Graffiti on the Berlin Wall, 1988 (photo) / Berlin, Germany / Jean-Francois Claustre

In Pictures: Everything you need to know about the Berlin Wall

9th November 2014 marks the 25th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall. Check out our illustrated timeline for all you need to know about the (literal) rise and fall of this famous barricade.

 

Pre-August 1961

After World War II, Berlin divides into four sectors: an American, British and French sector in the West and a Soviet sector in the East.

 

East German border guards at the border of the Russian and British sectors of Berlin, with the construction of the Berlin Wall in the background, October 1961 (b/w photo) / Berlin, Germany / © Mirrorpix
East German border guards at the border of the Russian and British sectors of Berlin, with the construction of the Berlin Wall in the background, October 1961 (b/w photo) / Berlin, Germany / © Mirrorpix

 

13 August 1961

The border between East and West Berlin closes despite heavy protests. Soldiers begin to build the wall, which starts as light fencing and barbed wire but gradually becomes a complex fortification with watchtowers and gunned patrolmen.

 

Demonstration against the construction of the Berlin Wall outside Schoeneberg Town Hall, Berlin, 16 August 1961 (b/w photo), German School, (20th century) / Deutsches Historisches Museum, Berlin, Germany / © DHM
Demonstration against the construction of the Berlin Wall outside Schoeneberg Town Hall, Berlin, 16 August 1961 (b/w photo), German School, (20th century) / Deutsches Historisches Museum, Berlin, Germany / © DHM

 

Construction of the Berlin Wall at the corner of Lindenstrasse and Zimmerstrasse, 18 August 1961 (b/w photo), German School, (20th century) / Deutsches Historisches Museum, Berlin, Germany / © DHM
Construction of the Berlin Wall at the corner of Lindenstrasse and Zimmerstrasse, 18 August 1961 (b/w photo), German School, (20th century) / Deutsches Historisches Museum, Berlin, Germany / © DHM

 

Building of the Berlin Wall in 1961. Relatives wave at each other across the wall and barbed wire. / Film Images
Building of the Berlin Wall in 1961. Relatives wave at each other across the wall and barbed wire. / Film Images

 

26 June 1963

Former United States President John F. Kennedy makes a speech to more than 450,000 Berliners in Rudolph Wilde Square, vowing to protect the people of West Berlin (“Ich bin ein Berliner”).

 

United States President John F. Kennedy making a speech to more than 450,000 Berliners in Rudolph Wilde Square, 26th June 1963 (b/w photo) / Deutsches Historisches Museum, Berlin, Germany / © DHM
United States President John F. Kennedy making a speech to more than 450,000 Berliners in Rudolph Wilde Square, 26th June 1963 (b/w photo) / Deutsches Historisches Museum, Berlin, Germany / © DHM


1963-1986
 

East and West Germany begin to establish formal diplomatic ties again. By December 1963, West Berliners could visit East Berlin for the first time in two years. Berlin holds a so-called “Call to Arms” to celebrate the 25th anniversary of the building of the Wall, rallying children and soldiers.

 

Children at the so-called Call to Arms to celebrate the 25th anniversary of the building of the Berlin Wall, 1986 (b/w photo) / Berlin, Germany / © H.P. Stiebing
Children at the so-called Call to Arms to celebrate the 25th anniversary of the building of the Berlin Wall, 1986 (b/w photo) / Berlin, Germany / © H.P. Stiebing


4 November 1989
 

A million people attend a pro-democracy demonstration in Alexanderplatz, East Berlin, forcing the East German government to resign days later.

 

Demonstration in Alexanderplatz, Berlin, East Germany, 4th November 1989 (photo) / Berlin, Germany / © H.P. Stiebing
Demonstration in Alexanderplatz, Berlin, East Germany, 4th November 1989 (photo) / Berlin, Germany / © H.P. Stiebing

 

Protesters holding 'Protestdemonstration' banner, in Alexanderplatz, Berlin, East Germany, 4th November 1989 (b/w photo) / Berlin, Germany / © H.P. Stiebing
Protesters holding ‘Protestdemonstration’ banner, in Alexanderplatz, Berlin, East Germany, 4th November 1989 (b/w photo) / Berlin, Germany / © H.P. Stiebing


9 November 1989
 

Border guards in East Berlin stand back as thousands pour into West Berlin; the Wall is pulled down in celebration.

 

Defaced warning sign in front of Berliners from East and West celebrating the opening of the border on the Berlin Wall, Brandenburg Gate, Berlin, 9th November 1989 (photo) / Berlin, Germany / © H.P. Stiebing
Defaced warning sign in front of Berliners from East and West celebrating the opening of the border on the Berlin Wall, Brandenburg Gate, Berlin, 9th November 1989 (photo) / Berlin, Germany / © H.P. Stiebing

 

The fall of the Berlin Wall. People breaking the wall down, being reunited with loved ones and gaining access to the other side. / Buff Film & Video Library
The fall of the Berlin Wall. People breaking the wall down, being reunited with loved ones and gaining access to the other side. / Buff Film & Video Library

 

Border control check the passes of citizens returning to the GDR after having visit West Berlin, Checkpoint Charlie, Bezirk, Kreuzberg, 10th November 1989 (b/w photo) / Berlin, Germany / © H.P. Stiebing
Border control check the passes of citizens returning to the GDR after having visit West Berlin, Checkpoint Charlie, Bezirk, Kreuzberg, 10th November 1989 (b/w photo) / Berlin, Germany / © H.P. Stiebing

 

Aftermaths

East and West are formally reunited on 3rd October 1990. In the 28 years of the Berlin Wall, more than 200 people have died trying to cross over. Many segments of the wall have been given to various institutions around the world, including museums, university and governmental buildings and public spaces. Others have, of course, ended up as souvenirs in giftshops around Berlin.

 

Building of the Berlin Wall, 1961. Civilians attempt to cross it / Buff Film & Video Library
Building of the Berlin Wall, 1961. Civilians attempt to cross it / Buff Film & Video Library

 

A young boy sells pieces of the Berlin Wall, Potsdam Square, Berlin, 10th March 1990 (photo) / Berlin, Germany / © H.P. Stiebing
A young boy sells pieces of the Berlin Wall, Potsdam Square, Berlin, 10th March 1990 (photo) / Berlin, Germany / © H.P. Stiebing


Find out more

See all Berlin Wall images and clips in the Bridgeman archive

All images in this article are sourced from www.bridgemanimages.com. Contact the Bridgeman sales team (uksales@bridgemanimages.com) for more information regarding licensing, reproduction and copyright issues.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

*