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The Berlin Wall. Samantha Wong. Timeline 1948 - 1990. Berlin blockade and airlift. Millions of people moved from East Germany to West Germany. All crossing points are closed for West Berlin Citizens. November 9, the Berlin wall is torn down. Reagan asks Gorbachev to tear down the wall.

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the berlin wall

The Berlin Wall

Samantha Wong

timeline 1948 1990
Timeline1948 - 1990

Berlin blockade and airlift

Millions of people moved from East Germany to West Germany

All crossing points are closed for West Berlin Citizens

November 9, the Berlin wall is torn down

Reagan asks Gorbachev to tear down the wall

Prague Spring

The border between East and West Germany is closed but the border between East and West Berlin is still open

-August 13, the Berlin Wall is built

-Bay of Pigs

October 3, Germany is reunited

Cuban Missile Crisis










what happened
What Happened
  • At Yalta Conference in 1945, the four countries, France, Britain, the USSR and the US agreed that Germany and the city of Berlin should be split. In 1948 France, Britain and the US merged their zones to form one unit. Stalin decided it would be safer and chose to keep his part separate.

A map of the division of Germany (A Concrete Curtain)

Life in West Berlin and West Germany was of a much better standard as they were financially helped by the US through the Marshall Plan. In East Berlin, Stalin set up his communist system and the people were faced with repressions. Russians were embarrassed at the poverty and poorness compared to West Germany and from 1949 to1961 millions of Germans were escaping to West Germany.

Above: Germans fleeing from Berlin, 1961. (Huning)

Left: The building is right in between the border. The doors are locked up but escape is still possible through the windows. (Huning)


A Map of Berlin

Berlin Wall

Wall separating West Berlin with GDR

In 1952 the border between East and West Germany was closed, so the citizens instead fled to West Berlin, where they could then escape to West Germany.

On August 13, 1961 Walter Ulbricht the leader of the East German Communist Party signed the papers to build the wall, preventing citizens to leave.

(A Concrete Curtain)


Access Between the Berlins

1 - Checkpoint Charlie2 - Heinrich-Heine-Strasse3 - Bornholmer Strasse4 - Chausseestrasse5 - Invalidenstrasse6 - Oberbaumbrücke7 - Sonnenallee8 - Friedrichstrasse Station

Roads out of West Berlin

(A Concrete Curtain)

East Germany was losing many of its skilled workers and built the wall to stop the immigration to West Berlin.

Once the wall was up, the only way to get into West Berlin was through checkpoints, the most famous being Checkpoint Charlie.

A photo of Checkpoint Charlie, 1987 (Rose)

Gunter Schabowski announced that East Germans were allowed to travel into West Germany and was to go into effect immediately.

The East Germans gathered to crossing points in the wall, and the guards, not knowing what to do and not given instructions, let the Germans through.

Breaking down the Wall. (A Concrete Curtain)

Bornholmer Strasse crossing point where the first East Berliners came over the Wall on November 9th. (A Concrete Curtain)

The Berlin Wall illustrates the mistrust between the USSR and the US.
  • The Russians believed that the US was trying to make Germany dependant on the US.
  • East Germany wanted “to stop the hostile activities of the revanchist and militaristic forces of West Germany." (Retracing)
  • Khrushchev wanted West Berlin to turn into a “demilitarized free city.”
  • They built the wall not only to stop people from leaving, but because they felt East Germans were being exploited by the West.

The picture shows a money changer, cigarette store and movie theater. Without the people of East Germany to exploit, these places in West Germany have gone bankrupt. (German Propaganda)


Here, one of the East German border crossers is working as a maid for a West Berlin family. The maid is saying: "This time, gracious lady, I could only bring along sixteen sticks of butter. The food supply situation keeps getting worse for us in the East.“

(German Propaganda Archive)

A major problem was the differences in currency in Germany. The exchange rate was 4:1 and so West Germans could buy things more cheaply in East Germany.


key people
Key People
  • Walter Ulbricht
    • The leader of the East German Communist Party
    • Signed the command to build the Berlin Wall

(A Concrete Curtain)

key people11
Key People
  • Nikita Khrushchev
    • Leader after Stalin’s death
    • Became premier in 1958
    • Wanted US out of Berlin
    • Approved closing the borders between East and West Germany and the Wall

Kennedy and Khrushchev June 1961. (United)

key people12
Key People
  • John F. Kennedy
    • Sent in airlifts to bring food and supplies
    • Conflict with Khrushchev about Berlin
    • Gave his captivating speech “Ich bin ein Berliner”


key people13
Key People
  • Ronald Reagan
    • 1987, appealed to Soviet premier Mikhail Gorbachev to the tear down the Wall

Reagan and Mikhail Gorbachev talking in the White House, December 1987. (Becoming Free)


1. Why did East Germany build the Berlin Wall?

2. Name two important people that contributed to the Berlin Wall and what they did.

works cited
Works Cited

A Concrete Curtain. Dutch History Museum Berlin. 20 Sept. 1999. 16 May 2004. <>

Andreas. The Origins and Politics of the Berlin Wall. 28 March 2004. 16 May 2004. < more.html>

Becoming Free. Freedom a History of US. PBS. 2004. 16 May 2004. <>

Burkhardt, Heiko. Berlin Wall Online. Daily Soft. 2004. 16 May 2004. <>

Bytwerk, Randall. German Propaganda Archive. Calvin College. 16 May 2004. <>

Cold War. CNN. 1998. 16 May 2004. <>

Huning, Philipp and Antje Stephan. Berline 1945. John F. Kennedy. 16 May 16, 2004. <http://homepages.uni->

Retracing the Berlin Wall. 16 May 2004. <>

Rose, Brian. The Lost Border. 16 May 2004. <>

The Berlin Wall. MSNBC. 1998. 16 May 2004. <>

United States History. McMaster University. 16 May 2004. <>

Walsh, Ben. “Modern World History.” John Murray Publishers. London. 1996.