• 13 Aug. 1961
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Building the Berlin Wall

After the Second World War, the Allied forces (France, the United Kingdom, the United States, and the Soviet Union) occupied Germany and its capital, Berlin.

When the Soviet Union imposed the Berlin Blockade in 1948, major tensions between the Western Allies and the Soviet Union came to light. Fear of the Communist regime led increasing numbers of East Germans to emigrate to West Germany. Between 1949 and 1961, around three million citizens of the German Democratic Republic (GDR) travelled through Berlin to the Federal Republic of Germany (FRG).

For the GDR, the failure of the planned economy imposed by Moscow, coupled with the flight of its workers and trafficking of goods between East and West, posed a major economic problem.

The decision was taken to build a Wall. Work began in the early hours of 13 August 1961.

The Berlin Wall became the symbol of the Cold War and a tangible manifestation of the world’s separation into two distinct ideological blocs.