top of page

The Berlin Wall

From 1961 to 1989 the lives of Berliners was governed by which side of the wall they lived on

After the collapse of the Nazi Regime in 1945, control of Germany was distributed amongst the 4 main opposition forces: Britain, USA, France and USSR.

In 1949, the German nation was split into two countries with the lines designed along political ideologies: the Federal Republic of Germany "FDR" also referred to as West Germany as it was allied to the 'western' and democratic powers of USA, Britain and France; and the German Democratic Republic "GDR" or "East Germany" allied to the USSR. This divide also applied to the former capital and largest city, Berlin.

As the Cold War between USA and USSR ramped up, the divide between East and West became more stark and more controlled. Millions of Germans, including large numbers of academics, professionals and skilled workers who were dissatisfied with conditions in the East left for the freedom of the West. This exodus threatened the viability of the East German state.

On 13 August, 1961 Berliners awoke to a changed landscape. Overnight the Soviets had erected barricades and barbed wire fences and effectively trapping Berlin's citizens into one regime or the other.


bottom of page