Folly and Lunacy Leaded by the Cold War: The Berlin Wall Essay

A vivid example of ideological opposition nonsense became a practice of countries: parceling between two world dominative states and, as well, ideologies – communism and capitalism. Several countries suffered of such rivalry: Korea (still facing this division), Vietnam, Yemen and Germany (which we are going to discuss).

After the end of the World War II, in order to prevent former mistakes of the Treaty of Versailles and another monster’s appearance, the winning parties decided not only to demilitarize Germany, but also to keep it occupied for few years. Gathered around about the map of Germany, one day the three parties (USA, Great Britain and USSR) started to cut the country into three pieces. Berlin, despite of obvious “red” field location, was also separated, which was not the best idea, to say the least. But the country was meant to become solid again in the future, so decision makers decided not to pay much attention.

Years passed, but Germany hadn’t become the Germany itself. There was still English-American-French administration on the west and soviet administration on the east with what previously was Berlin – a unique political formation. And so, it begins.

Germany Division Line

Berlin Blockade as a Precondition of the Wall Appearance

Over only two years both parts of once single state had totally changed and became mini USA and USSR models with all advantages and disadvantages of two regimes. Employment things were going bad in soviet zone: there was job, but totally underpaid. However, it was much cheaper to live there. It was exactly the opposite in the west: qualified experts were desirable and highly paid. It is natural that Germans decided to live on the east and work on the west, which means billions of German marks loss and other economic problems for the soviet zone. Besides, soviet counterintelligence just couldn’t deal with the number of spies penetrating through the West Berlin.

The “hole” should have been closed as fast as possible and in the way which will not escalate the conflict. Their opposition gave the option by conflict escalation themselves in summer 1948. Monetary reform provided by the western administration, which, technically, was a violation of the Potsdam conference decisions, caused strong economic deterioration: according to the reform, part of money was exchanged in 1:1 ratio, the other part – in 1:10 or even 1:20 ratio. As a result, people went where the old money was valid and all goods in red zone shops disappeared in one moment, plus hyperinflation started immediately. Soviet administration reacted quickly: railway had broken suddenly and trains into West Berlin were cancelled, river shuttle closed and electricity turned off as a bonus, officially to prevent new money getting to soviet zone markets and economy collapse. Western part of Berlin was cut of provision and goods and people had to be supplied through the air. Blockade was cancelled in May 1949 as it wasn’t efficient – West Berlin survival ability was proved and USSR reputation was stained. Sometime later the parties created FRG and GDR, but the Berlin problem wasn’t solved and the only way out of this situation for soviets loomed – the wall.

East Berlin Empty Shops

What Was the Wall Itself?

After a couple of senseless and ignored Nikita Khrushchev ultimatums about West Berlin, soviets finally decided to build one of the world’s most famous wall, which also violated Potsdam conference decisions, of course. August 12, 1961 – free movement between the West and East Berlin is prohibited. The day after, operative team of masons began to erect a concrete iron curtain of the Cold War. It almost caused a nuclear war in October 26 the same year, by the way.

The Berlin Crisis

Despite the fact that the official birthday of the Wall is August 13, 1961, its iconic form appeared only in 1975. It was rebuilt 4 times during this time and perfected almost every month. The thing built in the night of August 13 was nothing but a barrier, fence and barbed wire. After a series of escapes the fence was upgraded and acquired a look of the ones of a concentration camp.

Everyone who wanted to taste the Berlin Wall had first to encounter with:

  • A group of men in military uniform and guns;
  • A very strong modification of the chain-link fencing…
  • …followed by another fence, and, although it looked easier (just a strip of barbed wire), it spoiled many runners’ attempts, for they did not know about the existence of electrical signaling, actuating the siren;
  • Czech hedgehogs and mined stripe of sand were waiting for the daredevils;
  • Towers with powerful searchlights and machineguns.
  • For cars, trucks and other armored vehicles half-meter tin rods were shoved into the ground (Germans called it “Stalin grass”) followed by a concrete ditch.
  • The Wall, finally: three-meter concrete blocks.

All this madness is backed up by other devices like motion sensors and small mortars.

The Wall from The Air

It is remarkable that there were no obstacles from the western side. The Wall was showing where the life is better and from where people wanted to escape. The Wall even looked different: a grim concrete hulk on one side and a huge easel for thousands of graffiti on the other.

Comparison of Western and Eastern Looks of Wall

The End

The Demolition

So, almost 30 years since the Wall was constructed passed by. November 9, 1989 – a press conference speech of Günter Schabowski informs the whole country and the world that every citizen of the German Democratic Republic has the opportunity to leave the country at all border crossings, without a reason for the trip. That was enough. Hundreds of thousands of Germans moved to the Wall. The crowd was laughing, crying and screaming. Crowds of western Berliners moved towards. All of them began to dance, sing, drink and chip pieces of the wall as a memento. And the Berlin Wall stopped its existence.

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