Think back to our earlier work on Germany and Berlin. Think back to our earlier work on Germany and Berlin


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Think back to our earlier work on Germany and Berlin.

  • Think back to our earlier work on Germany and Berlin.

  • When had Germany been divided into East and West?

  • How had Berlin been divided?





The Berlin Wall had been erected in August 1961, at the height of Cold War tensions. It completely sealed off the people of West Berlin from East Germany. The wall became the most famous symbol of the Cold War.

  • The Berlin Wall had been erected in August 1961, at the height of Cold War tensions. It completely sealed off the people of West Berlin from East Germany. The wall became the most famous symbol of the Cold War.

  • Why had it been built?





Gorbachev’s announcement of the end of the Brezhnev Doctrine was of particular concern to the East German regime, led by Erich Honecker.

  • Gorbachev’s announcement of the end of the Brezhnev Doctrine was of particular concern to the East German regime, led by Erich Honecker.

  • The creation of East Germany had been the result of superpower tensions and hostility after the Second World War.

  • As an ‘artificial’ country, East Germany was more reliant on the USSR for support than other regimes in Eastern Europe.

  • Large numbers of East Germans had already fled to the West through Hungary during the summer of 1989 and the desire for change was spreading rapidly across Eastern Europe.



How would you expect Gorbachev to be received by the people of East Germany?

  • How would you expect Gorbachev to be received by the people of East Germany?

  • How do you think the leaders of East Germany felt about Gorbachev and his reforms?



Gorbachev was received like a hero by the people of East Berlin, who abandoned approved slogans and instead shouted ‘Gorby, help us! Gorby stay here!’ much to the embarrassment of the representatives of the East German regime.

  • Gorbachev was received like a hero by the people of East Berlin, who abandoned approved slogans and instead shouted ‘Gorby, help us! Gorby stay here!’ much to the embarrassment of the representatives of the East German regime.

  • The leadership was unhappy. They knew that Gorbachev’s reforms were already threatening the stability of the regime, and could soon bring about its demise.



Even with public disturbances becoming more widespread, Erich Honecker refused to contemplate reform of any kind, which was making the people angrier.

  • Even with public disturbances becoming more widespread, Erich Honecker refused to contemplate reform of any kind, which was making the people angrier.

  • The rest of the East German Politburo realised that they needed to act. They forced the removal of Erich Honecker from office, in the hope that this would signal that they were ready to consider reforms.



With mass demonstrations on the streets of East German cities, the pressure for reform now became unstoppable.

  • With mass demonstrations on the streets of East German cities, the pressure for reform now became unstoppable.

  • How could the East German government put an end to these protests? Earlier in the year, the Chinese government had responded to similar demonstrations by using force – the massacre of protestors in Tiananmen Square had illustrated one method of dealing with the situation. (pictured right)

  • Would the East German government take the same approach?



The new East German leader, Egon Krenz, refused to sanction widespread repression, and, amidst growing chaos, decided to open access across the Berlin Wall.

  • The new East German leader, Egon Krenz, refused to sanction widespread repression, and, amidst growing chaos, decided to open access across the Berlin Wall.

  • Due to a misreading of the instructions surrounding the travel conditions, people began flocking to the Wall immediately that its opening was announced.





Events followed quickly from the fall of the Berlin Wall. The government of East Germany was shocked by the pace of events, and revelations of corruption weakened the Communist Party.

  • Events followed quickly from the fall of the Berlin Wall. The government of East Germany was shocked by the pace of events, and revelations of corruption weakened the Communist Party.

  • But would Germany be allowed to reunite? The USSR had been against this happening, after all, East and West Germany were members of different military alliances…



Following election results in East Germany in March 1990 that showed huge support for parties favouring unification, Gorbachev accepted that this was the desire of the people both in East and West Germany.

  • Following election results in East Germany in March 1990 that showed huge support for parties favouring unification, Gorbachev accepted that this was the desire of the people both in East and West Germany.

  • The Chancellor of West Germany, Helmut Kohl, then persuaded Gorbachev to accept a reunified Germany with NATO membership.

  • The USSR gave up any claim to occupy German soil.












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