The Rise and Fall of the Berlin Wall
1945 - Berlin Broken into Sections8 May 1945 – While the hostilities of World War II and the Race to Berlin are declared over, Berlin is broken into four sectors. The American, British and French sectors are in the West of the city and the Russian sector is in the East.
1948 - Berlin Blockade24 June 1948 – In an attempt to force the Western powers to vacate Berlin, Russia closes off road and rail supply routes to the city through their territory in Germany. The efforts to claim the city exclusively for themselves would ultimately fail.
1948 - Berlin Airlift25 June 1948 – In response to the blockade, America, France and Britain coordinate the delivery of a range of supplies, including food, by air. The operation is delivered at great financial cost, but this did serve to humiliate Russia. The blockade is dropped within a year.
East German Security Records11 December 1957 – After mass emigration from East Germany, leaving the country is made illegal, punishable with up to three years in prison. Over the next 30 years it is thought that some 5000 East Berliners crossed the wall despite intense security and surveillance by the state police the Stasi. Records were kept on almost everyone in East German society.
1961 - Berlin Wall Erected13 August 1961 – The border between the East and West is closed and orders given to erect the concrete wall to partition the city. The Brandenburg gate is closed the following day.
1963 - Kennedy Visits Berlin26 June 1963 – President Kennedy visits Berlin during a period of increasing Cold War tension. He tells the crowd “ich bein ein Berliner” (I am a Berliner) and that the United States would not forget West Berlin.
1987 - Reagan Visit12 June 1987 – US President Ronald Reagan visits Berlin to exert pressure on the Berlin Wall issue. In front of the Brandenburg gate he proclaims “Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall!”.
The Wall Falls9 November 1989 – East German authorities give permission for the gates to be reopened after days of mass protest. Jubilant East and West Berliners climb to the top of the wall, tearing apart large pieces of its concrete structure. The Brandenburg gate reopens the following month, and Germany is reunified in 1990.