The Rise and Fall of the Berlin Wall
By: Brandon Wilson
The Berlin Wall was built in the middle of night and for twenty eight years kept East Germans from going to the West. Its destruction, which was nearly as close to its creation, was celebrated around the world.
A Divided Berlin
At the end of World War II, the Allied powers divided Germany into four zones, each occupied by either the United States, Great Britain, France, or the Soviet Union. The same was done with Germany's capital city, Berlin.
As the relationship between the Soviet Union and the other three Allied powers quickly went away, the occupation of Germany turned competitive and aggressive. Although a reestablishment of Germany had been intended, the new relationship between the Allied powers turned Germany into West versus East, Democracy versus Communism.
In 1949, this new organization of Germany became official when the three zones occupied by the United States, Great Britain, and France combined to form West Germany. The zone occupied by the Soviet Union quickly followed by forming East Germany.
This same division into West and East occurred in Berlin. Since the city of Berlin had been situated entirely within the Soviet zone of occupation, West Berlin became an island of democracy within Communist East Germany.
Within a short period of time after the war, living conditions in West Germany and East Germany became very different. With the help of its occupying powers, West Germany set up a capitalist society and experienced such a rapid growth of their economy that it became known as the economic miracle. With hard work, people living in West Germany were able to live well, buy goods, and to travel as they wished.
Nearly the opposite was in East Germany. Since the Soviet Union had viewed their zone as a spoil of war, the Soviets took factory equipment and other valuable assets...