Building the Berlin Wall  and the 1961 Tank Standoff



West Berliners watch the building of the wall in 1961



 The Berlin Wall: A Secret History

The Berlin Wall surface (German: Berliner Mauer) was a barrier that divided Berlin from 1961 to 1989. Constructed by the German Autonomous Republic (GDR, East Germany), beginning on 13 August 1961, the wall surface entirely cut off (by land) West Berlin from surrounding East Germany as well as from East Berlin till it was opened in November 1989.Its demolition formally started on 13 June 1990 and also was finished in 1992.  The Eastern Bloc claimed that the wall was erected to safeguard its population from fascist components conspiring to prevent the "will of the people" in building a socialist state in East Germany. In practice, the Wall surface worked in to prevent the substantial emigration as well as defection that marked East Germany and also the communist Eastern Bloc throughout the post-World War II period. The Berlin Wall surface was formally described as the "Anti-Fascist Defense Rampart" (German: Antifaschistischer Schutzwall) by GDR authorities, implying that the NATO countries as well as West Germany particularly were "fascists."



The Wall, a 1962 documentary about the wall.


Since the  late 1940s, East Germans had been leaving the Soviet zone of Germany to emigrate to the west . This was a serious brain drain for East Germany . An estimated 4,000,000  East Germans had fled to West Germany by 1961. By October US and Soviet tanks faced off at each other at Checkpoint Charlie over an incident with US troops.  The US sent 10 M8 tanks to Checkpoint Charlie and the Soviets sent 33 tanks into Berlin . In 1961, 207,000 left the country, and a high proportion of them were young, better educated and of the most productive members of society .To stop this, the government used 32,000 NVA troops to build the Berlin Wall, starting an Aug 13, 1961.After building the wall, national conscription was legislated. It was feared that conscription would lead to an even higher exodus, but the wall solved that problem. Nine months after the Cuban missile Crisis, Kennedy made his famous' Ich bin ein Berliner' speech in Berlin. In his last Five Year Plan, Honecker planned to make a fully automated wall with sensors and automatically firing guns by the year 2000.


Tank standoff in Berlin Oct 22, 1961.

The Soviets withdrew after 3 days


East German stamp celebrating 10 years of the Berlin Wall.


Repairing the wall in 1962





The Berlin Wall:

A World Divided, 1961-1989

A comprehensive history of the 103-mile wall between East and West Germany describes its representation of the struggle between Soviet communism and American capitalism, the internal and external pressures that led to its dismantling, and the wall's geopolitical ramifications that remain in place today.



 Pink Floyd Berlin







The 1953 Uprising


The SED-

Socialist Unity Party