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Wondering about the Berlin Wall

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The Communist government of the German Democratic Republic (ADC or East Germany); On August 13, 1961, he began to build the structure between East and West Berlin, consisting of barbed wire and concrete, which means “antifascist wall” in German, “Antifascistischer Schutzwall” in German. The official reason for the construction of the Berlin Wall was to prevent Western “fascists” from entering East Germany and thus from harming the socialist state.

But rather, the wall served to prevent mass escapes from the East to the West. The head of the East German Communist Party said on November 9, 1989 that the citizens of East Germany could cross the border set by the wall at any time. Until this date, the Berlin Wall continued its mission.

That night, the lost crowds hugged the wall. While some people moved freely to West Berlin, others had begun to smash the wall by bringing their hammer and pickaxe. The Berlin Wall still continues to be one of the strongest and lasting symbols of the Cold War.

The Berlin Wall: Partition of Berlin

In 1945, II. When World War ended, a group of Allies in Yalta and Potsdam held a peace conference and determined the fate of Germany’s land. They divided the defeated state into 4 “allied occupation zones”. The eastern part of the country was given to the Soviet Union, and the western part to the United States, Britain and (later) France.

Escape Methods for People Who Left the Berlin Wall Behind

On October 22, 1961, an argument between one of the East German border guards and an American official who went to an opera in East Berlin, the witness of the dispute almost “O.K. It led to what he calls the “nuclear age equivalent” of the Wild West Show in Corral. That day, American and Soviet tanks faced off at Checkpoint Charlie for 16 hours. The photos of the conflict were some of the most known and memorable images of the Cold War.

Although Berlin is actually located in the proximate part of the country (approximately 100 miles from the border between the occupation zones to the east and west), the Yalta and Potsdam agreements divided the city into similar segments. The Soviets took over the eastern part of the city, while the Allies took the west. This quadruple occupation of Berlin began in June 1945.

Siege and Crisis

Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev said, for the existence of West Berlin, a capitalist city that stands out in the depths of communist East Germany, “A bone is stuck in the throat of the Soviet, it must be done.” he said. Russians; The USA had begun to take measures to remove Britain and France from the city. In 1948, there was a Soviet siege of West Berlin, which aimed to leave the western allies outside the city without food and water. However, instead of retreating, the United States and its allies sought to encircle the city from the air. This situation, known as the Berlin Blockade, lasted more than a year and sent over 2.3 million tons of food, fuel, etc. to West Berlin. it cost products. The Soviets lifted the siege in 1949.

After nearly ten years of calm, in 1958 this calmness gave way to tension again. As the Allies resisted, for the next three years, the Soviets – encouraged by the successful launch of a satellite called Sputnik a year earlier during the “Space Race”, began to feel ashamed of an endless influx of refugees from east to west.

After the siege was lifted; Nearly 3 million people, most of them doctors, teachers, engineers and young workers, had gathered and threatened them. Summits, conferences and other negotiations were held, but with no results. Meanwhile, the influx of refugees was continuing. In June 1961, about 19,000 people left the ADC via Berlin. The next month, 30 thousand people fled. In the first 11 days of August, 16,000 people crossed the East German border to West Berlin, and on August 12, approximately 2,400 people followed the departures. This number was the highest number of refugees who left East Germany in one day.

Building the Wall

That night, Prime Minister Khrushchev closed his border to the East German government indefinitely and decided to stop the flow of refugees. The East German army, the government’s police force, and volunteer construction workers separate one side of the city from the other; They had completed the makeshift stop wall, the Berlin Wall, made of barbed wire and concrete in exactly two weeks.

Before the wall was built, the people of Berlin lived quite freely on both sides of the city. They could cross the East-West border to work, shop, go to the theater and cinema; trains and subway lines transported passengers across the border. After the wall was built, it was impossible to travel from the East to West Berlin except at one of the three checkpoints.

These three checkpoints: located in Helmstedt

“Checkpoint Alpha” in the American military term, “Checkpoint Bravo” in Dreilinden and “Checkpoint Charlie” in Friedrichstrasse in the center of Berlin. (Later, East Germany built 12 checkpoints along the wall). East German soldiers had examined diplomats and other officials at each of the checkpoints before being allowed in and out. Passengers from East and West Berlin were rarely allowed to cross the border, except in special circumstances.

The Berlin Wall: 1961-1989

The building of the Berlin Wall stopped the influx of refugees from the East to the West and calmed the crisis in Berlin. (Although President John F. Kennedy was dissatisfied with this, he admitted that “a wall is much better than a war.”) Almost two years after the Berlin Wall was built, John F. Kennedy was located outside the West Berlin town hall, the Brandenburg Gate. He had read his most famous speech in the presence of more than 120 thousand people gathered just steps away from. A sentence was engraved from Kennedy’s speech “I am from Berlin.”

At least 171 people trying to pass under or around the Berlin Wall were killed. Still, it was not impossible to escape from East Germany; From 1961 until the wall collapsed in 1989, more than 5,000 East Germans (including about 600 border guards) border the border by jumping through gaps and barbed wires adjacent to the wall, over it in hot air balloons, crawling through drains and swiftly through the less powerful parts of the wall. had managed to pass.

Fall of the Wall

On November 9, 1989, as the Cold War began to gradually end in Eastern Europe, a spokesperson for the East Berlin Communist Party announced a change in the city’s relations with the West. On that day, he said that ADC citizens were free to cross the border from midnight. East and West Berliners drink beer and champagne and say “Tor auf! (Open the door!) ”They flocked to the checkpoints at night.

More than 2 million people came to West Berlin that weekend to attend a celebration known as “the biggest street party in world history”. People used hammers and pickaxes to break the wall. These tools were known as “mauerspechte” in Turkish “wall woodpeckers”. Bulldozers had also come to the wall at the same time. Soon the wall collapsed and Berlin was united for the first time since 1945. “Here today, the war is really over,” a Berliner spray-painted a piece of the wall. he wrote.

The reunification of East and West Germany became official on 3 October 1990, about a year after the fall of the Berlin Wall.

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