The Berlin Wall

-Sneha Khatuwala 11B

There are many significant events which took place in history and the present-day events are also shaping our world history. Man has continued to evolve right from the stone age to the invention of paper and wheel, discovery of fire, invention of the light bulb and many more such discoveries. Historic events like the wars fought and building of dynasties also shape our history. We hear stories about all the destruction which occurred during wars, how people were oppressed by the powerful and how they finally united and fight their oppressors. One such event was the FALL OF THE BERLIN WALL in 1989. 

So, if I could witness any one event in history, I would choose to be present on the evening of November 9th, 1989 to see the berlin wall coming down. 

As World War II came to an end in 1945, Allied peace conferences were held to determine the fate of Germany’s territories. They split the defeated nation into four “allied occupation zones”: The eastern part of the country went to the Soviet Union (Russia), while the western part went to the United States, Great Britain and France. Berlin was split into East Berlin which was controlled by Russia and West Berlin which was controlled by the allied powers. 

Communism prevailed in East Berlin which gave no freedom to the people. whereas in West Berlin the living conditions were better. The Russians were embarrassed because many people from the East moved to the West to improve their livelihood. Nearly 3 million people migrated which also included young skilled workers like doctors, engineers and teachers thereby causing brain drain. To prevent this, the Russians built a wall called THE BERLIN WALL in 1961 on the border of East and West Berlin. The official purpose of this Berlin Wall was to keep so-called Western “fascists” from entering East Berlin and undermining the socialist state, but it primarily served the objective of reducing mass defections from East to West. Before the wall was built people could freely travel between East and West Berlin but later it became impossible. As a result, many families were separated.  Anyone who tried to scale the wall and escape was shot dead. They dug tunnels, rammed cars into the less fortified part of the wall, people jumped out of windows of buildings which faced West Berlin, used hot air balloons in hopes of crossing the wall and reaching west berlin. Modifications were also made to the wall to prevent further escape. Many people were either killed by guards or they died trying to escape. Many peaceful protests were held and on November 4th half a million people gathered to protest. 

Finally on 9th November it was announced that the restrictions on travel between the East and West were removed. East Berliners swarmed the checkpoints between the East and West Berlin demanding the guards to open the gates. Since the guards were heavily outnumbered and were unable to hold back the huge crowd of people, they opened the gates. As they swarmed through, they were greeted by the west waiting with flowers and champagne to rejoice. Families were united. I would have loved to be present at this time to see the joy on people’s faces both from East Berlin and West Berlin.

 Some crossed freely into West Berlin, while others brought hammers and picks and began to chip away at the wall itself. More than 2 million people from East Berlin visited West Berlin that weekend to participate in a celebration that was, one journalist wrote, “the greatest street party in the history of the world.” People used hammers and picks to knock away chunks of the wall–they became known as “mauerspechte,” or “wall woodpeckers”—while cranes and bulldozers pulled down section after section. Soon the wall was gone, and Berlin was united for the first time since 1945.

After WW2 ended, bombs stopped being released, ships stopped getting sunk, and therefore the war was over. But it did not actually end. The separation of Berlin by a wall into East berlin and West berlin started a new silent war called the cold war. Yes, there were no bombs being released but people were still getting killed because they wanted freedom. The wall which stood dividing Berlin became a symbol for the want of freedom. 

As a person from a free country freedom is the most important thing for me. I wanted to be present on that day to see the happy faces of the people who had finally gotten their freedom after many years of struggle. To get to witness such a historic event would have been incredible. The wall represented the lack of freedom and only when the wall came down, the people got their freedom. Although the World War ended in 1945 but it completely ended in 1989.