1961: The Berlin Wall

The construction of the Berlin wall began on August the 13, 1961.

Why was the Berlin Wall built?

  1. West Germany was more prosperous than East Germany. West Germans had a better standard of living than those in the East. West Germany was an advertisement for the economic success of Western Europe.

  2. Germans could move freely between East Germany and West Berlin. Between 1949 and 1960, 3 million East Germans fled to the West through Berlin. Many of these were young, talented and well-educated people.

  3. West Berlin was used as a headquarters for Western governments to spy on Eastern Europe and the USSR.

Did the Berlin wall reduce cold war tensions?

Successfully reduced cold war tensions:

  • It prevented a war because the US decided it was not worth fighting for and let the USSR have their privacy.

  • The wall have the Soviets the safety and security they had wanted from Germany as a result of the Second World War.

Failed to reduce cold war tensions:

  • The West became more suspicious of the Soviets and were unaware about what was happening

  • Germans in West and East Germany had began to lose faith in the Western Countries because they were not standing up and fighting for their freedom.