The fall of the Berlin wall

On October 3, 1990, the German people celebrated their unification. Although divisions continue to exist, especially when it comes to economics, in 2023, Germany celebrates the 33rd anniversary of its unification. However, this would not have been possible without the fall of the Berlin Wall, which will be 34 years old on November 9 of the same year.

Berlin Wall

The fall of the Berlin wall

The fall of the Berlin Wall had a series of significant effects, including the disintegration of the Soviet Union, the end of the Cold War and the consolidation of the reunification of the two German republics.

According to the words of Carsten Schneider, who serves as delegate of the federal government for the eastern region of Germany, the unification was fully realized, despite recognizing that there are still challenges to overcome in this process.

One of the most problematic points was the equalization of pensions between east and west. The inhabitants of the former GDR were demanding this measure, although there is still a marked difference in salaries and wealth.

In 2022, salaries in West Germany were higher than those in East Germany by about 12,000 euros per year. In terms of savings, Westerners tripled the figures of Easterners.

The differences created by the construction of the Berlin Wall

The division generated by the construction of the Berlin Wall was notorious, and it still persists in several aspects. It all began at the end of World War II and the surrender of Germany to the Allied troops. At that time the country was divided, since the allied members were France, the United States, the United Kingdom and the Soviet Union.

Berlin remained under Soviet jurisdiction, although, as the capital of Germany, it was divided into four. As the years went by, the differences between the Soviet sector and the others became more acute. Among other things, the Western sector had freedom of expression and thought and in the Soviet sector the opposite was true.

For these reasons, a migration began from the eastern sector to the west to escape the lack of freedom. In 1960 alone, 200 thousand people crossed the border into the western sector, most of them were young people.

Symbolic crosses on the Berlin Wall
Symbolic funeral crosses in honor of the dead on the wall – Wikipedia
An unexpected construction

In 1961 they built the Berlin Wall, separating both sectors. During the night of August 12-13, 1961, a large detachment of military forces from the German Democratic Republic moved through the center of Berlin. For more than 25 kilometers, they built a barbed wire and cement barrier that divided the city into two parts.

The work was carried out with such speed and surprise that when the people woke up, they were trapped in one of the two sectors, without even being able to say goodbye to family and friends who lived on the other side.

Although this stopped migration, between 1961 and 1989 more than 5,000 people tried to cross the wall. 3,000 were arrested and approximately 100 died during the attempt.

There is even a song, performed by Nino Bravo, whose lyrics describe the story of young Peter Fechter, the first to be killed trying to escape the GDR. Its authors, José Luis Armenteros and Pablo Herrero, managed to make the sad story known.

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