28-1/4 years! Built in August of 1961 and torn down in November of 1989, the Berlin Wall literally divided a city that was once united. After World War 2, Germany was split up into 4 occupation zones.
Berlin, the most heavily bombed city in history absorbed 67,607.3 tons of bombs during World War 2. This caused incredible devastation to the city; 6,427 acres were lost, 125,000 civilians were killed, Berlin was not having it’s best day.
So the victorious powers (USA, Soviet Union, UK and France) divided the city into four sectors, analogous to the occupation zones. The Soviets on the east formed East Berlin, the UK, USA and France formed West Berlin. All four Allies shared administrative responsibilities for Berlin.
Things were all nice and dandy until 1948, when the Western Allies extended the currency reform in the Western zones of Germany to the three western sectors of Berlin. The Soviet Union was having none of that so they played a power move of blockading access routes to and from West Berlin, which lay entirely inside Soviet-controlled territory. This was like the equivalent of having a roommate you’re pissed at, so you leave a bunch of passive aggressive Post It notes so they get the hint you wanna live on your own.
In 1949, the Federal Republic of Germany was founded in West Germany and included all of the American, British and French zones excluding West Berlin and the Marxist-Leninist German Democratic Republic was proclaimed in East Germany. While Berlin was technically still an occupied shared city, the East and West were politically aligned with their country surrounding them. For example, only American, British and French airlines were allowed access in West Berlin.
These 2 sides went at it like bickering little kids back and forth. In 1949 East Germany proclaimed East Berlin as its capital, a move that was not recognized by the western powers. This is like living in a dorm and having a roomate you can’t stand, you find out they don’t like smell of Axe Body Spray so you make sure to wear as much of it as you can and even use it as air freshener.
By 1961, the 2 cities and countries were engulfed in hardcore Cold War tensions. It was the breaking point. East Germany began the building of the Berlin Wall between East and West Berlin, and events escalated to a tank standoff! The two cities were not bros anymore.
So, that’s how things go sometimes. Tensions rise, people get weird, and finally one of them snaps and does something rash. You’re so sick of each other’s crap that you don’t even want to pretend you once shared so much. You put up a figurative wall and then it becomes a physical wall. That’s it. Gone. They’re ghosted.
West Germany went on to thrive as a wealthy city that was noted for its distinctly liberal and cosmopolitan character, and as a centre of education, research and culture. It became the largest city in all of Germany during the Cold War Era.
In May 1989, when the removal of Hungary’s border fence with Austria opened a hole in the Iron Curtain, thousands of East Germans fled to West Germany and Austria. A peaceful revolution by East Germans then forced a free-election and lead to the unification of Germany. By November it was official and the Berlin Wall was reopened in 1989.
So how else would Germans celebrate? David Hasselhoff of course!!!