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The Fall of the Berlin Wall, Research Paper Example

Pages: 4

Words: 1074

Research Paper

After World War II, Germany was divided amongst the allied powers. It served as the physical embodiment of harsh feelings between the United States and the Soviet Union during the Cold War. At the Potsdam Conference, it was decided that the Allied Powers would divide up Germany, each taking control of their respective territory. The agreement was made civilly, but the cooperation between the nations could not last. Soon tensions began to rise, and the division of Germany became less like a compromise, and more like a competition. After the construction of the Berlin Wall, Germany was split up into two parts: East Germany, which was controlled by the Soviet Union and represented communist control, and West Germany, dominated by the United States, Great Britain, and France, which displayed the ideals of democracy. The Berlin Wall stood for 28 years, and its destruction was both an international celebration, and a symbol of the United State’s triumph in the Cold War (Rosenberg). The era of the Berlin Wall represents a period of unease and conflict in international affairs, and its destruction was sorely bought.

After World War II, the occupants of East Germany began to flee to West Germany in large numbers. Comparatively, West Germany, controlled by democratic nations, was much more lenient and preferable than harsh, communist controlled East Germany (Rosenberg). The Berlin Wall was therefore constructed in the night to keep the occupants of East Germany contained on their prospective side of the country. The construction of the wall separated families and friends for nearly three decades. It cut a country in two, allowed virtually no travel and commerce between the two halved of the country, and caused unrest around the world (“Berlin Wall”). The Communist-dominated Eat Germany forced citizens to live in harsh conditions, and made it all but impossible for them to flee to West Germany. The Berlin Wall was extremely detrimental to German Citizens, but was also viewed as a sizeable issue for national affairs around the world, especially in light of the already high tensions between the United States and the Soviet Union during the Cold War.

After years of leading from the rest of the world, the Berlin Wall was finally demolished on November 9th, 1989 (Rosenberg). In his iconic 1987 speech, Ronald Reagan himself implored East Germany to “tear down this wall” (Sarotte). Just as the Wall had gone up in the night, its destruction was just as dramatic. Citizens from all over Germany gathered at the wall and began to chip away at the dreaded structure piece by piece, these everyday citizens uniting to tear down the treacherous wall were lovingly nicknamed “wall woodpeckers” for the way they used hammers and other small tools to slowly whittle away at the wall. Bulldozers tore away at the wall while people spray-painted political messages on its surface. Only when so many citizens could come together in the common mission of destroying the wall that had caused so many problems and heartache could it be destroyed. The fall of the wall caused international uproar. In Berlin, family members who had been separated for nearly three decades were able to reunite, and the rest of the world celebrated the triumph of democracy over communism, and therefore the United State’s victory over the Soviet Union in the Cold War. While it took nearly a year for the destruction of the wall to be officially, politically accepted, the iconic day in 1989 marked a change in international affairs, as well as the conditions in post World War II Germany (“Berlin Wall”).

After the “wall woodpeckers” succeeded in tearing down the Berlin Wall, Germany was able to unite both physically and politically. On July 1st, 1990, the sanctions made by the wall were truly reversed, as the union between East and West Germany was made official. All of the travel and commerce restrictions enacted by the wall and meticulously enforced by the Soviet Union were dropped, and the country was whole again. The wall that had stood so menacingly tall for so many years, all but disappeared. Currently, there are markers and memorials on the spot that the dreaded wall once occupied. However, the wall was miraculously demolished beyond recognition almost immediately after its initial fall. This determination of dispose of the imposing structure shows the depth of its burden on society (“Fall of the Berlin Wall”). While the Berlin Wall stood, it represented segregation and the systematic repression of the German people. Once the physical wall fell, however, the healing process for the German Nation was expedient and done with zeal. The entire world watched with glory was the nation once so viciously separated was allowed to unite once again.

Perhaps the most intriguing detail of the separation of Germany into Eastern and Western halves is the fact that the agreement began so civilly. Directly at the end of the war, when the Allied nations gathered to discuss the separation of Germany in order to take responsibility for the nation shaken greatly by the Second World War, they were able to discuss respectfully and agree on the divisions relatively easily. This attitude shifted swiftly, however, as the tensions created by the Cold War bred feelings of competitiveness and hostility between the two German halves. The world watched in horror as Soviet-controlled Germany constructed a wall that essentially cut off its occupants from escaping to the Western half of Germany. The wall severed families and friendships. Travel and commerce between the two sides were stamped out for nearly thirty years, and the separation took its toll on the occupants, and on the rest of the world that was forced to watch this unjust separation. It took many years of tensions boiling and nations pleading for the destruction of the wall to finally spark the people to rise up together against oppression and destroy the wall. The Berlin Wall represents a rocky time in human history, where the world was pulled between Communism and Democracy, and the occupants of Germany paid the price for this conflict. The destruction of the Berlin Wall represented a shift in international sentiments, and allowed Germany to finally begin healing from the war.

Resources

“Berlin Wall.” History.com. A&E Television Networks, 2015. Web. <http://www.history.com/topics/cold-war/berlin-wall>.

“Fall of the Berlin Wall.” Cold War Museum. Web. <http://www.coldwar.org/articles/80s/fall_berlin_wall.asp>.

Rosenberg, Jennifer. “The Berlin Wall.” About Education. 2015. Web. <http://history1900s.about.com/od/coldwa1/a/berlinwall.htm>.

Sarotte, Mary Elise. “How the Fall of the Berlin Wall Really Happened.” The New York Times. The New York Times, 07 Nov. 2014. Web. <http://www.nytimes.com/2014/11/07/opinion/how-the-berlin-wall-really-fell.html>.

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