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BELLWORK. What led to the division of Germany in 1949? What were the causes/effects of the Berlin blockade? How did containment in Asia effect the Cold War in Europe? What were the two Cold War alliances?

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  • What led to the division of Germany in 1949?

  • What were the causes/effects of the Berlin blockade?

  • How did containment in Asia effect the Cold War in Europe?

  • What were the two Cold War alliances?

  • THINKER: Analyze the two arms race political cartoons (pg.110) – What is the message behind these cartoons? What similar themes do you notice about these messages? Explain!

The Berlin Wall

Why was Germany such a source of tension?

Timeline of Events Affecting Post-WWII Germany (1945-1961)

  • 1945: Yalta & Potsdam Conferences

  • 1948: Marshall Aide approved; Berlin Blockade

  • 1949: NATO established; West (FRG) & East (GDR) Germanys established

  • 1955: West Germany admitted to NATO (effect of Korean War) & Warsaw Pact established

  • 1958: Khrushchev attempts negotiation = ultimatum

  • 1961: Berlin Wall is built

NATO: North Atlantic Treaty Organization

In 1949 the western nations formed the North Atlantic Treaty Organization to coordinate their defense against USSR.

Pledged signers to treat an attack against one, as an attack against all

It originally consisted of:

America- Holland

Belgium- Italy

Britain- Luxembourg

Canada- Norway

Denmark- Portugal


When West Germany joined in 1955, the Soviets responded…..

NATO flag


Warsaw Pact

Warsaw Pact: organization of communist states in Central and Eastern Europe.

Established May 14, 1955 in Warsaw, Poland in response to NATO

Founding members:

Albania (left in 1961) - Poland

Bulgaria - Romania

Czechoslovakia- USSR (founding member)

Hungary - East Germany (joined in 1956)


The Two Germanys: East vs. West

Economic Differences

Political Differences

West Germany: democratic

East Germany: Stalinist, authoritarian state

Discontent in East Germany led to riots in 1953 – put down with Soviet tanks

As a result of these differences, no further efforts were made to unite Germany.

  • West Germany (“economic miracle”)

  • Larger population, greater industrial output, Marshall Aide, increased standard of living

  • East Germany:

  • Forced collectivization of farms and rapid socialization = massive economic problems

  • Hardships and drop in living standards caused many East Germans to flee towards the West

Exodus of East Germany

  • Economic and political disparities caused a mass exodus of East Germans into West Berlin

  • Encouraged by West

  • Between 1945-1961, 1/6 of the whole East German population moved West via Berlin

  • In 1958, Khrushchev proposed a peace treaty that would recognize existence of two Germanys, demilitarize Western Berlin & remove troops

Walter Ulbricht

Leader of East Germany; pressured Khrushchev to escalate Berlin Crisis

Berlin Crisis of 1958

  • Khrushchev’s ultimatum: If the West did not agree to these changes, he would give control of access routes into West Berlin to East Germany.

  • To resist Khrushchev might mean war!!!

  • Due to Western outrage, the ultimatum was dropped and negotiations began

  • 2/1959: meeting in Geneva to propose German unity, but no agreement reached

  • 9/1959: meeting in US, but again, no agreement reached

  • Numbers of refugees continued to grow as Ulbricht grew frustrated with Khrushchev's failure to solve the problem (he wanted Berlin under his control; no peace with West!)

  • Khrushchev hoped he would have better luck with JFK

Kennedy and “Flexible Response”

  • “We intend to have a wider choice than humiliation or all out nuclear war”

  • His approach to containment was a policy of “flexible response”

    • Limited involvement in Vietnam

    • More spending on conventional forces

    • Increasing nuclear arsenal

    • Continued CIA covert work

    • Continued economic aide to countries

    • Continued negotiations with the USSR

Kennedy and “Flexible Response”

  • How was Eisenhower’s “New Look” different than Kennedy’s “Flexible Response?” Similar?

Kennedy and “Flexible Response”

  • Khrushchev assumed he could exploit Kennedy's inexperience in foreign affairs, but JFK was determined to appear tough to the Soviets

  • Called Berlin “an island of freedom in a communist sea” and “a beacon of hope behind the iron curtain.”

  • Responded to Khrushchev’s demands with an increase in military spending.

  • “We cannot and will not permit the Soviets to drive us out of Berlin, either gradually or by force.”

Construction of the Berlin Wall

  • In August 1961, Khrushchev gave in to Ulbricht’s pressure and agreed to close the Berlin border

  • Why did Khrushchev agree to this?

    • Growing tensions in Berlin

    • Increased refugees to the West

    • Kennedy’s response

    • Economic problems in the East

  • Construction of the Berlin Wall began August 13, 1961

The USSR called the wall a barrier to Western imperialism, but it was meant to keep its people from going to the West where there were more rights and freedoms.

The West Germans called it Schandmaur, the "Wall of Shame."

Over the years, it was rebuilt three times. Each version of the wall was higher, stronger, repressive, and impenetrable. Towers and guards with machine guns and dogs stood watch.

No one was allowed to enter the zones. Anyone trying to escape was shot on sight.

Early 1960s view of east side of Berlin Wall with barbed wire at top.

A view from the French sector looking over the wall.

Berlin Wall


41 miles long (28 on border)

12 feet high

Fortified with guards and weapons

Included anti-vehicle trenches

Over 5,000 escape attempts

Became a symbol for the division between East & West

Berlin Wall

What did the building of the wall mean….

  • For Khrushchev?

    • Visible admission that Communist propaganda had failed: the Soviets had to create a barrier to keep people in the East. He was able to regain control over the situation and free himself of pressure from Ulbricht

  • For Ulbricht?

    • Helped him consolidate Communist control in the GDR

  • For the citizens of Berlin?

    • Horrible experience – divided families & friends with no hope of reunifying

  • For the Cold War?

    • Removed Germany as a key issue in Cold War negotiations; Americans disliked it, but US relieved that war was averted

    • Focus of the Cold War moved from Europe

President Kennedy’s West Berlin speech

  • June 26, 1963

  • Ich bin ein Berliner!


This is a strategy used to categorize important events/people/items into specific sectors. It will help you memorize and brainstorm items from each topic.

This will be GREAT review over Cold War Cuba!

Carousel Brainstorming

Carousel Brainstorming

  • How it works:

  • You will be divided into 5 teams.

  • Each team is given a specific color

  • Everyone will start in one station.

  • At this station, you will write and describe anything you know about the topic.

  • At the end of a minute, you will rotate stations, while keeping your own color.

  • Everyone in your group must write at one station

Berlin Wall Document Analysis

  • Pgs. 87-89

  • How do these documents compare in their analysis of the results of building the Berlin Wall?

  • Essay Example

  • When and why was Germany the focus of Cold War hostility in the 16 years after WWII?

The Fall of the Berlin Wall

“Mr. Gorbachev – Tear down this Wall!”

The Wall Falls, 1989

Riots and protests break out in East Germany.

East Germans storm the wall. Confused and outnumbered, border guards do not fight back.

The wall is breached.

Eventually East and West Germany are reunited in 1990.


Random Facts……..

  • September 2004 poll showed that 25% of West Germans and 12% of East Germans wish they were still separated.

  • 2005 poll showed that 58% of Russians have no idea who built the Berlin Wall.

    • Germans or United States

  • German gift shops sell pieces of the Berlin Wall for $55-$300.

  • By the time the Berlin Wall fell, there were 302 guard towers (~ 7 every mile)

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