint Charlie
- East Side Gallery
East Side Gallery
The East Side Gallery memorial is located in Berlin-Friedrichshain. This permanent open-air gallery on the longest remaining section of the wall can be found in Mühlenstraße between the Ostbahnhof and the Oberbaumbrücke along the Spree. The section has been painted by 118 artists since 1990.
Visiting the outdoor area and the visitor center is free. However, it is worth taking a guided tour to find out more.