The Wall (1962) / Berlin Wall Documentary Film Video.
Directorate of Armed Forces Information and Education. The Road to the Wall. 1962. The Road to the Wall is a 1962 short documentary film produced by Robert Saudek. It was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Documentary Short. This program has been declared obsolete for use within the sponsoring agency, but may have content value for educational use. Producer: Department of Defense. Creative Commons license: Public Domain
The Berlin Wall (German: Berliner Mauer) was a physical barrier separating West Berlin from the German Democratic Republic (GDR) (East Germany), including East Berlin. The longer inner German border demarcated the border between East and West Germany. Both borders came to symbolize the Iron Curtain between Western and Eastern Europe and, ultimately, between USA and the Soviet Union. The wall separated East Germany from West Germany for more than a quarter-century, from the day construction began on August 13, 1961 until the Wall was opened on November 9, 1989. During this period, at least 136 people were confirmed killed trying to cross the Wall into West Berlin, according to official figures. However, a prominent victims' group claims that more than 200 people were killed trying to flee from East to West Berlin. The East German government issued shooting orders to border guards dealing with defectors; such orders are not the same as shoot to kill orders which GDR officials denied ever issuing. When the East German government announced on November 9, 1989, after several weeks of civil unrest, that all GDR citizens could visit West Germany and West Berlin, crowds of East Germans climbed onto and crossed the wall, joined by West Germans on the other side in a celebratory atmosphere. Over the next few weeks, parts of the wall were chipped away by a euphoric public and by souvenir hunters; industrial equipment was later used to remove almost all of the rest of it. The fall of the Berlin Wall paved the way for German reunification, which was formally concluded on October 3, 1990. On Saturday, 12 August 1961, the leaders of the GDR attended a garden party at a government guesthouse in Döllnsee, in a wooded area to the north of East Berlin, at which time Ulbricht signed the order to close the border and erect a wall. At midnight, the police and units of the East German army began to close the border and by Sunday morning, 13 August 1961, the border with West Berlin was closed. East German troops and workers had begun to tear up streets running alongside the border to make them impassable to most vehicles, and to install barbed wire entanglements and fences along the 156 km (97 miles) around the three western sectors and the 43 km (27 miles) which actually divided West and East Berlin. The Soviets were not directly involved. The barrier was built slightly inside East Berlin or East German territory to ensure that it did not encroach on West Berlin at any point, and was later built up into the Wall proper, the first concrete elements and large blocks being put in place on August 15. During the construction of the Wall, NVA and KdA soldiers stood in front of it with orders to shoot anyone who attempted to defect. Additionally, chain fences, walls, minefields, and other obstacles were installed along the length of the inner-German border between East and West Germany. Due to the closure of the East-West sector boundary in Berlin, the vast majority of East Germans could no longer travel or emigrate to West Germany. Many families were split, while East Berliners employed in the West were cut off from their jobs; West Berlin became an isolated enclave in a hostile land. West Berliners demonstrated against the wall, led by their Chancellor Willy Brandt, who strongly criticized the United States for failing to respond. Allied intelligence agencies had hypothesized about a wall to stop the flood of refugees, but the main candidate for its location was around the perimeter of the city.