You are on page 1of 1

One war ends ...

another begins
At the end of World War 2 the allied leaders (Winston Churchill, Franklin Roos-
evelt and Joseph Stalin) met at Yalta (above), where they divided Europe into
spheres of inuence and control.
Europe was divided into a capitalist Western Bloc and a communist Eastern Bloc.
World War 2 made way for a war of ideologies, between capitalism and communism.
Both the Western Bloc and the Eastern Bloc tried to spread their inuence around
the world, often through proxy wars in newly independent countries in Africa and
Asia.
Very soon the cooperation of the war period made way for mistrust and a new arms
race. The era of nuclear containment was about to begin - the West and the East
constantly competing to get bigger and better atom bombs. The fear of atomic
attacks created an uneasy peace between the two side.
An iron curtain was raised across Europe. It was the beginning of the Cold War.
When the wall fell
Trying to get out
East Germany had erected a barbed wire border
fence with West Germany in 1952, but the border
running through Berlin remained open.
By 1961, some 3.5 million East Germans (20% of the
population) had left for the West, in search of
freedom and economic opportunities, many through
Berlin. But on Sunday August 13 1961 East German
border guards suddenly put up barbed wire fences
along the border with West Berlin. This would grow
to become the Berlin Wall - an almost impassible
barrier between East and West.
After the wall was built, about 5 000 people tried to
escape over it. Police had orders to shoot escapees.
People had to devise new ways to get out - among
others, they dug tunnels, tried to y over the wall or
hid in cars
West Berlin was
rebuilt quickly,
using money
from the
Marshall Plan
West Berliners had
access to the latest
fashion and technology
The US
inuence
was strong
in the West
East Berlin, even today,
looks different from
West Berlin, because
there was no Marshall
Fund after the war.
Many old facades and
buildings were restored
and remain preserved
The blockade
Between 1948 and
1949, Soviet authorities
closed all access to
West Berlin by land. All
supplies had to be
own in, over DDR
territory. A sign of
rising tension between
East and West
East Germany
developed the
Trabant car, and
Vita Cola, in answer
to the Wests
Coca-Cola and VW
East German youth were members
of the Young Pioneers, a socialist
youth movement
On November 9 1989, exactly 25 years ago, the Berlin Wall, a concrete symbol of the Cold War, fell.
This would signal the beginning of the end of a divided continent and a divided country - Germany
Guards, dogs, watch
towers, several barriers,
land mines and a stretch
of no-mans-land made
crossing the wall a very
difcult task
Sources: The Guardian, The Atlantic, Marquette University (History Department), Der Spiegel, BBC
Lasting
symbols of
the East
Life in East Germany and East
Berlin was drab, without the
temptations of Western
capitalism, but East Germans deed the state in surprising ways.
One was the Freikrpurkultur (FKK), or naturism. The government tried to ban nude
bathing, but this almost caused a riot. For East Germans, nude bathing was a sign of
deance, and a symbol of freedom, of socialist success, where there were no more articial
barriers between people. FKK was and still is very popular in eastern Germany.
Some symbols from the time of the GDR were well loved, such as
the Ampelmnnchen, the symbol used on trafc lights for
pedestrians (right). Today they are even seen in western Germany
It all comes tumbling down
On May 2 1989, after Mikhail Gorbachev declared that Moscow was no longer willing to use
force to prevent democratic transformation of its satellite states, Hungary took down its
iron curtain. East Germans poured out. About 220 000 had passed to the West over six
months. On October 7 East Germanys 40th anniversary
celebration turned into riotous protests against the
current communist regime. On November 9 it was
announced that East Germans could nally move freely
into West Germany. The announcer made a mistake by
saying that the border would be opened immediately.
Thousands of East Germans streamed to the wall, and
border guards could only watch as they crossed
through and over the wall. Ecstatic crowds swarmed
the wall. Some just walked across into West Berlin,
while others brought hammers and picks, and began to
chip away at the wall itself.
The Berlin Wall was almost completely destroyed, with
only small sections remaining. Many cities around the
world now have pieces of the wall, such as Cape Town
(left)
A world still divided by walls
Iron Curtain
1945-1991
6 800km long
Russia
Ukraine
France
Israel and
West Bank
barrier
2000 - ?
Will be
700km long
Israel
West Bank
Melilla (Spain)
and Morocco
(EU land
border with
Africa)
11km long
Melilla
Morocco
USA-Mexico border
3 145km long
North and South Korea
fence along DMZ
250km long - the two Koreas
are ofcially still at war
Mexico
USA
North Korea
South Korea
Morocco-
Western
Sahara
border
2 500km long -
the Moroccan
Wall, made of
sand, separates
Morocco and
areas
controlled
by the
Polisario
Front
HANLIE MALAN and ANDRE GOUWS, Graphics24
When the
barbed wire was
raised in 1961,
this soldier,
Conrad
Schumann (19),
was one of the
last East
Germans to run
across to the
West
In May 1962 12 people
escaped through the
Seniorentunnel. They
were led by an
81-year-old man. They
dug a tunnel for 16days,
froma chicken coop in
the East, to the West.
The tunnel was 1.8m
high, because one of the
escapees said they
wanted to walk upright
to freedomwith their
wives, without having to
bowdown to anyone
3.5m