TheEconomic Effects of the Berlin Wall after the Cold War
Thedisintegration of the Allied powers led to the development of tworegions with different ideologies. After their victory in 1945, theSoviet Union, the United States, and the Great Britain decided todivide Germany into three regions/zones of occupation (US Departmentof State). Berlin was considered the base of the Allied ControlCouncil and was responsible for policy implementation in all regions.The Soviet base surrounded the former German capital. Sovietactivities in Eastern Europe (between 1944 and 1945), however, led toa cold war. In 1948, after the communists seized Czechoslovakia, theWestern allies opted out of their initial agreement with the USSR inGermany. Western allies resorted to the creation of West Germany.Berlin came to be a supreme danger spot during the Cold War (Friedman6). East Germans interested in relocating from the economicallydepressed East Germany to the free and economically prosperous WestGermany used Berlin as an escape hatch. Nikita Khrushchev, Stalin`ssuccessor, realized that East Germany`s demographic losses wereunacceptable. Thus, he badgered the USSR to close the opening thathelped East Germans to cross to the West. Consequently, the periodbetween 1960 and 1961 saw the influx of East German refugees intoWest Germany (Friedman 7). To staunch this flow, the East Germanadministration erected a wall that divided Berlin in half. The BerlinWall had a substantial effect on the economic prosperity of both Eastand West Berlin.
Thiswriting will investigate an answer to the question "whateconomic impacts did the Berlin wall have on the economic prosperityof West Berlin and East Berlin?” The paper will follow thefollowing layout. The first topic statement will be "the BerlinWall sealed East Germany from the economically friendly policies thatthe Western allies implemented in West Germany." The secondtopic statement will be "the Berlin Wall was a constant reminderto many Western Germans and Western powers that Germany had beendivided in a manner that could only be viewed as unnatural, but theysubtly acknowledged it and proceeded with the creation of theEuropean community." The third topic statement will be "afterthe fall of the Berlin Wall, everyone started suspecting each otherwith the primary assumption being that the West Germans would crossover to the East and begin claiming that the environment was dirty,and the region was economically backward."
TheBerlin Wall was a Symbol of Oppression. The Berlin Wall sealed EastGermany from the economically friendly policies that the Westernallies implemented in West Germany. The two predominantly diverseideological positions of East and West Germany brought the distincteconomic differences between East Germany and West Germany intoperspective. The Berlin Wall was a symbol of historical divisionsthat were decades-old (Carmichael and Brewer). The wall brought analienated city, inside a divided nation, into view. Essentially, EastGermany was depressed economically and a dictatorship. West Germany,on the other hand, had a system of administration that hadsubstantial provisions for freedom and was economically prosperous(Friedman 5). The Western allies helped West Germany to recover fromthe ills of World War II while the Soviets concentrated on seekingreparations from the already embattled East Germany this crippledthe East German economy even further. Thus, most East Germans optedto relocate to the region that offered them more freedom andfinancial independence. Consequently, Nikita Khrushchev, Stalin’ssuccessor, came to the realization that the demographic lossesstemming from the massive influx of East Germans to West Germany werenot acceptable this prompted the East German administration tobadger the USSR to take a firm stance and close the Berlin entrance(Friedman 5). An elaborate and ugly wall, as a consequence, waserected, cutting the city in half.
TheBerlin Wall imposed numerous deprivations to the East Germancommunity. The Berlin Wall was a permanent reminder to most WesternGermans and Western powers that Germany had been divided in a mannerthat could only be viewed as unnatural, but they subtly acknowledgedit and proceeded with the creation of the European community. TheBerlin Wall prompted the Western powers to negotiate for measuresthat would help alleviate the economic deprivations that the wallimposed. In 1975, the United States, together with its Europeancounterparts and the USSR, came to an agreement that was called theHelsinki Accords (Friedman 8). The first two accords confirmed thatthe Berlin Wall had detrimental economic effects this grantedlegitimacy to the de facto boundary modifications that were made inpostwar Central Europe, and the third part (third basket) held thatall signatories had to respect the basic civic and human rights oftheir citizens. Concerning the third basket, the Soviet Unionreceived some reassurances since the third part of the agreementoffered rebel movements in the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe bitsof legal protection and moral encouragement. In the previous years,Soviets’ tanks had crushed violent demonstrations that had beenstaged against regimes, for example, in 1953 in East Germany, inHungary and Poland in 1956, and in Czechoslovakia in 1968 (Friedman8). After Helsinki, groups of discreet, heroic, and peacefuldissidents, as highlighted in Viclav Havel’s Charter 1977 inCzechoslovakia, began getting more power in Soviet dictatorships. Agradual realization of the formation of civil societies was startingto emerge, inspired by a sense of power due to the changing politicaltides. This change was relatively influential to the development ofthese economies since leaders could articulate the issues facing themasses. However, as much as these groups were admirable and essentialto spurring economic growth, they did not have enough muscle to alterthe repressive status quo that had been imposed by the regimes inpower (Friedman 8). To bring the desired changes to being changesalso had to be made at the top, which only came with the historicallyrare and concurrent appearance of political and spiritual leaders whohad knowledge of the numbing impacts of life that is lived instagnations – impoverished, restricted, and uncreative.
Thefall of the Berlin Wall sparked suspicion. After the fall of theBerlin Wall, everyone started suspecting each other with the primaryassumption being the West Germans would cross over to the East andbegin claiming that the environment was dirty, and the region waseconomically backward. The few travelers to East Germany in the earlyand mid-eighties were those who realized the essence of WestGermany`s unification with the East. No ordinary German traveled toEast Germany since the majority of them were afraid of neverreturning (Arton 7). The East Germans in the West were scared ofvisiting their relatives because they escaped to the West withoutformal approval thus, they were considered criminals in EastGermany. Also, when the West German officials went to the East onstate-sponsored visits, they were only exposed to the bestaccommodation and services that the Socialist State could pay for.Traveling through the Eastern Socialist States was a worryingexperience during the 1970s and 1980s, because of the economicdisparities that vacationers were exposed to (Arton 7). Hungary wasthe most prosperous and liberal state of all the satellite states,although Bulgaria was somewhat quiet and relatively comfortablebecause of her sturdy agricultural base. Travelers in East Germanyalso organized trips, but they were always careful during travels andobserved local rules carefully when enjoying the sites of cities, thecountryside and villages however, these persons avoided authoritieswhenever they could. Even before leaving their homes, the West Germantourists knew that the conditions in East Germany were oppressive andnot welcoming (Arton 7). One had to wait several hours at the borderto get a visa that allowed him to visit Czechoslovakia and Hungary,and even when one managed to visit these areas, he could only go torestricted areas.
TheBerlin Wall had a substantial effect on the economic prosperity ofboth East and West Berlin. The Berlin Wall was a sign of thehistorical disunions that were decades-old. The wall brought anestranged city, within a divided nation, into sight. Essentially,East Germany was backward economically and dominated by adictatorship. West Germany, conversely, had a structure of governmentthat hadconsiderable provisions for freedom, in addition to beingeconomically prosperous. The Western allies aided West Germany torecuperate from the troubles of World War II while the Sovietsfocused on pursuing reparations from the already beleaguered EastGermany this brought the economy of East Germany to its knees.
Arton."THE RISE AND FALL OF THE BERLIN WALL." (2009):4. L&MS2009ARTON.Web. <http://www.bywaystravel.info/DLB04FallOfTheWall.pdf>.
Carmichael,Neil, and Brewer, Thompson. "The 1961 Berlin Crisis." NationalArchives and Records Administration.N.p., 2011. Web. 8 Aug. 2016.<https://www.archives.gov/publications/prologue/2011/fall/berlin.html>.
Friedman,Michael Jay. "The Berlin Wall: 20 Years Later." (2009):2. U.S.DEPARTMENT OF STATE.Web.<http://photos.state.gov/libraries/amgov/30145/publications-english/the-berlin-wall.pdf>.
U.S.Department of State. "Allied Occupation of Germany,1945-52." U.S.Department of State.N.p., 2009. Web. 8 Aug. 2016.<http://2001-2009.state.gov/r/pa/ho/time/cwr/107189.htm>.