Berlin Wall Essay

1300 words - 6 pages

The aftershocks of World War II were seen all over the world, but they were perhaps most prevalent in the country that felt was the most primary cause of WWII and should receive the most punishment. This country was Germany and in order to immediately cut down their military strength, it was split into two halves, East Germany and West Germany. “The Soviet Union was granted control over East Germany, while the United States, Great Britain, and eventually France were given control of West Germany.” (“Soviets Blockade West Berlin”) Right around the middle of East Germany was the city of Berlin, which was at the time being controlled by the Soviet Union. Another measure was taken to cripple the ...view middle of the document...

Finally after being embarrassed by the sheer number of people who were crossing the border daily the Soviet Union decided to do something about it.
In 1961, the first efforts to make the Berlin Wall were being made. The original wall took only two weeks to fully construct and it started out as a small fence covered with barbed wire but it grew into something much larger than anyone could have anticipated. Overnight, families were separated from each other and many men in East Berlin lost jobs who could no longer freely travel to West Berlin. Soon, the wire fence was fortified with concrete and a second fence was later built almost a year later in June of 1962. Many people tried to escape unsuccessfully and the area between the two fences gained a reputation. This area that was located between the two walls was referred to as “The Death Strip” due to the many deaths that occurred in between them either by military personnel who were required to shoot on site or by fierce guard dogs who were allowed to kill anyone they saw. Although there were quite a few casualties a lot of people were making their way across the border still, so further fortifications were made to the walls. The culmination of five years of construction brought about the most complete wall yet called the Border Wall 75 which, as the name implies, was completed in 1975. “This wall was so massive that it had 45,000 sections of reinforced concrete that were each 4 feet in width and 12 feet in height weighing approximately 3 tons a piece.” (Rusk, 1983)
The new modifications of the wall stretched for about 79 miles in length and had approximately 300 guard towers posted along the entire strip. (Gaab, 2011). Despite all of these steps being taken, over 5,000 reported refugees escaped into West Germany and these refugees escaped through various means. Some went for a more upfront approach driving right through the “Death Strip” and crashing into the wall with vehicles. Others used more tactical methods such as leaping from tall buildings in between the border, using hot air balloons to travel above it, or using man made tunnels going underneath the wall. Still, over a hundred people trying to cross were not as fortunate and lost their lives trying to reach freedom.
Finally the world watching became almost as fed up as the citizens themselves. In June 1987, over a decade after the final wall was put up, President Ronald Reagan gave a speech at the border site demanding that the wall be tore down. Nothing significant occurred after that until about two years later on November 9th, 1989 when “the spokesman for East Berlin’s Communist Party stated that the...

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