Berlin Wall anniversary – when did it fall and why was it built?

The Sun 5 days ago

THE iconic fall of the Berlin Wall is approaching its 30th anniversary.

But why exactly was it built and when did its collapse take place? Here’s what we know.

The dismantling of the Berlin Wall was the climax of six months in which the communist regimes of eastern Europe tottered and fell[/caption]

When did the wall fall?

The dismantling of the Berlin Wall was the climax of six months in which the communist regimes of eastern Europe tottered and fell.

The 12ft high, 87-mile-long wall was built as the Cold War raged in 1961, with Germany divided into two separate nations, Communist East and democratic West.

The historic Berlin Wall fell on November 9, 1989.

Official demolition of the Berlin Wall began in the summer of 1990.

More than 40,000 wall sections were recycled and used for German reconstruction projects.
All the border controls ended on July 1st 1990 and Germany became one country again on October 3rd 1990.

The wall’s demolition also helped to put an end to the Cold War.

The wall cut West Berlin off from the Eastern half of the city and from East Germany. It was a forbidding and impenetrable barrier between two states and between the world’s opposing political ideals.

The seeds of its destruction were sown by the reforming Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev.

On November 1, 1989, the East German government gave in, opening its border with Czechoslovakia.

After more demonstrations the East German government resigned.

On November 9 it was announced that exit visas would be granted to all East Germans who wished to visit the West.

The border was now open. Overjoyed citizens flocked to the Berlin Wall and began pulling it down with sledgehammers, chisels or their hands. Germany was reunified in October 1990.

The Soviet Union collapsed in 1991 and Russia became a democratic republic.

Germans from East and West stand on the Berlin Wall in front of the Brandenburg Gate in Berlin[/caption]

Why was it built?

The Berlin Wall was a wall separating East Berlin from West Berlin.

At the end of World War Two in September 1945, Germany surrendered to the Allies – a group of Western countries including Britain, America, France and the Soviet Union (a collection of Eastern European countries run by Russia).

The Allies decided to divide control of Germany between themselves.

Each took responsibility for a different part of the country. Britain, America and France took over the areas in the west of Germany and the Soviet Union controlled the east.

Berlin was in the Soviet zone, but as it was the capital of Germany, it was decided that it would also be divided into four areas – one controlled by each of the four countries.

The American, British and French areas became West Berlin and the Soviet area became East Berlin.

It was constructed as a way of preventing East Germans from entering the Western side.

This 27 mile barrier consisted of two concrete walls. Between these two walls there was a ‘death strip’ approximately 160 yards wide.

A total 136 people died trying to cross the Berlin Wall during its existence. The west side of this wall was covered in graffiti but the east side was not.

The government finally destroyed the wall in 1990, although many parts of it have been left for people to see today.

A demonstrator pounds away the Berlin Wall as East Berlin border guards look on from above the Brandeburg Gate in this November 11, 1989[/caption]


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