Berlin Wall Essay

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A symbol of oppression for the German people, the Berlin Wall was a barrier that separated the city of Berlin in both the physical and metaphorical form of the word. Officially designated the “Anti-Fascist Protection Rampart” by the government of the German Democratic Republic, the wall split the city of Berlin into two segments. One half was controlled by the Soviet Union and the other half of Berlin was administered by an alliance of the three Western allied powers, comprised of the United Kingdom, the United States and France. Claimed by the German Democratic Republic to be a defense against “fascist elements” that could undermine the construction of a socialist state, the wall’s real purpose was to prevent the defection of the citizens …show more content…
Independence was a thing that many citizens wanted to obtain, however such actions to do so were swiftly put down by government forces. Rather than staying put, many citizens in the German Democratic Republic believed that it was in their best interests to cross over the border into the West. Using the border between the separate occupation zones to their favour, large numbers of GDR citizens averaging 180,000 per year until 1953 defected to the German Federal Republic. Prompted by the ever increasing oppressive nature of the Soviet Union and the paranoid measures taken by Joseph towards the occupied GDR, the emigration rate grew to a number of 335,000 in the year 1953 alone. Seeing this number as very damaging and unsustainable to the economy of the German Democratic Republic, the Soviet Union prompted their East German counterparts to tighten control over their borders. Joseph Stalin ordered very strict control over the border towards the GDR leadership, stating “The demarcation line between East and West Germany should be considered a border—and not just any border, but a dangerous one” . The border between the West and East Germany was locked down with a large barbed-wire fence with guard towards interspersed throughout, in response to the Soviet command. Despite this, the border between West and East Berlin was not sealed off, however citizens had to apply for and carry a pass whenever they needed to cross the border. This pass system would do little to stem the number of defections. Throughout the next decade, the German Democratic Republic increased the number of restrictions on travel, taking actions such as enacting a new passport law and limiting visas given for the purposes of travel. Travel between West and East Berlin was much less restrictive. Even though heavy

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