The Berlin Wall
Ronald Reagan Presidential Library
Simi Valley, CA

The Berlin Wall

A Segment is on Display

Updated July 2024
Posted September 2023

Reagan Library Berlin Wall
RONALD REAGAN: It is here in Berlin... where the news photo and the television screen have imprinted this brutal division of a continent upon the mind of the world... At the Berlin Wall, June 12, 1987

  • The Berlin Wall
    In 1961, some 3.5 million East Germans - almost 20 percent of the country's population - had fled into West Berlin to escape East Germany's communist government. They fled religious persecution, the confiscation of their property, and political oppression. Many reunited with relatives in West Germany.

    To end this exodus, the East German army began construction of the Berlin Wall on August 13, 1961. The wall stood for 28 years as the most visible icon of communist aggression.

RONALD REAGAN: They preach the supremacy of the state, declare its omnipotence over individual man... they are the focus of evil in the modern world... on the Soviet Union, March 8, 1983

  • Dictatorship
    The idea that government exists to serve the people was turned upside down behind the Iron Curtain. The Soviet Union was an expansionist military dictatorship supported by the labor of its people.

    Freedoms taken for granted in the West - freedom of speech, freedom of religion, freedom of assembly, and a free press - were a cause for imprisonment or worse. Ronald Reagan declared repeatedly that the goal of Soviet communism was worldwide domination.

Berlin Wall Reagan and Gorbachev Statue
Reagan and Gorbachev Statue

Berlin Wall Piece
Piece of the Berlin Wall

Berlin Wall Piece

Berlin Wall Piece

Berlin Wall Piece

Berlin Wall Piece

The Berlin Wall

The Berlin Wall was a guarded concrete barrier that encircled West Berlin of the Federal Republic of Germany from 1961 to 1989, separating it from East Berlin and the German Democratic Republic. Construction of the Berlin Wall was commenced by the government of the GDR on 13 August 1961. It included guard towers placed along large concrete walls, accompanied by a wide area (later known as the "death strip") that contained anti-vehicle trenches, beds of nails and other defenses. The primary intention for the Wall's construction was to prevent East German citizens from fleeing to the West.

  • The Soviet Bloc propaganda portrayed the Wall as protecting its population from "fascist elements conspiring to prevent the will of the people" from building a communist state in the GDR. The authorities officially referred to the Berlin Wall as the Anti-Fascist Protection Rampart.

WIKIPEDIAWall of Shame
The West Berlin city government sometimes referred to it as the "Wall of Shame", a term coined by mayor Willy Brandt in reference to the Wall's restriction on freedom of movement.

  • Along with the separate and much longer inner German border, which demarcated the border between East and West Germany, it came to symbolize physically the Iron Curtain that separated the Western Bloc and Soviet satellite states of the Eastern Bloc during the Cold War.
  • Before the Wall's erection, 3.5 million East Germans circumvented Eastern Bloc emigration restrictions and defected from the GDR, many by crossing over the border from East Berlin into West Berlin; from there they could then travel to West Germany and to other Western European countries. Between 1961 and 1989, the Wall prevented almost all such emigration.

WIKIPEDIABetween 1961 and 1989
The Wall prevented almost all crossings into West Berlin. During this period, over 100,000 people attempted to escape, and over 5,000 people succeeded in escaping over the Wall, with an estimated death toll of those murdered by East German authorities ranging from 136 to more than 200 in and around Berlin.

  • In 1989, a series of revolutions in nearby Eastern Bloc countries-in Poland and Hungary in particular-caused a chain reaction in East Germany. In particular, the Pan-European Picnic in August 1989 set in motion a peaceful development during which the Iron Curtain largely broke, the rulers in the East came under pressure to cease their repressive policies, the Berlin Wall fell and finally the Eastern Bloc collapsed.
  • After several weeks of civil unrest, the East German government announced on 9 November 1989 that all GDR citizens could visit the FRG and West Berlin. Crowds of East Germans crossed and climbed onto the Wall, joined by West Germans on the other side in a celebratory atmosphere.

WikipediaOver the next few weeks, souvenir hunters chipped away parts of the Wall.

The fall of the Berlin Wall paved the way for German reunification, which formally took place on 3 October 1990.

Other Wikipedia Citings

Wikipedia Berlin Wall Segments are all around the world
[Other Wikipedia Citings]

Section of the Berlin Wall