Open

Coming up

Don't miss

Replay


LATEST SHOWS

WEB NEWS

France's top consumer group sues Internet giants

Read more

WEB NEWS

Web users pay tribute to South Korea ferry victims

Read more

AFRICA NEWS

A landslide victory for the 'invisible candidate' in Algeria's Presidential polls

Read more

THE WORLD THIS WEEK

The World This Week - 18 April 2014

Read more

THE WORLD THIS WEEK

The World This Week - 18 April 2014 (part 2)

Read more

MEDIAWATCH

Presidential adviser resigns over "shoe-shine scandal"

Read more

#THE 51%

Breaking stereotypes

Read more

#TECH 24

Galaxy S5 v. HTC One (M8): Which is the right one for you?

Read more

FRANCE IN FOCUS

New PM Manuel Valls outlines priorities

Read more

  • Why Syria’s cash-strapped jihadists let hostages go

    Read more

  • Video: Ukraine separatist crisis overshadows Easter celebrations

    Read more

  • The Great War's unsung four-legged heroes

    Read more

  • Divers begin pulling bodies from sunken South Korean ferry

    Read more

  • Ukraine rebels call for Russian troops after deadly clash

    Read more

  • UK’s Hamilton cruises to victory at Chinese Grand Prix

    Read more

  • Freed French journalists arrive home after Syria ordeal

    Read more

  • Syria’s Assad visits recaptured Christian town at Easter

    Read more

  • In pictures: French kite festival takes flight

    Read more

  • Le Pen’s National Front fail to woo Britain’s Eurosceptics

    Read more

  • PSG clinch fourth League Cup title after beating Lyon

    Read more

  • Militants kill Algerian soldiers in deadly ambush

    Read more

  • Scores killed in South Sudan cattle raid

    Read more

  • VIDEO: Anti-Semitic leaflets in Eastern Ukraine condemned

    Read more

  • Bouteflika, the ghost president

    Read more

  • Does Valls’ upcoming Vatican trip violate French secularism?

    Read more

  • Ukraine separatists say ‘not bound’ by Geneva deal

    Read more

  • Abel Ferrara’s hotly awaited DSK film to premiere on web

    Read more

  • Obama signs bill to block controversial Iran diplomat from UN post

    Read more

  • Astronomers discover Earth-like planet that could support life

    Read more

  • In pictures: Iranian woman pardons son’s killer at the gallows

    Read more

Europe

The rise and fall of the Wall: a timeline

©

Text by FRANCE 24

Latest update : 2009-10-29

The Berlin Wall went up in August 1961 to the wide-eyed consternation of all. It was no less shocking when came down on November 9, 1989 — particularly since it happened because of a verbal slip.

February, 1945: At the pivotal conference at Yalta, in the Crimea, the allied nations (the United States, the United Kingdom and the Soviet Union) meet to discuss the fate of post-war Germany. They agree that once the Nazis are defeated, Germany is to be split into four zones, governed by the three Yalta attendees, plus France.

1945-1949: Moscow begins running civic and school systems under the Communist model in the zone it occupies.

March 1946: Winston Churchill uses the word “iron curtain” for the first time to describe the areas in the “Soviet Sphere”.

May 1949: Birth of the Federal Republic of Germany, aka West Germany.

October 1949: Moscow creates the German Democratic Republic, aka East Germany.

April 1952: Moscow and East Germany decide officially to close the border between East and West Berlin.

1952-1961: 3.5 million East Germans manage to flee westward. East Germany becomes deeply concerned about the loss.

June 1961: Walter Ulbricht, GDR state council chairman, declares that “No one has the intention of erecting a wall” between the East and West.

August 12, 1961: Ulbricht orders the construction of a wall.

August 13, 1961: Construction of the Wall begins.

1961-1989: Restrictions on crossing between East and West become increasingly stringent. Border guards are ordered to shoot to kill anyone attempting an illegal crossing of the border. Several thousand manage successfully to escape, but 136 die in the attempt.

June 1963: US President John F. Kennedy gives his historic speech in front of the Wall and expresses his support for the divided people of Berlin, saying, “Ich bin ein Berliner.”

June 1987: Ronald Regan becomes the second US president to make an historic speech in Berlin, this time in front of the Brandenburg Gate. He echoes Kennedy’s devotion to preserving democracy. His exhortation – “Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall” – would become a catchphrase.

August 1989: The Eastern Bloc shows signs of weakening, with Hungary removing its border bloc with Austria. Thousands of East Germans escape to the West via Austria.

September 1989: East Germans begin organizing peaceful “Monday demonstrations” weekly in protest against the GDR government.

September-November 1989: Protests agitating for loosened border controls increase in number in the GDR.

October 18, 1989: Erich Honecker, who had ruled since 1971, resigns. His departure leaves open the possibility for looser border controls.

November 9: The GDR politburo, seeing the impossibility of maintaining a firm hand, agrees to a minor concession allowing limited travel across the border.

At a press conference announcing the decision, a politburo member who had just learned of the policy mistakenly says that is immediately effective. In fact, it was to take effect the next day, in order to inform the border guards ahead of time.

Thousands of East Berliners flock to the checkpoints and attempt to cross the border, overwhelming the guards by their numbers.

People begin picking away at the wall by hand.

1989-1991: Dismantling of the wall continues, carried out by the military.

December 1990: The first democratic elections open to all of Germany. Helmut Kohl becomes chancellor of the unified Germany.

Date created : 2009-10-23

Comments

COMMENT(S)