The Berlin Crisis

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By 1961, Berlin had long been a symbol of autonomy and endurance to Communist expansionism during the Cold War. The beginning stages of the Berlin crisis began in 1945, which marked the end of World War Two. Amid the ruins of Germany, the country was divided into four administrative sectors, one for each of the three victorious combatants, the United States, the Soviet Union, Britain, and by special dispensation the French. Berlin, as a capital city, was divided similarly into four subdivisions. As a result of being situated entirely within the Soviet Sector, Berlin provided an ongoing inferno in the developing enmity between the Soviet Union and the West. However, by 1948, tensions began to develop as the Western Allies united their occupation …show more content…
Although Berlin was located within East Germany, the capital remained under joint occupation, and represented an ‘escape hatch’ through which East Germans could head to the thriving West, as a result of the influx of Marshal Aid, to pursue political freedom and a prosperous lifestyle. In June of 1961, President John F. Kennedy travelled to Vienna, Austria, for a summit with Soviet leader Nokia Khrushchev. However, the summit proved unsuccessful, with subtle insinuations from the Soviets regarding the Allies overall access to West Berlin. Prior to this encounter, an estimated 2.5 million Europeans had already ‘emigrated’ to West Germany. A figure that was mostly comprised of well educated, sturdy young men. This in turn undermined the government, and even Khrushchev had begun joking that “soon there [would be] no one left in the GDR except Ulbricht (the German Communist leader) and his mistress.” In order to maintain a functioning sector, on the night of August 12- 1961, a low barbed wire wall was placed between East and West Berlin, splitting the city in two, and dividing thousands of families as a result. This “Wall Of Shame”, allegedly, was erected to protect its population from fascist elements conspiring to prevent the “will of the people” in building a Socialist State in East Germany. In practice however, the Wall served to prevent the massive emigration and defection associated within the sector. As a result, the impact of the population left 5,000 people attempting to escape over the wall, with 136-200 people dying in the process. Furthermore, the impact of the construction came as a devastating blow to the German populace. Despite the brutal revelation of the wall itself, the idea of reunification now seemed impossible. Although The United Sates and its allies could do very little to counteract the deposition of the wall, President Kennedy ordered substantial increases

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