Why Was the Berlin Wall Built?

The East German military built the Berlin Wall after World War II to prevent the migration of civilians to the Allied West. Many Eastern Germans did not want to live under their communist leaders and attempted to cross the border into West Germany by scaling the wall.

The construction of the Berlin Wall was a result of Cold War tensions that led to the mass relocation of East German civilians, which included many skilled laborers essential to the German economy. The East Germans constructed the wall under the advice of a member of the Soviet Union leadership, Nikita Khruschev, to force the valued civilians to remain in the region. Unsuccessful Western attempts to oppose the separation of Germany served to embolden East Germany’s resolve, which fortified the wall with barbed wire and machine guns under the pretense of protecting its citizens from capitalist society.

The Berlin Wall began as a line of barbed wire along the border of East and West Germany in 1961, eventually becoming a concrete wall over 28 miles long by the 1980s. East German soldiers killed many of the East Germans attempting to scale the wall into the West, until the dismantling of the East German government in 1989, leading to the eventual destruction of the wall and a reuniting of Germany’s East and West regions.