About Berlin Wall
The Berlin Wall was an 87 mile long concrete barrier between East and West Berlin, a symbol of the Cold War and an embodiment of the so-called ‘Iron Curtain’ between eastern and western Europe.
Originally just a barbed wire fence erected within 24 hours on 13 August 1961, a more robust, concrete version of the Berlin Wall was built on 15 August 1961.
The origins of the Berlin Wall can be found following World War II, when what remained of Nazi Germany was divided between the Allied Powers, being the Americans, British, French and the Soviet Union. Berlin, which sat in the Soviet sector, was similarly divided between the four nations.
However, when differences arose between the Soviet Union and the other three countries as to their approach to reconstructing Germany, Soviet leader Joseph Stalin declared the establishment of the German Democratic Republic (East Germany) and in August 1961, erected first a barbed wire barrier and then a concrete barrier, closing the border between east and west Berlin to stop Berliners from the east escaping to the other Allied controlled areas of the city.
The Berlin Wall was a matter of great controversy throughout its existence, with world leaders continually calling for it to be torn down, including John F Kennedy’s famous declaration of “Ich bin ein Berliner” and Ronald Reagan’s 1987 speech when he implored, “Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall!”.
The fall of the Berlin Wall finally occurred on 9 November 1989 and the wall was almost completely dismantled in the days and weeks that followed.
Very few segments of the wall remain. The largest, 1.3 kilometer, section can be found at the open air East Side Gallery, although small sections are dotted throughout the city. The Berlin Wall is featured as one of our Top Tourist Attractions of Germany.