What War Was the Berlin Wall Built In?

by | Mar 7, 2024 | Bar Crawl Berlin

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The Berlin Wall, a symbol of the Cold War era, was built during a time that followed the end of World War II. However, it was not constructed during a war itself. In this article, we will explore the historical background, key events, and reasons behind the construction of the Berlin Wall.

Background of the Berlin Wall

After World War II, Germany was divided into four zones occupied by the victorious Allied powers: the United States, Soviet Union, United Kingdom, and France. The occupied zones eventually became West Germany (Federal Republic of Germany) and East Germany (German Democratic Republic).

The Cold War and the Division of Germany

The relationship between the United States and the Soviet Union deteriorated after World War II, leading to the start of the Cold War. The ideological differences between the capitalist West and communist East resulted in the division of Germany.

As tensions escalated, people in East Germany began fleeing to West Germany, seeking better opportunities and freedom. To stop the mass migration, the German Democratic Republic (GDR) and the Soviet Union decided to build a physical barrier between East and West Berlin.

Construction of the Berlin Wall

The construction of the Berlin Wall began on August 13, 1961. It was a combination of concrete walls, barbed wire fences, and watchtowers that stretched for 155 kilometers (96 miles) through the city, completely encircling West Berlin.

The wall was heavily guarded, with armed soldiers authorized to use lethal force to prevent anyone from crossing. This separation disrupted families and communities, causing immense emotional and physical distress.

Reasons for Building the Berlin Wall

Several reasons prompted the construction of the Berlin Wall:

  • 1. Security: East Germany and the Soviet Union were concerned about spies and the influence of Western culture permeating into East Germany.
  • 2. Economic Reasons: East Germany faced a significant brain drain as skilled labor and professionals were leaving for the better opportunities in West Germany.
  • 3. Ideological Divide: The construction of the wall further solidified the division between the communist East and capitalist West. It aimed to assert the power and superiority of the Communist Party.

Impact and Fall of the Berlin Wall

The Berlin Wall stood as a physical representation of the Iron Curtain, separating families, friends, and cultures. However, over time, it became a symbol of oppression and a reminder of the division within Germany.

In 1989, massive protests erupted in East Germany demanding political reforms and the freedom of movement. Faced with mounting pressure, the East German government finally allowed its citizens to cross the border on November 9, 1989. The fall of the Berlin Wall was celebrated worldwide as a victory for freedom and a symbol of the end of the Cold War.

The Reunification of Germany

The fall of the Berlin Wall paved the way for the reunification of Germany. On October 3, 1990, East Germany officially merged with West Germany, and the country was reunified.


The Berlin Wall was not built during a war but rather as a response to the geopolitical tensions of the Cold War. Its construction aimed to prevent mass migration from East to West Germany. The fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989 brought about significant changes, leading to the reunification of Germany and marking the end of the Cold War era.

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What War Was the Berlin Wall Built In?