Berlin Wall Timeline
Timeline Description: For a number of years in the middle of the 20th century, the city of Berlin was divided by a massive wall, separating the two halves of Berlin into East Berlin and West Berlin. Today, Germany is a united country; however, in the years following World War II, the nation, and the city of Berlin, was divided between communist East Germany and democratic West Germany. The Berlin Wall was a symbol of that very division.

Date Event
May 1945 Soviet Red Army Captures Berlin

In May 1945, the Soviet Army was the first to reach the city of Berlin, the final stronghold of Nazi Germany. This marked the defeat of Nazi Germany, and the end of the war in Europe. Berlin was divided into four sectors; French, Soviet, British and American.
July 30, 1946 Germany Divided

In July 1946, Germany was formally divided between the Allies. Britain, France and the United States worked together to establish an independent government. In the east, the Soviets had control.
October 29, 1946 Special Passport Required

Special passports and permissions were required to travel between East and West Berlin by the fall of 1946. People could, however, still travel relatively freely into both East Germany and East Berlin and from East Germany.
June 23, 1948 East German Currency Established

A separate currency was established in East Germany in June 1948. This immediately preceded a number of significant and aggressive changes to the relations between East and West.
June 24, 1948 Berlin Blockade Begins

On June 24, 1948, the Berlin Blockade began. The Soviets disallowed supplies and goods from entering West Berlin. In response, the United States airlifted supplies into West Berlin for a period of several months.
April 4, 1949 NATO Established

In response to growing tensions with the Soviet Union and Eastern Bloc countries, the North Atlantic Treaty Organization or NATO was established to provide for defense and support democracy.
October 7, 1949 German Democratic Republic (East Germany) Proclaimed

On October 7, 1949, East German officials officially proclaimed the existence of the German Democratic Republic, commonly called East Germany or the GDR.
April 1, 1952 Meeting with Stalin

East German officials met with Stalin in April 1952. They were specifically concerned at this time with limiting the movement of East Germans to the West.
May 26, 1952 East German Borders Closed

The East German borders were formally closed, disallowing access from the West in May 1952. This preceded the building of the Berlin Wall, but continues a progressive pattern of isolation.
December 11, 1957 Travel for East Germans Disallowed

By December 11, 1957, East Germans could no longer leave the country to go into West Germany. They could, with permissions, still move between East and West Berlin in a limited capacity.
August 13, 1961 Border between East and West Berlin Closed, First Wall Erected

In August 1961, the border between East and West Berlin was closed. A barbed wire fence was put into place, almost immediately followed by a heavier concrete wall. The wall was guarded, and anyone attempting to escape shot and killed.
December 17, 1963 West Berliners Get Limited Permission to Visit East

In December 1963, West Berliners were given permission to make limited visits to family in East Berlin. Families had, in many cases, been divided by the Berlin Wall.
1965 Third Generation Wall Erected

A larger, heavier and less penetrable wall was erected in 1965. This was the third wall. The first and second merged into a single large wall quite quickly.
1975 Self-Firing Wall Erected(1975-1976)

In 1975 and 1976, a new wall was erected, this one with defense capabilities to reduce escape. Even with the high risk of escape attempts, individuals still attempted to escape East Berlin by crossing the Berlin Wall.
June 12, 1987 U.S. President Reagan Called for the Dismantling of the Wall

In June 1987, President Reagan called on Mikhail Gorbachev, leader of the Soviet Union, to dismantle the Berlin Wall. Gorbachev had been making gradual changes to open up the Soviet Union and allow additional freedoms. In addition, other Soviet-controlled countries, including Hungary, had already opened their borders around this time.
November 9, 1989 Access to West Berlin Opened

Access to West Berlin opened on November 9, 1989. East and West Berliners began to dismantle the Berlin Wall, tearing it down with simple hand tools and shouting, in a quote from U.S. President Kennedy, "Ich bin ein Berliner," or I am a Berliner.
December 22, 1989 Brandenburg Gate Opened

The Brandenburg Gate, closed for so many years, was formally opened in December 1989. The West German Chancellor, Helmut Kohl, walked through the open gate and greeted the Prime Minister of East Germany.
October 23, 1990 Germany Formally Reunified

On October 23, 1990, East and West Germany were no more. The two countries reunified. This is not considered to be a new country, but an expansion of the Federal Republic of Germany, under the government and structures already present in West Germany.