The Berlin Wall, 4




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armed symbol occupation
fence decade to bring down
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zone concrete lead/led/led
sector territory build/built/built
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flee prevent divide (2)
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versus speak out speak/spoke/spoken
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fist line (2) sledgehammer
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unify look like tear down
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federal separate chapter (2)







The Berlin Wall

The Berlin Wall was a physical and symbolic barrier between democracy and communism. It had stood since August of 1961, when residents of Berlin woke up one morning to find a dividing line built to barbed wire and cinder blocks.

It was eventually fortified with concrete armed guards electric fences — and it would take almost three decades for the winds of change to bring it down.

The iconic moment the Berlin Wall came down is an image the world will not soon forget. For 28 years the wall had been dividing a city and a nation, becoming a symbol of East-West divisions during the Cold War.

So what led to this 12-foot (3.7 meter) high 27 mile (43.5 km) long wall being built?

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Why was the Wall built?

After Germany’s defeat in World War II, the country was divided into four zones of occupation, and Berlin was also divided into east and west territory. The United States, France and Britain took West Germany and the western sectors of Berlin; the Soviet Zone became East Germany and East Berlin.

West Germany became a democracy, while East Germany was a communist country aligned with the Soviet Union.

Between 1949 and 1961, almost three million East Germans escaped to the West. To prevent more people from fleeing the soviet rule, the East German Communist Party closed the border in Berlin and built a wall.

So in the 1960s the Wall was built for the opposite reason most are: instead of trying to keep people out this wall was built to keep people in.

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What happened after the Wall was built?

At least a hundred-forty (140) people were killed at the Berlin Wall trying to escape East Germany.

High-profile people spoke out like US president John F Kennedy who delivered his famous speech in West Berlin.

John F. Kennedy, US President, 1961 to 1963: “Ich bin ein Berliner (I am a Berliner)”.

The Wall became a symbol of democracy versus communism. People came from all over the world to protest that division.

Ronald Reagan, US President, 1981 to 1989: “Mr Gorbachev, tear down this wall.”

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Why did the Wall come down?

By 1989, large demonstrations began in various East German cities — people wanted change.

Ronald Reagan, US President, 1981 to 1989: “This wall will fall, for it cannot withstand faith. It cannot withstand truth. The wall cannot withstand freedom.”

In October of 1989, the communist party chief Erich Honecker was ousted and replaced by Egon Krentz.

Although reforms were announced including travel rights it was too late: on November 9 1989, the East German government mistakenly announced that travel restrictions for East Germans had been lifted effective immediately.

Thousands appeared at border crossings in East Berlin demanding to be let through. Even without orders, the border guards eventually opened the gates.

In the following months, tens of thousands of Germans literally tore down the wall piece by piece, by hand using their fists, pickaxes, sledge hammers and shovels.

Streets and crossing points opened and tens of thousands of people crossed into the west of Berlin for the first time.

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What does The Wall look like today?

Freedom and ultimately a unified Germany emerged from the bitter Cold War that had separated Berlin for decades.

In 1990 Germany officially reunified under the Federal Republic of Germany. Few parts of the wall still exist today; tourists from around the world come to see these pieces of history. Yet this dark chapter of German division is not forgotten.

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Germany. The Berlin Wall is thousands of years old. True or false? Were Berliners very proud of the Berlin Wall?

Czech Republic. After the Second World War, was Berlin divided into four sections, North, South, East and West?

Hungary. The communist authorities had built the Berlin Wall to defend themselves against a NATO invasion. The communist authorities built the Berlin Wall protection East Berlin from a US-led attack. Is this right or wrong?

Poland. What can be said about life in East Berlin and East Germany compared to life in West Berlin and West Germany? Which did people think was “better”?

Slovakia. Did the Berlin Wall only separate East and West Berlin, or did it represent and symbolize something much larger?

Slovenia. The East German leadership decided to open the gates of the Berlin Wall and allow freedom of movement due to altruism. Is this entirely correct, mostly correct, partially correct, both, in the middle, largely incorrect or entirely incorrect?

Romania. Did the communist authorities crack down on the protesters and dissenters?

Bulgaria. Does the Berlin Wall still separate East (eastern) and West (western Berlin)? Has the Berlin Wall been completely dismantled?
Bosnia, Croatia, Serbia. I remember the fall of the Berlin Wall and the end of the Cold War in 1989. Yes or no? Do your parents or grandparents remember? What was the mood like?

Russia, Belarus, Ukraine. Has German reunification gone smoothly and perfectly? Has eastern Germany completely integrated with western Germany?

Montenegro, Macedonia. Are there other parts of the world were similar divisions exist?

Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania. Should different parts of the world — or the entire world — be united, divided, both, neither, in-between or it depends?

Albania, Kovovo. What might happen in the future?

Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia. What could or should individuals and governments do?

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