The fall of the Berlin Wall


Following the culmination of the Second World War , a new chapter was ushered in the history books. The world was divided into two blocks: east and west ; in short, capitalism versus socialism . The Berlin Wall in Germany was the physical symbol that represented this great ideological separation. From its construction in 1961, until its fall in 1989, many politicians had great relevance for acquiring their participation in the events related to this territorial and ideological border in 20th century Germany.

  • When was it:  11/09/1989
  • Where was it:  Berlin, Germany

What was the fall of the Berlin wall?

For long 28 years, the Berlin Wall , erected by the Soviets, represented as the clearest symbol of the confrontation and disputes between the socialist bloc and the capitalist bloc of 20th century Germany. But on November 9, 1989, he would start what would be his longed-for collapse.


What did it consist of

In 1961, the Democratic Republic of Germany had the Berlin Wall built in conjunction with the German Federal Republic and the powers of the entire West, who did not accept that the East Germans had influence over the German Federal Republic in search of what they they called: “progress . 


The wall had a length of 45 kilometers that divided the city of Berlin into two parts; and around 115 kilometers that surrounded the entire western perimeter in order to separate it from the already established German federal republic.

It was a bureaucratic reaction to the uprisings in Hungary in 1956 and in Prague in 1968, where bureaucrats accuse them of being pro-capitalist.

The entire revolutionary process in Poland in 1981 ended up convincing the entire bureaucratic ideal that they had to yield to imperialism for pre-capitalist reforms, if they refused, they would be outnumbered in a revolutionary way by the population.

In 1986, Gorbachev tried “peacefully” through the USSR but ended in failure. In ’88 the economic crisis accelerated and the bureaucracy began to weaken.

Uprisings such as the one in Armenia arise , for a vindicated democracy, which would be joined by the vast majority of the “glacis” countries .

What did the fall of the Berlin wall mean

The fall of the Berlin wall in November 1989 also marked the collapse of Stalinism , totally impartial to the politics of Marxism ; This hints that the opportunity could be taken for revolutionary unity and for the population in general, however, in a divided Germany, imperialism imposed a counterrevolutionary offensive on unity.


After the Second World War, Germany was occupied with a military character by the allied armies, who divided it into four areas with their autonomy of occupation who were: the United States , Great Britain , France and the USSR .

The divisions were agreed at the Yalta conference in February ’45 just before the end of the war, where Stalin   from the USSR, Churchill from Great Britain and Roosevelt from the United States participated; There it is decided how the administration process would be, after its imminent unconditional surrender on May 8.


In October 1990, the Unification Treaty was signed where the four administrative powers: the United States, the Soviet Union, France and Great Britain renounced all their rights, opening the way to the reunification of the country.

In December, the first joint election is carried out, obtaining the victory Helmut Kohl, of the German democratic union as the new chancellor.

A division of German workers is generated that is still separated by an invisible wall , where inflation , unemployment and the wage gap with the West reigned in the now defunct GDR .

The workers of the West came from suffering numerous defeats that made way for the imperialist countries (the United States and Great Britain mainly) to impose what was called “ neoliberalism ” .

The fall of the Berlin Wall opened the way to a debate on the left. The vast majority of the communist parties became “social democrats.”

Among the Trotskyists , there were three positions; some refused the demand for reunification, defending the German Democratic Republic as a “workers” state (with a sublime bureaucracy). Others, already raised the slogan of reunification , held the ideal that beyond that such unification was carried out under the direction of imperialism , the sum of the two working classes would give strength to the German people.

The PTS (which had recently cut off relations with the MAS among various reasons, due to indifference to the beginning of the political revolution in the Soviet Union and which, on the contrary, formed a left united with the Argentine communist party), thus held different positions .

The starting point was the democratic demand for reunification, but fighting for a totally independent, class position and against the restorative reunification of imperialism, but also against an oppressive regime that planned to restore Stalinism for ideals of a workers’ unification and socialist.


The characters that played an important role in the symbol of the fall of the Berlin Wall were:

Walter Ulbricht

He was a head of state of the Democratic Republic of Germany in the year (1960-1971). He was an architect of the union between the Social Democrats and the Eastern Communists in the Unified Socialist Party of Germany ( “SED” , for its German acronym described) in 1946. After that, fifteen years later he ordered the construction of the Berlin Wall creating the symbol of division.

Erich honecker

He was head of state of the Democratic Republic of Germany in the year (1976-1989). In 1971, he succeeded Walter Ulbricht as Secretary General of the Unified Socialist Party of Germany , as well as assumed the presidency of the National Defense Council. He was responsible for carrying out the construction of the Berlin Wall for the year 1961 and leader of socialist Germany until 1989.

Erich Mielke

Well-known head of the Ministry for state security of the Democratic Republic of Germany. He was the leader of the East German secret police , known as the Stasi (German acronym). Organization that came to cover more than 90 thousand members and 180 thousand informants. He carried out acts as a leader many of the variables of repression against the population of the Democratic Republic of Germany .

Egon Krenz

He was head of state of the Democratic Republic of Germany from October 18 to December 7, 1989. During the period of his mandate, the fall of the Berlin Wall occurred , which at that time, represented as a symbol of the collapse of the German Democratic Republic .

In 1997, he was prosecuted through legal bodies as the person responsible, among many, for the order to shoot the people who tried to cross the barrier against them.

After two years, he was found guilty and sentenced. He was released from jail in 2003, after serving only half his sentence.

Günter Schabowski

He was a board member of the Unified Socialist Party of Germany from 1981 to 1989.

In 1973, he was appointed as the editor-in-chief of the official organ of the Unified Socialist Party of Germany; The newspaper ” Neues Deutschland ” which means: ” new Germany “, goes down in history for the controversial press conference held on November 9, 1989, in which he declared that East Germans had the freedom to cross the wall immediately, however, the order to travel had a validity period of only one day later.

Willy brandt

Appointed Chancellor of the Federal Republic of Germany in 1969 until 1974).

He was a Social Democratic politician who served as mayor of West Berlin when the wall was built.In the 1970s, he established diplomatic relations with the German Democratic Republic, since in history he is considered a key figure for soften relations between East and West Germany.

This policy immediately produced him, in 1971, the Nobel Peace Prize.

Helmut Kohl

He was a Chancellor of the Federal Republic of Germany from 1982 to 1998.

He was a Christian , who practiced politics with democracy and was considered by many to be the chancellor of reunification .

He created and established diplomatic relations with the Government of the Soviet Union , his predecessor being Mikhail Gorbachev.

He participated in the conflicts and negotiations known as two plus four (Two Germany together and four allied nations) in which it was approved, giving the go-ahead to the reunification of all of Germany.

Konrad adenauer

He was the first Chancellor of the Federal Republic of Germany from 1949 to 1963.

Being also a politician, democrat and Christian. He is considered as the man who managed to rejoin the German Federal Republic ( FRG ) in the West, at the end of the Second World War .

He was able to gestate the conversion of his country into a great economic power and perfectly integrated into the club of international powers. It also achieved good relations with the Soviet Union and all of Eastern Europe .

Lothar de Maizière

Known for being the last Chancellor of the Federal Republic of Germany from the month of March to the end of the month of October 1990.

He was a German politician, who exercised the leadership of the last head of government of the German Democratic Republic (GDR).

He was a participant in integrating the Christian-Democratic union of East Germany and, working together with Chancellor Helmut Kohl, was in charge of carrying out negotiations on the terms for the integration of the GDR into the Federal Republic of Germany .

Mikhail Gorbachev

He was the head of state of the USSR from 1989 to 1991.

He was able to initiate a policy of great transparency and reforms such as Glasnost and Perestroika , which had a great impact in all the countries of Eastern Europe.

His government made the necessary and substantial preparations to make the changes in the political and economic system of that time ” socialism “, such as: holding free elections within the Soviet Union.

It also promotes the elimination of the doctrine of limited sovereignty , which allowed the Soviet Union to intervene in the internal and military politics of all the countries associated with the Warsaw Pact.

Causes of the fall of the Berlin Wall

The main causes of the fall of the Berlin Wall were the following:

  • Economic decline of the bureaucracy in 1989.
  • The doctrines of limited sovereignty are eliminated.
  • The “Unification Treaty” is signed in 1990 where the powers that administered the country renounce their rights.
  • Neoliberalism” is imposed by the United States and Great Britain.
  • Helmut Kohl is elected as Chancellor by the German Democratic Union.

Consequences of the fall of the Berlin wall

The fall of the Berlin Wall had major consequences such as the following:

  • Division of German workers by the inflation of the GDR.
  • Salary difference compared to the western part.
  • Communist parties are created that refused the Unification treaty.
  • The slogan of reunification is raised now .
  • A workers and socialist unification is reestablished.

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