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Berlin Wall Timeline, Facts, and History For Kids


The History of the Berlin wall begins as World War II ends. When the Nazis surrendered in 1945, Berlin, the capital of Germany, was a ruined city. On Aug. 13, 1961, a low, barbed-wire barrier was strung between East and West Berlin dividing the city in half. Within days, workers cemented concrete blocks into a low wall through the city.

Moscow called the wall a barrier to Western imperialism. “It pleases me tremendously,” Soviet Premier Nikita Khrushchev said. “The working class of Germanyhas erected a wall so that no wolf can break into the German Democratic Republic again.”

The following timeline of facts and information about the rise and fall of the Berlin wall will answer the following questions.

  • When did the berlin wall fall?
  • When was the berlin wall knocked down?
  • Why was the berlin wall built?
  • What caused the berlin wall to fall?
  • Who built the berlin wall?
  • Why was the berlin wall put up?
  • Who was involved in the fall of the berlin wall?

Timeline of the Berlin Wall

May 8, 1945: World War II ends.

June 17 – August 2 1945: The Potsdam Conference takes place just south of Berlin from June 17 to August 2. The Allied victors divide Germany and Berlin into 4 sectors: the American, British, French in the West andthe Soviet in the East.

June 30, 1946: At the instigation of the Soviet Military administration the demarcation line between East and West Germany is safeguarded

October 29, 1946: A 30 day valid Interzonenpass is required to travel between the sectors in Germany

June 23, 1948: Currency reform in Berlin, Berlin is divided into two different currency zones

June 24, 1948: On June 24 the Berlin Blockade begins. The Soviet Union cuts off all land and water transit routes running between Berlin and West Germany, turning West Berlin into an isolated island surrounded by East Germany.

June 26, 1948: With all land access now blocked, the Allies begin the Berlin Airlift to try and aid the people of Berlin. For the next eleven months coal to food, has to be airlifted into the Berlin.

September 1948: In September the Soviets force the Berlin city council to leave the “Red City Hall” in the east sector. The communists split Berlin with the proclamation of their own “magistrate.”

May 12, 1949: Soviet Union lifts the blockade, but the Airlift continues until September.

May 24, 1949: Federal Republic of Germany is founded

September 30, 1949: End of Berlin Airlift

October 7, 1949: German Democratic Republic is founded The West German capital is Bonn, while East Germany declares East Berlin its capital city.

May 26, 1952: Border between East and West Germany and between East Germany and West Berlin is closed. Only the border between East and West Berlin is open

June 17, 1953: Uprising of East Berlin building workers against the imposition of increased working norms. Workers go on strike to demand better working and living conditions, as well as free elections and unification. Soviet forces help the GDR brutally crush the revolt.

November 14, 1953: The Western Powers waive the Interzonenpass, the Soviet Union follows but East German citizen need a permission to travel to the West

December 11, 1957: Leaving East Germany without permission is forbidden and violations are prosecuted with prison up to three years

August 13, 1961: The border between East and West Berlin is closed and barbed wire and fencing is erected; concrete appears two days later. The wall would eventually grow to be a 96-mile barrier encircling West Berlin.

August 14, 1961: Brandenburg Gate is closed

August 26, 1961: All crossing points are closed for West Berlin citizens

June 26, 1963: John F. Kennedy makes his famous Berlin speech in front of the Schoneberg City Hall in the western half of the city: “All free men, wherever they live, are citizens of Berlin, and, therefore, as a free man, I take pride in the words, ‘Ich bin ein Berliner.’” (“I am a Berliner.”)

December 17, 1963: West Berliner citizen may visit East Berlin the first time after more than two years

September 3, 1971: An agreement between East and West Germany is signed makeing it easier to travel to and from Berlin.

June 12, 1987: During his second Berlin visit, US president Ronald Reagan makes a speech in front of the Brandenburg Gate in which he demands: “Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this Wall!”

September 10, 1989: Hungarian government opens border for East German refugees

November 9, 1989: When did the berlin wall fall? During an evening news conference, an East German government spokesman mistakenly announces that citizens of the German Democratic Republic will now be permitted to travel without restrictions — effective immediately. Unaware of this sudden change in policy, border guards are overwhelmed by crowds of East Berliners who want to cross into West Berlin. Erected on August 13, 1961 by the communist regime in East Germany, the Wall that divided Berlin for 28 years was torn down allowing free travel around Germany.

December 22, 1989: Brandenburg Gate is opened to allow open travel throughout the country

October 3, 1990: After the Wall fell, it was to be another 11 months before Germany was reunited.

March 18, 1990: The East German electorate voted by an overwhelming majority for those parties that demanded swift accession to West Germany.

October 3, 1990: East Germany acceded to West Germany which has since been celebrated as the Day of German Unity and is an official holiday in Germany.