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The Berlin Wall Essay

952 words - 4 pages

On the 13th of August 1961, the communist East German government began construction of the Berlin Wall, which separated West Berlin from East Berlin and the rest of East Germany, as a response to immense numbers of East German citizens fleeing into West Berlin. The East German government called the Wall the "anti-fascist protection wall". The tensions between east and west were aggravated by a tank standoff at Checkpoint Charlie on 27 October 1961. West Berlin was now a part of West Germany, but with a unique legal status, while East Berlin was a part of East Germany. Various events had led to the establishment of this wall and it brought about certain effects on the cold war.During the earlier stages of the cold war, Germany was the main focus with its division in the Potsdam conference (1945) and the Berlin blockade. Later on, the cold war moved from Europe (Hungary and Poland) to Asia (Korea) and African (Suez Canal). However, after the Berlin wall incident, Germany was the main point of interest again. The Soviets were concerned that Germany would recover from its WWII military and economic status and pose a threat to them while the West was worried about losing Germany as a source of influence in Europe. Also, Berlin became important because it was a place where two different ideologies were very close to each other, with Democracy in the west and Communism in the East and Berlin began to look like a sort of war front between the two. The Soviets focused more on Germany because if West Berlin surpassed East Berlin, the whole prestige of international communism would be at stake. However, Khrushchev believed that if he wanted to make the West scream, he'd have to squeeze its testicles and in this case, the testicles is Berlin and he was aware that the West would not want to risk a war over Berlin. For the west, failure in Berlin could disrupt NATO and weaken American influence in West Germany which was the key to the balance of power in EuropeThe second Berlin crisis brought both superpowers to the brink of a hot war. A NSC staffer called Carl Kaysen told Kennedy, that he had prepared a study on the possibility of a limited first strike against the Soviet Union if the situation in Berlin threatened to become more dangerous. Both powers spent time in building up their military force in the region since 1955, with missiles aimed at each other from each side of the wall . On 25 July President Kennedy requested an increase in the Army's total authorized strength from 875,000 to about 1 million men, along with an increase of 29,000 and 63,000 men from the Navy and the Air Force. Additionally, he ordered that draft calls be doubled, He also...

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