Berlin Wall

Berlin Wall, 1961–89, a barrier first erected in Aug., 1961, by the East German government along the border between East and West Berlin, and later along the entire border between East Germany and West Germany. At first constructed of barbed wire, the wall was built to halt large numbers of defections and to prevent East Berliners from commuting to the West. Erected at a time of growing tension between East and West, the barrier was eventually replaced by a concrete structure topped with wire and studded with watchtowers manned by East German soldiers. In 1989, after hundreds of thousands of East Germans had fled westward via Hungary and Czechoslovakia, the beleaguered East German regime lifted travel restrictions on Nov. 9, and days later the dismantling of the wall began. Built to keep people in, the wall was dismantled in a failed gamble by the Communists to keep power. By Jan., 1990, the regime was auctioning off large slabs of the wall for hard currency, and had set December for its total demolition. In Oct., 1990, however, East Germany was formally absorbed into the Federal Republic of Germany and only short sections of the wall remained standing, as memorials.

See F. Taylor, The Berlin Wall: A World Divided, 1961–1989 (2007); W. R. Smyser, Kennedy and the Berlin Wall (2009).

The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright© 2013, The Columbia University Press.

Selected full-text books and articles on this topic

The Fall of the Berlin Wall: The Revolutionary Legacy of 1989
Jeffrey A. Engel.
Oxford University Press, 2009
The Ghosts of Berlin: Confronting German History in the Urban Landscape
Brian Ladd.
University of Chicago Press, 1998
Librarian’s tip: Chap. 1 "Berlin Walls" and Chap. 5 "Divided Berlin"
Berlin
David Clay Large.
Basic Books, 2000
Librarian’s tip: "The Divided City" begins on p. 445
Kennedy's Wars: Berlin, Cuba, Laos, and Vietnam
Lawrence Freedman.
Oxford University Press, 2000
Librarian’s tip: Chap. 9 "The Wall"
A Cold War in the Soviet Bloc: Polish-East German Relations : 1945-1962
Sheldon Anderson.
Westview Press, 2000
Librarian’s tip: Chap. 13 "The Berlin Wall and the Detente in Polish-East German Relations, 1961-1962"
Uniting Germany: Documents and Debates, 1944-1993
Konrad H. Jarausch; Volker Gransow; Allison Brown; Belinda Cooper.
Berghahn Books, 1994
Librarian’s tip: Chap. 1 "Division, Cold Civil War, and Detente" and Chap. 3 "Awakening, Fall of the Wall, and Bankruptcy"
Three Crises in American Foreign Affairs and a Continuing Revolution
Howard Trivers.
Southern Illinois University Press, 1972
Librarian’s tip: Chap. 1 "The Berlin Wall"
Berlin: The Wall Is Not Forever
Eleanor Lansing Dulles.
University of North Carolina Press, 1967
Librarian’s tip: Chap. III "The Wall"
From the Berlin Museum to the Berlin Wall: Essays on the Cultural and Political History of Modern Germany
David Wetzel.
Praeger Publishers, 1996
Librarian’s tip: Chap. 9 "The Making of ein Berliner: Kennedy, Brandt, and the Origins of Detente Policy"
Constructing and Deconstructing the Wall
Loshitzky, Yosefa.
CLIO, Vol. 26, No. 3, Spring 1997
Inflation and Wage Behaviour in Europe
Paul De Grauwe; Stefano De Micossi; Giuseppe De Tullio.
Oxford University, 1996
Librarian’s tip: Chap. 12 "The Demand for Money Functions in Europe and in Germany before and after the Fall of the Berlin Wall"
After the Wall: East Meets West in the New Berlin
John Borneman.
Basic Books, 1991
Avoiding the Subject: Media, Culture and the Object
Justin Clemens; Dominic Pettman.
Amsterdam University Press, 2004
Librarian’s tip: "Relations with Concrete Others (or, How We Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Berlin Wall" begins on p. 39
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