berlinwalldancing.jpg

On June 12, 1987 President Ronald Reagan gave a speech that helped to put into motion an event I will never forget.  You may have heard of it even if you are not that aware of world events.  The fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989.  The speech President Ronald Reagan gave, was to the people of West Berlin but the people on the East side of the wall were listening as well.  The whole speech was 2,703 words but the four words that will live in History forever are “tear down this wall.”  The building of the wall The President was speaking of was started in the early morning hours on this day August 13, 1961 to stop the citizens of East Germany  from seeking a better life in West Germany.  After World War II, Nazi Germany as well as the old capital of Berlin was divided into four parts among the occupying Allied powers, Americans, British, French and Soviets.  The Cold War brought about tensions and in 1949 the American, British and French zones formed into the Federal Republic of Germany including West Berlin.  The Soviet zone with East Berlin formed the German Democratic Republic.  From 1948 onward West Germany saw a rise in economic growth with its democratic parliamentary government.berlinwall1961-11-20.jpg  East Germany saw wealth also under  a Soviet style planned economy.  Still many of the citizens of the East looked to the much wealthier West for political freedom and prosperity.   East Germany saw between two and a half and three million of its citizens head to West Germany for better opportunities and by 1961 almost 1000 skilled workers a day were leaving East Germany.  Approved by Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev, the East German leader Walter Ulbricht started the construction first with barbed wire.  On June 15, 1961, two months before the construction of the Berlin Wall started, Walter Ulbricht stated in an international press conference, “No one has the intention to set up a wall.”  That was the first time the term “wall” had been used.  Wikipedia has more.

Advertisements