The Berlin Wall as a Symbol of the Cold War
Purpose of constructing the Berlin wall was separation of East Germany from West Germany though it never served as a mere separation of these cities but the separation politico-economic ideologies of capitalism and communism. The statement commonly used, that the wall not only divided the cities but the world effectively described the situation surrounding its construction. The intention of this paper is to describe circumstances leading to construction of the wall. It shows the relationship between the wall and tensions that lead to the cold war decision of Europe between 1945 and 1989.
The wall was a representation of the differences in existence between the US which to a great extent, was largely capitalist and the Soviet Union which followed communist ideals. As World War II came to an end, ideologies that had already been set aside for purposes of fighting common enemies begun resurfacing within Europe. The conflicts arose due to divergence in political and economic ideologies. The world powers at that time, including Britain, US, Soviet Union and France had an issue of concern which was how Europe would be geopolitically divided. The Soviet Union was also concerned the US and her allies were spreading capitalist ideas throughout the continent and was opposed to such advances.
Soon after World War II, the 4 powers made the decision to divide the world into sectors of control and as such, they jointly occupied Germany. They also divided Germany into areas they autonomously controlled. Berlin, the capital city was also divided into different regions and the section governed by Britain, US and France was formalized into Federal Republic of Germany while the section under Soviet military control became the Democratic Republic of Germany.
These divisions in Berlin symbolize economic and political tensions existing in a world that was already divided. The cold war, in 1948 took a fresh turn when the Soviet Union cordoned West Berlin off completely. This means supplies could be transported across the region and the US reacted causing tensions lasting close to a whole year. East Germans, in 1961 together with soviets erected a wall through use of barbed wire and concrete to divide east from West as such, effectively barring the Berliners in the east from crossing to the west as was the case on a yearly basis.
The major objective of erecting the wall was preventing the Eastern Berliners from migration to the west since the capitalist West Berlin was deemed successful and majority of the skilled workers from the east were migrating to the west so as to share in the prosperity. This caused tension between capitalism and communism; that is capitalism was viewed as superior economic ideal following East Berliners’ propensity to cross to the west.
The Berlin wall, remains an essential symbol of the Cold war since just as the Berlin cordon and subsequent wall erection, it signified the start of the war while collapse of the wall signified its end. In the same manner, the wall divided the east from the west, the cold war also divided Europe between states that were allied to capitalist America and those allied to Communist Soviet Union.
Individuals interested in understanding the current events in geopolitical area must first of all, consider getting a closer look into the Cold War since its history has great insights.