I think it is safe to say that the Berlin Wall is one of the first borders the mind conjures when the topic of the end of The Cold War springs into life. In addition, the memories of Berlin Wall teaches a lesson on the policy of isolationism and forced efforts against emigration [hopefully]. The Berlin Wall is the first in the series of ‘A Brief History of Walls’ that I will explore, a timely piece as a reminder of the 25th anniversary of the fall of the wall on November 9th.
By the end of World War II, bitter feelings run deep; Germany became the new scramble for Africa – France, Britain, Soviet Union and USA were the grabbers. Western influence in Germany and Europe to a larger extent, frustrated communist operation in Germany especially since a growing number of anti-communists westerners openly rebuked the regime. According to Frederick Taylor, just after midnight on 24th of June, 1945, saw the Berlin Blockage at a start. Furthermore, H. Harrison posits the view that East German leaders were arguing from 1952 that the borders should close to prevent flight to the attractive West. From 21st September, 1960, East German required that Western diplomats needed special visa to enter the East. According to Frederick Taylor, Checkpoint Charlie was the alias for the famous border crossing from West to East Germany; millions of people living in East Germany could not legally cross over to the West.
The Wall constructed on August 13th, 1961 under the code name ‘Red,’ had special focus on Berlin. [Remember, Germany was now divided into West and East sections]. The Wall consisted of killing zones, concrete and barbwire. It is a monument which reflects the Cold War [1945-89] in Europe. The Cold War was a war of ideas. As Jeffrey A. Engel puts it, the Wall served not only as a physical barrier but a symbolic split of the Europe. It is interesting to note that a formidable wall in Berlin was not a new concept. In 1730, Frederick William built a challenging wall not only to keep Berlin enemies out but to prevent desertion from the army and to tax travellers and goods. On November 9th, 1989, the fall of the Berlin Wall marks the end/decline of the Cold War in Europe. According to Glenn Hubbard and Tim Kane, whilst millions imprisoned in a failing economic regime in East Germany suffered, the guards killed at least 246 persons trying to escape across the border.
Engel, Jeffrey. The Fall of the Berlin Wall: The Revolutionary Legacy of 1989. Oxford University Press, 2011.
Glenn Hubbard, Tim Kane. “The Great Wall of Texas: How the U. S. Is Repeating One of History Blunders.” 9th July 2013. The Atlantic. 01st November 2014 .
Harrison, H. “Driving the Soviets Up the Wall: A Superally, A superpower, and the Building of the Berlin Wall:1958-61.” Cold War History: Volume 1, Issue 1 06 September 2010: 53-74.
Harrison, Hope. “The Berlin Wall, Ostpolitik, and Detente.” German Historical, Washington, DC, Bulletin Supplement 1 2004: 5-16.
Taylor, Frederick. The Berlin Wall: 13 August 1961- 9 November 1989. Bloomsbury, 2012.