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The Berlin Wall

Paper about World History: The Berlin Wall

Apr 7, 2020 at History Essays

Factual Information about The Berlin Wall

The Berlin Wall was built during the Cold War. It was at the time when communists and capitalists had their superiority wars. The US-led capitalists, while the Soviet Union headed communists. Germany was the center of the fight; the two groups had interests in the country. They used their influence to create a difference between them. Communists were stricter than capitalists because they wanted to share and impose their ideas on others. Capitalists, on the other hand, allowed people to move around quickly and even switch to the communist side. The paper will address the issues that transpired leading to the construction of the wall and the effects it had on people on both sides.

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The construction of the wall began on the 3rd of August 1961 to separate the zones occupied by France as well as British and American territories from the area under the Soviet Union control. The reason was in the fact that after the Second World War as agreed by the Potsdam Conference, Germany was split into four parts grounded on the liberating powers in control, namely France, Britain, America (West Germany) and the Soviet Union (East Germany). Berlin, being the capital of Germany and hence the administrative area, was also split into four territories, namely France, Great Britain, and America constituting West Berlin, whereas the Soviet Union controlled the East Berlin (Rosenberg). West Germany (the Federal Republic of Germany) was regarded as democratic, while communism controlled the East (the German Democratic Republic); thus, West Berlin became an island of democracy within the communist area of the Soviet Union.

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Primary Concern

After communists realized that capitalism bore more fruits, they started to move to Western Germany. Consequently, the Soviet Union under the leadership of Joseph Stalin as the president imposed a rule that no person from the communist side would move to the region controlled by capitalists. As a result, the wall was constructed as a sign that the Soviet Union did not want its people to switch to the other side.

Key Players

The main participants in the construction of the Berlin Wall are the US and the Soviet Union. The Berlin Wall was built during the time when the Cold War was at its start. After the Second World War, there rose two superpowers, namely the US and the Soviet Union that wanted their ideas to be spread. The US had its supporters such as Britain and France, and the three nations occupied western Germany. On the other hand, the Soviet Union occupied the eastern side.

Construction of the Berlin Wall

The main reason why the Berlin Wall was constructed was to prevent East Germans from entering West Germany. Before the Berlin Wall was built, there were economic discrepancies between the East and the West. West Germany had established a capitalist society leading to rapid economic growth, whereby its citizens had high living standards. The citizens also had the freedom to conduct business and travel to obtain goods and services. On the other hand, citizens from East Germany who were the members of communist society experienced economic recession and restriction of freedom. As a result, life in East Germany became unbearable for young professionals. Accordingly, most of them moved to the West so that East Germany lost most of its labor force. By 1961, East Germany had approximately lost 2.5 million people, reducing the German Democratic Republic's population by almost 15 percent, and the Soviet Union government noted the crisis and had to search for a way to stop it (Rosenberg). The Soviet Union attempted to capture West Berlin, which was noted to be the main exit point to West Germany, but the United States and other western countries were armed in their defense. As a result, the Berlin Wall was constructed to combat this major crisis of mass exodus to West Germany (Rosenberg).

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The Legal Issues Surrounding the Berlin Wall

Legally, the Berlin Wall can be seen as a suppression of human rights by the Soviet Union government in East Germany. Some of the negative impacts of the Berlin Wall were the division of families and neighborhoods in Berlin, the death of innocent citizens and restriction to freedom of movement.

Official reports state that at least 136 people lost their lives while trying to escape from the East to the West. Individuals who attempted to cross the border from East Germany to the West were regarded as traitors, and the guards at the frontier were instructed to shoot them. On the contrary, those in the West could enter the East as they could obtain a travel permit that allowed weeks of the scheduled travel. It revealed the tyrannical aspect of the communists in the Soviet Union by trying to control the movement of people and shooting those seen as traitors (Taylor).

As it was stated in The Book of Daniel, all societies armed their citizens transforming them into soldiers. Every government stood ready to commit its citizens to death as long as they were serving the government's interests (Doctorow 73). Thus, Daniel, being the son of parents executed by the government, speaks of how the government plays the role of putting its citizens in danger to meet its interests.

Whatever action one takes, there is accountability attached to it, and one has to pay the cost, and the 1951 Rosenberg trial is a good example of this. In fact, Isaacson's trial is well talked about all over the world. Their conviction and execution were not grounded on whether the accused were guilty or not but on the prejudices and tension experienced during that period.

The Fall of the Berlin Wall

The official demolition of the Berlin Wall began on June 13th, 1990, although this had been initiated earlier by loosening border controls between November 9th, 1989 and June 1990, while the former is recorded as the official date of the fall of the Berlin Wall. On July 1st, 1990, all border controls were eliminated, and Germany was finally regarded as one country from October 3rd, 1990 (Williams 63).

Some of the significant positive impacts of the Berlin Wall were such as the performance by David Hasselhoff with his hit song "Looking for Freedom" while he was standing on the Berlin Wall.

Conclusion

The Berlin Wall portrays the dictatorial and self-centered attributes of the Soviet Union government during its reign in East Germany. For the Soviet Union to whitewash its failure in economic progress compared to West Germany, it restricted freedom of movement to its people and penalized anyone who tried to challenge its power. It is portrayed in The Book of Daniel, where Daniel's parents Paul and Rochelle Isaacson were convicted and executed during the Rosenberg trial. It indicates that the same as the construction of the Berlin Wall, the interests of the citizens and the value of justice were not taken into consideration by the powerful and authoritative government. The prejudice and insecurities of the people were clearly manifested by some of the actions of the government as a form of self-defense. It led to a negative impact on the people and the loss of freedom and self-will.

The question, thus, arises as to whether the government rules honestly and represents its population or it violates the very form of justice it is believed to implement.

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