A timeline and history of the Berlin Wall, one of the most memorable emblems of the Cold War that divided much of the world in half.
Erected in the 1960s, the Berlin Wall divided communist East Germany from the non-communist West. For 28 years, the Iron Curtain kept East Germans from fleeing to the West and the momentous occasion of its destruction signified a resounding international celebration for freedom. Here, we take a look a look at the fascinating history of the Berlin Wall:
A History Of The Berlin Wall: August 13, 1961
Despite previous assertions that “Nobody intends to build a wall”, Communist East German leader Walter Ulbricht does just that in the guise of forging a protection barrier against anti-fascists. East German troops are enlisted to erect the wall and work commences after midnight.
August 15, 1961
East German soldier Conrad Schumann’s leap over a barbed wire section that divides the East and West provides the world with an amazing photo of the recently erected divide.
August 17, 1962
Serving as one of the most enduring deaths at the wall, 18-year-old Peter Fechter is shot in the pelvis and bleeds to death while trying to escape. Since he fell on the border strip on the east side, Western authorities and other bystanders aren’t allowed to help him and instead watch him die.
A History Of The Berlin Wall: June 26, 1963
U.S. President Kennedy visits the West German side of the wall and utters the famous lines: “Ich bin ein Berliner”. His speech reiterates the values of freedom and solidarity to West Berlin:
There are many people in the world who really don’t understand, or say they don’t, what is the great issue between the free world and the Communist world. Let them come to Berlin.
March 11, 1985
Mikhail Gorbachev becomes leader of the Soviet Union and introduces many reforms including the policy of openness. This spreads like wildfire amongst the populace and soon citizens begin to speak out against the government.
June 12, 1987
U.S. President Ronald Reagan visits the wall on the West Berlin side and demands peace and liberalization, stating:
General Secretary Gorbachev, if you seek peace, if you seek prosperity for the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe, if you seek liberalization: Come here to this gate. Mr. Gorbachev, open this gate. Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall.
September 10, 1989
Hungary reopens borders with East Germany allowing for 13,000 East Germans to escape to Austria.
November 4, 1989
A demonstration is held with a million people protesting the wall in East Berlin.
November 9, 1989
The wall finally falls, leading to worldwide celebration.