Why Was the Berlin Wall Taken Down?

berlin_wall_2There were many reasons why the Berlin Wall was taken down. For the most part, a combination of economic and social changes brought it about.

Why the Structure was Built

The end of World War II marked the onset of the Cold War. The nations of Eastern Europe sided with the Soviet Union. Those in Western Europe allied themselves with the US. At the time, the eastern portion of Germany was in Soviet control. The western half was in the hands of the US. The nation was divided into East and West Germany. The wall was the line that separated them.

Changes in the Soviet Union

The reasons why the Berlin Wall was taken down initially had nothing to do with German policies. The events in the Soviet Union led to its fall.

In 1985, Mikhail Gorbachev became the leader of the USSR. His rise to power was marked by history changing policies. This included perestroika. Ostensibly it was meant to increase labor efficiency. The end result was loosening of central control in economic planning in Russia.

The second policy was that of glasnost. It meant that people could discuss problems more efficiently. This allowed people to discuss issues more openly.

Effect on East Germans

This had a profound effect in East Germany. The people demanded that the rights being given to the Soviets be afforded them too. Thus, the major reasons why the Berlin Wall was taken down were due to outside factors. In particular, the events in the Soviet Union influenced their policies.

This resulted in mass demonstrations. In 1989, the leaders of the German Democratic Republic Party resigned amidst public unrest. Other government officials soon followed.

The new officials in place then announced changes in economic policies. The government also stated that the wall would be opened for public use. This policy enabled citizens to travel to West Germany. Officially the country was still functioning under the Communist Party. But the signs were unmistakable; the people and government were moving away from it.

Dismantling the Wall

On November 9 1989, people were permitted to dismantle the structure. The people used axes and other tools to bring it down piece by piece. It was only in July 1990 when the last piece was removed.

Free Elections and Reunification

Another reason why the Berlin Wall was taken down included a shift over to the democratic way of life. In March 1990, free elections were held in East Germany. This would pave the way for reunification talks. In October 1990, Germany became one country again.

Even before the two sides were reunited, people from the east were already moving into the west. The unification of the land only made it official.

The unification was not perfect. The newly reunited nation faced economic problems. The eastern section was beset with economic difficulties. These were problems that the west inherited.

However these troubles were worked out. The reason why the Berlin Wall was taken down was to help bring about prosperity in a democratic setting. In this regard, the Germans were able to succeed.

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