If one is to think of the Cold War, the Berlin Wall is one of the first things that is bound to come to mind. It became one of the symbols and rightfully so – it divided a country and a city. Moreover, it divided the entire world between two super powers – the US and the USSR. The wall represents a bitter period in history for Germany for it creates many tragedies – from families separated as it seemed then forever to numerous deaths of people trying to crossover in their run from the totalitarian Soviet system.

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The premises for the construction of the dividing line between two Germanys became evident in the immediate post-war period. The relations between former allies – USSR, the US, Britain, and France started deteriorating rather quickly after victory, the common goal, was achieved. The issues of radically ideologies and regimes began the most important factors again. The Soviet Union had no more sense in maintaining friendly relationships with the United States and other allies. To detract the attention of the populace from various problems, creating an outsider enemy is an effective strategy to keep everyone subjugated and pacified.

After the War was over, Berlin and Germany were immediately divided. The city was dissected into four sectors divided between the United States, the Soviet Union, France, and the United Kingdom. Three sectors belonging to the western block were soon united into one. Western Berlin remained a piece of Western Germany even though it was deep within the Eastern Germany territory (Miller 4-5). As long as the relations between the Soviet Union and the rest of the allies were becoming worse, control over Western Berlin was tightened to a point that it was put under severe blockade in 1948. The manoeuvre was done in the attempt to drive the Western forces away from Berlin for good. The strategy turned out to be unsuccessful because constant aircraft flights with food and other resources ensured that the Western half of the city would not be cast into humanitarian catastrophe. The blockade was removed in 1949.

For the next subsequent decade, there was nothing to indicate that the relations would become much worse. There was a sense of a not stable, but prolonged relative peace. Towards the 1950s, everything went into a worse direction. The Soviet Union was dissatisfied with the huge flow of immigrants. Between the lift of the blockade in 1949 and the demolition of the wall in 1989, approximately 2,5 million Eastern Germans moved to FRG in search of a better life. Hardly anyone liked the totalitarian way of life, Stasi (equivalent of KGB in Eastern Germany), the way people had to comply with numerous limitations. This silent factual protest of people annoyed the Soviet Union to no end. So, a decision was made by Khrushchev to close the borders so that not one more citizen could cross.

The process started on August 13th, 1961. Soldiers started erecting a concrete wall interspersed with barbed wire. Initially, there was still a chance to cross over even though the soldiers were already standing at the border line and were not supposed to let anyone in. After the construction of the wall, there were only three points in the city through which one could go through without the danger of being shot on sight: checkpoints Alpha, Bravo, and Charlie. The construction of the wall happened so swiftly that the people did not realize at first the scale of the tragedy. Soon, however, realization came that chances to meet either with the family or the loved ones on the other side has become minimal.

The wall remained standing strong until 1989 without any changes. 171 people perished at the wall trying to traverse the border. While there were still limited means of going through such as the sewers or by air – going through fortifications was impossible. Floodlights, special big pipe at the top to make climbing over impossible, hostile specially trained dogs and patrollers who shot on sight ensured that the border remained impenetrable in most cases. This was a solution that worked, nonetheless, even though it brought immense torture to the people of Germany. Aside from the Caribbean crisis and other less significant points of conflict, the situation became stabilized worldwide. The Soviet Union was pleased that the people had little to no chances left to escape. The United States and allies accepted the compromise with the idea that such a division hurting a significant amount of people is better than World War III.

The wall crumbled simultaneously with the Soviet Union that started falling apart in 1989 when many Eastern European countries started the process of separation. On November 9th, an announcement was made that the border was open and the people had complete freedom in crossing over. Vast quantities of people headed out. Many millions crossed through checkpoints that day. People climbed the wall and started destroying it bit by bit. The wall disappeared as suddenly as it appeared.

The Berlin Wall was a metaphorical frontier between the two super powers on the planet. It was not only a token of division but also a symbol of stability that allowed for no escalation of the conflict and yet no end to it. It is the ultimate symbol of the Cold War.