The Berlin Wall

The Berlin Wall dictated the day-to-day lives of Berliners for almost three decades.

The construction of the Wall in August 1961 embodied the division of Germany. The Wall divided the city of Berlin into an eastern zone, which became the capital of the GDR, and a western zone, which was governed by the three western allies and was also a state of the Federal Republic of Germany. It would be another 28 years until the fall of the Wall. The two German states were finally reunified in 1990.

The years in between saw the Cold War and numerous tensions between the Allies, as well as attempts by citizens to escape over the Berlin Wall and the death strip into the West. The 250 clips that make up “The Berlin Wall – A Multimedia History” form an impressive document of life with the Wall between 1961 and 1989. Contemporary witnesses tell their stories and recount experiences, such as the construction of the Wall in Bernauer Strasse.
The Alexanderplatz demonstrations are documented through the rousing speeches of prominent opposition figures from the GDR.

Video footage from the SFB/rbb archives, the German Broadcasting Archive and GDR television show critical moments, such as the a href="/videos/rechtfertigung-walter-ulbricht-und-konfrontation-am-checkpoint-charlie-538/">stand-off between the Soviet Union and the US at Checkpoint Charlie, the memorable press conference statement from Walter Ulbricht and the speeches given by John F. Kennedy, Willy Brandt and Helmut Kohl at Schöneberg Town Hall in West Berlin. Other historic moments include the televised speech on 9 November 1989 by Günter Schabowski that preceded the opening of the Wall, the giant New Year's Eve celebration at the Brandenburg Gate, and much, much more.