Cold War
History of Germany
Berlin Wall

Did the Berlin Wall resolve Germany's problems?


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November 04, 2010 6:25PM

The Berlin Wall was not meant to solve Germany's problems. It was meant to resolve the issue of Germany -as- a problem.

After WWII Germany was partitioned. England, France, and the U.S got West Germany and Russia got East Germany. Russia wanted to dismantle Germany so that there would never be another World War. (Germany started the Second World War and was unfairly held responsible for the First World War.) They also wanted to turn Germany into a security-zone, a sort of buffer against any future invasion from the West.

This was a problem because the Americans had a very different goal in mind. They wanted to rebuild Germany and establish a functioning, democratic system so that the Germans could choose their own destiny and reunify via self-determination. They would be respected as an independent sovereign nation…which the Russians saw as a threat.

At first the Russians wanted to stay forever but it wasn't really an option after a while. So, everyone agreed Germany would eventually have to be reunited and left alone. The United States wanted it reunified as a modern, democratic power. The Russians wanted it reunified as an agricultural, communist power that would ultimately be just another puppet-state in the Soviet Sphere of Influence.

The Americans were afraid that the Russians would want to invade West Germany and take over by force. They were also worried that after turning over power to the German people they would willingly go red. When Russia built the Berlin Wall these fears were assuaged. It sent a message to the world that Russia was not in a position to annex West Germany and that the German people did not -want- communism. They had to be -made- to accept it with a concrete barrier.

So in this way it was a temporary solution to the "German Problem." As to whether or not it solved Germany's problems (possessive now,) the answer is...sort of yes but mostly know. It depends on what you mean by "Germany's problems."

At the time there was no unified Germany. There was West Germany and East Germany. East Germany had a problem with citizens flooding into West Germany. Doctors, lawyers, scholars, and the likes wanted out. This was an issue because they played a vital role in the community and economy and without them East Germany could not function. So the Russians built the Berlin Wall to keep them in and for the most part it worked. There were occasionally people managing to slip past, but by and large it was effective.

So in that sense, yes. It solved -EAST- Germany's problem with emigration. On the other hand it caused a lot of serious issues and ultimately did more bad than good. As a whole it served to keep Germany disunited until it was finally dismantled.

Incidently, you can still buy pieces of the Berlin wall at gift-shops and the likes.