Work Begins on the Berlin Wall
Work Begins on the Berlin Wall
Shortly after midnight on August 13, 1961, East German soldiers laid barbed wire and bricks on the border to West Germany, creating the Berlin Wall.
After the Nazis were defeated in World War II, Germany was divided into two countries. The German Democratic Republic in the east was part of the communist Soviet Bloc, while the Federal Republic of Germany was aligned with Western Europe. The capital city of Berlin was technically part of the Soviet zone, but was split as well. The Soviets attempted to blockade the Allied-supported western half of the city, but the Berlin airlift foiled those plans.
Soon many of the oppressed in East Germany traveled west to find better opportunities. Over the course of 12 years, some 3 million people made the journey. To prevent additional defectors, the East German communist leader ordered a wall to be built between East and West Berlin. Work on the wall began on August 13, 1961, and it eventually rose to be 10 feet high and extended 100 miles. Suddenly, the people of Berlin were cut off from their friends and families on the other side of the wall. It quickly became a symbol of the Cold War and was the site of frequent protests and continued escape attempts.
By the 1980s, the powerful Soviet Union started to crumble economically and politically. Protesters took to the streets of East Germany in September 1989. They wanted restrictions eased so they could travel or relocate to the West. The “Peaceful Revolution” lasted for two months. On November 9, the government announced that crossing points would be opened along the border for anyone who wanted to leave the country. Crowds soon gathered at checkpoints, and the border guards – who hadn’t been given clear instructions – let people through the gates without checking identification.
In the weeks that followed, citizens from both sides of Germany became “wall woodpeckers” – coming to the wall with chisels to chip off a piece as a souvenir. Soon the holes were large enough that East Germans walked through them to freedom.
During the next year, negotiations took place to work out the details for a unified Germany. The five states that made up East Germany became part of the Federal Republic of Germany. On October 3, 1990, the “Treaty on the Final Settlement with Respect to Germany” went into effect, and the following month free elections were held throughout Germany for the first time since 1932.
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6 responses to "Work Begins on the Berlin Wall "
6 thoughts on “Work Begins on the Berlin Wall ”
I love this site. Keep it up
An excellent post by a reputable stamp company. Your day in history provides an excellent source of information and a reason why stamp collecting is a powerful learning tool for all of us as well as a great hobby.
Great information, Don and team. Keep up the great work. So glad Germany is all one, free nation again and that the wall came tumblin’ down after all of those years of oppression and political turmoil.
I enjoy receiving these posts. Great idea.
#3211 is shown for 2 stamps – the JFK and the Berlin Airlift stamps. Somebody Boo-Booed!
Hi David – The boo boo has been fixed!