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5. The Rise of the Berlin Wall, 1961
About this Lecture
In this module, we think about the event that led to the erection of the Berlin Wall on 13 August 1961, focusing in particular on: (i) the extent to which the Berlin Wall was seen as a symbol of the oppression of the East German regime; (ii) the problem of Republikflucht ('flight from the Republic') in the 1950s, and the potential solutions to stem to flow of emigration; (iii) the reasons people were leaving East Germany to head to the west – was it always an act of political protest?; (iv) the impact of the fortification of the Inner German border on 1952; (v) the reasons for the Russians' reluctance to impose a hard border in Berlin; (vi) the impact of President Kennedy's frosty meeting with Nikita Khrushchev at the Vienna Summit in 1961; (vii) Walter Ulbricht's discussion with Nikita Khrushchev on 1 August 1961; (viii) the implementation of a physical barrier on 13 August 1961; and (ix) the reaction of the west to the imposition of a hard border in Berlin – both immediately and in the longer-term.
In this course, Professor Patrick Major (University of Reading) explores the history of East Germany from the end of the Second World War to the fall of the Berlin Wall on 9 November 1989. In the first module, we think about the origins of East Germany in the years immediately following the Second World War. After that, we think about Stalin's blockade of Berlin between May 1948 and June 1949 and the Berlin Airlift, before turning in the third module to consider the economy of East Germany between 1948-89. In the fourth module, we focus on the anti-government protests that took place across East Germany on 17 June 1953, before turning in the fifth module to consider the events that led to the erection of the Berlin Wall on 13 August 1961. Finally, in the sixth module, we think about the events that led to the fall of the Berlin Wall and the end of East Germany.
Patrick Major is Professor of History at the University of Reading. His research interests are primarily the political, social and cultural history of divided Germany in the Cold War. He has recently completed a large project on the rise and fall of the Berlin Wall, and is currently undertaking a project on Anglo-American and German film depictions of 'bad Nazis' and 'good Germans', which has been funded by the British Academy.
Cite this Lecture
Major, P. (2021, March 23). Germany – East Germany, 1945-89 - The Rise of the Berlin Wall, 1961 [Video]. MASSOLIT. https://www.massolit.io/courses/germany-east-germany-1945-89/the-rise-of-the-berlin-wall-1961
Major, Patrick. "Germany – East Germany, 1945-89 – The Rise of the Berlin Wall, 1961." MASSOLIT, uploaded by MASSOLIT, 23 Mar 2021, https://www.massolit.io/courses/germany-east-germany-1945-89/the-rise-of-the-berlin-wall-1961