History outline of the Berlin Wall and its effects

The theme for this year’s National History Day is the rights and responsibilities achieved through history. The topic we chose for our project was the Berlin Wall and the life of the people behind it. This will explain what it was like to be behind the communist side of the Berlin Wall – the East side, East Germany (German Democratic Republic) – controlled by Stalin. I believe that it fits this year’s theme because the events of the Berlin Wall explain how the German Democratic Republic was wretched; food shortages, poor housing, low wages, and 25% of the production went into the Soviet Union. The citizens of the East side had no rights and had struggle living. The people were not permitted to leave, and if they tried to escape, they’d be shot… That took away rights that they were born with; in the words of John Locke, took their human rights of life, liberty, and estate (pursuit of happiness). People could not leave their homes and were forced to stay out of fear of death or torture… which contradicts one of our – considerable – human guidelines, and in the words of Montesquieu, “… the government should be set so that no man need be afraid of another.” The destruction of the Berlin Wall demonstrates the rights – or lack ere thereof – that we have now gained since.

There were many figures who not only assisted in the creation or destruction of the wall; politically or in a more clandestine way; such as, George C. Marshall (founder of “The Marshall Plan”), -Presidents- Eisenhower, Truman, Reagan, and Kennedy, Nikita Khrushchev –the Soviet premier- , and Mikhail Gorbachev among others. They all played a role in –either- creation or destruction of the Berliner Mauer (German name for Berlin Wall).

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The building of the Berlin wall in August of 1961 separated families and communities between what was the capital of Germany. The Wall had been a symbol of a futile, squalid, and seemingly irrevocable episode of -what felt like a post-apocalyptic- post-war era. The wall broke what freedom the German demographic possessed. Even before the close of the Iron Curtain, there was an “escape hatch” in the Wall where relatively free movement was capable for those who wanted to escape to more political freedom than their Stalinist masters would allow. However, on Sunday, August 13, 1961 – known simply as “Barbed-wire Sunday” (Stacheldrahtsonntag)- the Wall – and hatch-were seemingly forever closed, perforating the small line of freedom they had ere the Wall.

Until 1961, Germans were allowed to freely move from East to West Germany without interruption. However, the traveling became difficult due to the closing of the borders. In 1961 the Wall was erected because over two and a half million East Germans escaped to West Germany from 1949-1961. The life in the West was far superior to the East after 1948, due to the West receiving financial aid by the Marshall Plan from the United States; in the East, a communist system was established and much of the East populous had suffered from the communistic party.

In 1952, the open border was closed by East Germany’s government, making travel between the two very difficult;

however, not impossible. The sectorial borders were still open, which made it possible for many other East Germans to escape to West Berlin and henceforth flee to Western Germany. Once these were closed, the Berlin Wall had made it theoretically impossible to escape. The Berlin Wall may have been built in Berlin, Germany; but, it had tolled its effects politically in the USSR (Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (Socialist Eurasian-Russian “state”)), the United States, and many other European countries.

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