The Berlin Wall – August 13, 1961

Early in the morning on August 13, 1961, workers began tearing up the cobblestone and asphalt along the sector boundaries across Berlin. They began erecting concrete pillars and barbed-wire barricades, while units of the the Volkspolizei – the People’s Police – kept the angry people in the eastern sector in check with machine guns.

The residents of West Berlin watched these events with shocked disbelief. The mayor of West Berlin, Willy Brandt, ordered an emergency session of the West Berlin City Senate and issued an appeal to the international community to stop the division of their city and country by the Stalinists. The government of West Germany in Bonn, under then-chancellor Adenauer, appealed to the West-Germans to stay calm and not to provoke any incidents.

For the East German Stalinist government under Walter Ulbricht, sealing off West Berlin was the final effort to stop the exodus of farmers and workers from the “Farmer’s and Worker’s State.” In the preceding months they had fortified the border between the two German states. As they began surrounding West Berlin with barbed wire, they were plugging the last hole through which thousands of people fled to the West every day. The 24 hours preceding the start of the construction of the Berlin Wall, 2,400 people had registered in the refugee camp in Berlin -Marienfelde alone. Up to that day, almost 2.5 million people had fled the Stalinist regime in East Germany.

The fortified border between East and West Germany, including the Wall surrounding Berlin, cost the lives of hundreds of people in the next 28 years. On November 9, 1989, the East German government started opening the border and allowing some travel of East Germans to the West. In the next two days, thousands of East Germans rushed to the border, and in West Berlin some started applying sledgehammers to the concrete barriers. On November 11, the first concrete segment of the Wall fell, and the border posts were overrun by East Germans. This was the end of the Wall, and the beginning of the end of the divided Germany.

[Source: Chronik der Mauer (in Geman)]

One Response to “The Berlin Wall – August 13, 1961”

  1. Nurit Hailey Says:

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