The Berlin Wall

  • Created by: elshooper
  • Created on: 15-04-18 10:08

Building the Berlin Wall

  • the four summit meetings of 1959-61 had failed to resolve the problem in Berlin and President Kennedy started to prepare for a nuclear war
  • Khrushchev couldn't risk a nuclear war but needed to solve the refugee problem (2,000 skilled and qualified workers leaving every day)
  • his solution was to build the Berlin Wall in August 1961 to prevent East Berliners travelling to West Berlin
  • 12 August 1961, East German troops erected a barbed wire fence around the city - it eventually became a heavily guarded wall
  • Soviet tanks were deployed to stop Western access to the East
  • October 1961, West Berlin was completely cut off from East Germany
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Why it was built

  • Khrushchev backed down: he knew he couldn't win a nuclear war
  • Western powers stayed in Berlin
  • The Berlin wall was built
  • Anyone who tried to escape was shot at. Many were killed
  • The wall stopped East Germans leaving for the West, which solved the crisis
  • Khrushchev avoided war with the USA and still looked strong
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The impact of the wall

  • solved the refugee problem
  • the number of military alerts in Berlin declined - President Kenned commented that, although not a nice solution, the wall was better than a war
  • wall suggested that the Soviets were no longer interested in unifying Berlin under communist rule as Khrushchev had demanded in 1958
  • a humiliation for the Soviet Union and a propaganda victory for the west - suggested that East Germans preferred living in Capitalist West Germany and had to be forced to remain in Communist East Germany
  • a notorious barrier between the freedom enjoyed in the West and denied in the East - made the west an enduring symbol of freedom: highlighted by the fact that 200 people lost their lives trying to cross the wall
  • Khrushchev mistakenly thought Kennedy had shown weakness allowing the wall to be built - encouraged him to think about deploying missile in Cuba
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Kennedy's visit to West Berlin, 1963

  • Kennedy visited West Berlin and claimed "Ich bin ein Berliner" ("I am a Berliner")
  • The speech was an expression of solidarity with the people of West Berlin - the fact that he chose to visit personally and give his speech demonstrated that the USA and NATO were prepared to defend West Berlin from communist attack
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