Q11. Explain the significance of The Berlin Wall in Cold War.
The Berlin Wall was both the physical division between West Berlin and East Germany from 1961 to 1989 and the symbolic boundary between democracy and Communism during the Cold War.
As Potsdam Conference allies divided Germany in four zones and the same was done with Germany’s capital city, Berlin. Berlin had been situated entirely within the Soviet zone of occupation and West Berlin became an island of democracy within Communist East Germany.
West’s control of West Berlin, situated in the middle of East Germany posed many problems for both superpowers. Berlin’s Soviet blockade in 1948 was overcome by West by massive air lift of supplies and land corridors were reopened by Soviets.
In 1949 the three zones occupied by West were combined to form West Germany (the Federal Republic of Germany) and zone occupied by the Soviet Union into East Germany (the German Democratic Republic).
Through Marshall plan USA had pumped in huge amount of capital in West Berlin and it had much better standard of living than East Germany and lure of a better lifestyle caused a exodus of East Germans to defect to the West. Having already lost 2.5 million people by 1961, East Germany desperately needed to stop this mass exodus. In August 1961 East Germans built a wall to cut off all access between the two parts of the city. The Berlin Wall separated families for nearly thirty years and stood as the most visible symbol of the Cold War until its fall on November 9, 1989.
The west called the Berlin Wall the “Wall of Shame” and it served to remind those who lived in Berlin that those in the Soviet controlled east lived far inferior lives to those who lived in western Berlin.