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‘The Americans use West Berlin as a base for recruiting spies, sabotage and starting riots.  The wall will keep East Germany safe .’ The Russian government’s explanation of the Wall written in 1961.  It was printed in newspapers for East Germans to read.

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‘The Americans use West Berlin as a base for recruiting spies, sabotage and starting riots. The wall will keep East Germany safe.’

The Russian government’s explanation of the Wall written in 1961. It was printed in newspapers for East Germans to read.


‘The wall is the most obvious and vivid demonstration of the failures of the communist system, all the world can see, and we take no satisfaction in it. For it is an offense not only against humanity, separating families, dividing husbands and wives and brothers and sisters and dividing a people who wished to be joined together!’

An extract from John F. Kennedy’s speech in 1963. It was delivered in Berlin and broadcast around the world.


  • Causes the failures of the communist system, all the world can see, and we take no satisfaction in it. For it is an offense not only against humanity, separating families, dividing husbands and wives and brothers and sisters and dividing a people who wished to be joined together!’

  • 1. Growing tension due to Kennedy’s actions

  • Kennedy tried to get tough on Communism.

  • He financed the forces fighting the Communists in Vietnam and Laos,

  • In 1961 he helped an invasion of Cuba to try and get rid of the Communist government there .

  • 2. Refugees

  • East Germany was poor and under strict rule.

  • West Berlin was wealthy and free. Many East Germans worked in West Berlin, and saw this.

  • By 1961, 3 million had fled to the west through Berlin. As the Cold War tension grew, more left, fearing that the border would be closed – by August 1961, the flow was 1,800 a day.

  • This was an embarrassment to Russia, which claimed that Communism was better.

  • Also, many who left were skilled workers.

  • 3. Spying and Sabotage

  • The Russians claimed that the Americans used West Berlin for spying and sabotage.


Results of the Berlin Wall: the failures of the communist system, all the world can see, and we take no satisfaction in it. For it is an offense not only against humanity, separating families, dividing husbands and wives and brothers and sisters and dividing a people who wished to be joined together!’

· Berlin was split in two. Hundreds of East Berliners died trying to cross it.

· America complained, but did not try to take it down – it was not worth a war.

· Tension grew: both sides started nuclear testing in the years after the wall was built.

· The West became more openly anti-communist- the US President Kennedy openly made speeches criticising the building of the wall.

· The Wall became a symbol in the West of Communist tyranny.


Official figures show that at least 136 people died trying to cross the border. People attempting to get from East to West were regarded as traitors and guards were instructed to shoot at them if they attempted to cross, although not to kill them.


The Wall in Numbers to cross the border. People attempting to get from East to West were regarded as traitors and guards were instructed to shoot at them if they attempted to cross, although not to kill them.

Total Length: 155 km

Concrete segment wall height: 3.6 m (12 ft)

Concrete segment wall length: 106 km (66 mi)

Wire mesh fencing: 66.5 km (41.3 mi)

Number of watch towers: 132

Number of Guards: 10,000


Berlin, 1961. Berlin Wall at to cross the border. People attempting to get from East to West were regarded as traitors and guards were instructed to shoot at them if they attempted to cross, although not to kill them.Zimmerstrasse/MarkgrafenstrasseWest Berliners watching over the Wall to the East


A British cartoon from the to cross the border. People attempting to get from East to West were regarded as traitors and guards were instructed to shoot at them if they attempted to cross, although not to kill them.Daily Sketch paper from 1961. It shows the two sides as not really wanting to fight.


A British cartoon from the to cross the border. People attempting to get from East to West were regarded as traitors and guards were instructed to shoot at them if they attempted to cross, although not to kill them.Evening Standard newspaper from 1961. It shows Kennedy, The US president, on the left blocked from entering Berlin whilst Khruschev, the Soviet leader, watches on the right hand side.


The figure in the centre is saying ‘I’m Charlie- I was only looking.’

(This is a joke as Charlie was the name of the Checkpoint)

A British cartoon from the Daily Mail newspaper from 1961. It shows the two sides at Checkpoint Charlie, a crossing point between the two sides. It is trying to demonstrate how quickly things could turn into near war.


EVIDENCE only looking.’

  • Causes

  • 1. Growing tension due to Kennedy’s actions

  • Kennedy tried to get tough on Communism.

  • He financed the forces fighting the Communists in Vietnam and Laos,

  • In 1961 he helped an invasion of Cuba to try and get rid of the Communist government there .

  • 2. Refugees

  • East Germany was poor and under strict rule.

  • West Berlin was wealthy and free. Many East Germans worked in West Berlin, and saw this.

  • By 1961, 3 million had fled to the west through Berlin. As the Cold War tension grew, more left, fearing that the border would be closed – by August 1961, the flow was 1,800 a day.

  • This was an embarrassment to Russia, which claimed that Communism was better.

  • Also, many who left were skilled workers.

  • 3. Spying and Sabotage

  • The Russians claimed that the Americans used West Berlin for spying and sabotage.

Berlin, 1961. Berlin Wall at Zimmerstrasse/

MarkgrafenstrasseWest Berliners watching over the Wall to the East

Official figures show that at least 136 people died trying to cross the border. People attempting to get from East to West were regarded as traitors and guards were instructed to shoot at them if they attempted to cross, although not to kill them.

Results of the Berlin Wall:

· Berlin was split in two. Hundreds of East Berliners died trying to cross it.

· America complained, but did not try to take it down – it was not worth a war.

· Tension grew: both sides started nuclear testing in the years after the wall was built.

· The West became more openly anti-communist- the US President Kennedy openly made speeches criticising the building of the wall.

· The Wall became a symbol in the West of Communist tyranny.

The Wall in Numbers

Total Length: 155 km

Concrete segment wall height: 3.6 m (12 ft)

Concrete segment wall length: 106 km (66 mi)

Wire mesh fencing: 66.5 km (41.3 mi)

Number of watch towers: 132

Number of Guards: 10,000


SOURCES only looking.’

‘The wall is the most obvious and vivid demonstration of the failures of the communist system, all the world can see, and we take no satisfaction in it. For it is an offense not only against humanity, separating families, dividing husbands and wives and brothers and sisters and dividing a people who wished to be joined together!’

An extract from John F. Kennedy’s speech in 1963. It was delivered in Berlin and broadcast around the world.

‘The Americans use West Berlin as a base for recruiting spies, sabotage and starting riots. The wall will keep East Germany safe.’

The Russian government’s explanation of the Wall written in 1961. It was printed in newspapers for East Germans to read.

A British cartoon from the Daily Sketch paper from 1961. It shows the two sides as not really wanting to fight.

The figure in the centre is saying ‘I’m Charlie- I was only looking.’

(This is a joke as Charlie was the name of the Checkpoint)

A British cartoon from the Daily Mail newspaper from 1961. It shows the two sides at Checkpoint Charlie, a crossing point between the two sides. It is trying to demonstrate how quickly things could turn into near war.

A British cartoon from the Evening Standard newspaper from 1961. It shows Kennedy, The US president, on the left blocked from entering Berlin whilst Khruschev, the Soviet leader, watches on the right hand side.


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