Master Outline: Berlin Wall, Past and Present
  • Home
  • Events Leading Up to the Building
  • Building of the Wall
  • Escape Tactics
  • Leading to the Fall
  • Fall of the Wall
  • Master Outline
  • Bibliography
  • Expand Menu For More Items

    What Do You Think?



    Master Outline

    Click on links for more information.

    I. Events Leading Up to the Building of the Berlin Wall

    A. External

    1. Divisions

    a) US, Britain, France, Russia

    b) Divided "Germany" into Four sectors

    (1) Each under control of country

    (2) US, Britain, and France's formed a democratic state

    (a) Federal Republic of Germany (West Germany)

    (b) October 7, 1949

    (3) Soviet part became a communist state

    (a) German Democratic Republic (East Germany)

    (b) October 7, 1949

    c) Winston Churchill called division "Iron Curtain"

    2. Berlin the City

    a) Deep within Soviet area

    b) Allies thought unfair for Soviet to have the large city

    c) Divided city into 4 sectors

    (1) Allies joined their three parts together

    (a) West Berlin

    (b) Completely surrounded by Soviet land

    (2) Soviet part

    (a) East Berlin

    (b) Capital of East Germany

    B. Internal

    1. Soviet Sabotage

    a) 10 week period while Berlin was solely occupied by Russia

    b) Removed machinery from Berlin to Russia

    (1) 85% of Berlin's machinery taken

    (2) Machinery, telephone exchanges, buses, street cars

    (3) Almost everything not destroyed during bombing

    c) Immediately set up city government

    (1) Under an Appointed Magistrate

    (2) Main executive body was mostly Russian communists

    (3) Russians permeated the Berlin police force

    2. Exodus from East Germany

    a) About 160,000 refugees went to west Germany between January and August of 1961

    b) People disliked economic situation

    (1) Most productive communist country in eastern Europe

    (2) Forced to work on collective state owned farms

    (3) Private trade outlawed

    (4) No private ownership of land

    c) Social Deficiencies

    (1) Food Shortages

    (2) Supply shortages

    (a) Personal

    (b) Commercial

    (3) Standard of Living Differences

    (a) More freedom of movement in West

    (b) More economic chances and freedom

    (c) Greater Control over own government

    II. Building of the Berlin Wall

    A. Reasons for building

    1. Stop movement of people from own country

    a) Exodus was causing depletion of work force

    B. Hours Leading up to the Building

    1. Saturday, August 12

    2. Under leadership of Erich Honecker

    3. Very Secretive

    a) Only about 20 top level leaders knew anything

    b) Others were told they were "exercises"

    c) No code word was ever issued

    d) Minimal written down

    (1) Only hand written

    (2) Single Person

    4. Ways to minimize reaction and chance of war

    a) East Germany army units standing ready

    b) Bi-lingual Soviet-German staff to "trivialize" the actions

    c) Made actions look like local police initiative

    (1) Looked like crowd control

    (2) 10,000 Person front line was People's Police and the Riot Police

    (3) Assisted by militia known as Battle Groups of the Working Class

    (a) Chose as most visible armed section of movement

    (b) Seemed less warlike than regular army

    C. Implication to the citizens of East Germany

    1. No movement between East Germany and West Germany

    2. Restricted almost all movement out of country

    D. Specifications of wall

    1. At first

    a) Barbed wire

    b) Armed guards

    2. After final fortification

    a) Dimensions

    (1) 107 km long

    (2) 4 m high at most locations

    (3) Concrete wall section with concrete tube placed on top

    (4) Lighted control area

    (a) People who reached this area were shot without warning

    (b) This is where most people were caught

    (5) A deep trench in ground to prevent vehicles from breaking through

    (6) Patrol track with guard towers, attack dogs, and bunkers

    (7) Then a second wall

    b) Cut through 192 streets

    III. Escape Attempts

    A. Tunnel System

    1. Large network

    2. Dug mostly by students

    3. First successful tunnel was dug in a grave yard

    a) People brought flowers to mourn and dropped into the tunnel

    b) Tunnel was found after a women accidentally dropped into the tunnel and leaving her baby carriage behind

    4. The most successful was in the basement of the house at 60 Westerstrasse

    a) 29 people were freed from here alone

    B. Flying over the wall

    1. Families of Wetzels and Strlzycks secretly purchased many small amounts of nylon cloth

    2. Built a small hot air balloon

    3. Flew over the wall and landed in West Germany

    4. Because of this purchase of light weight cloths were strictly controlled

    C. Climbing over the wall

    1. Many tried to climb over the wall

    2. The sale of twine and rope were outlawed

    3. Peter Fetcher, age 18, tried to climb over on August 17, 1962

    a) He was shot down and left to bleed to death

    4. The last person to get killed attempting to climb the wall was Chris Gueffroy

    5. Over 5000 people tried to escape

    a) 100 died in the attempt

    b) Most were shot by guards in the act

    IV. Events leading up to the fall of the wall

    A. First step

    1. Hungary opened its borders to Western Europe

    2. Movement between communist countries is freely allowed

    3. This allowed East Germans access to West Germany

    B. Protests

    1. Every Monday in the East German city of Leipzig

    a) Very large numbers

    b) Pressured government into many reforms

    V. The fall of the Berlin Wall

    A. November 9, 1989 at about 7 PM

    B. Gunter Schabowski

    1. Leader of the East Berlin communist party

    2. Announced that the border would be opened for "private trips abroad"

    a) Massive gatherings at the wall

    b) Wall "woodpecker" started tearing down wall almost immediately

    c) Massive emigration of East Berliners to West Berlin

    C. November 10, 1989 and December 22, 1989

    1. Checkpoints were opened for pedestrians

    2. Again parties broke out

    D. July 1, 1990

    1. East and West Germany reunited

    2. Assumed West Germany's former name, The Federal Republic of Germany

    3. All Restrictions on travel between East and West Germany were dropped

    4. The wall was taken down except for a few areas

    a) At the Bernauer Strasse

    b) In front of the Neiderkirchnerstrasse (former Prussian Parliament and current Berlin Parliament)


    (c) 2000 Nathan Wolski All pictures and graphics are reproduced with permission of owners and are under copyright of there respective owners.