TBW - Events Leading Up to the Wall - Refugee Prob
East German gov. were very unpopular so many EG fled to the West. In 1949-61, 2.7million EG left, mainly because:
- dissatifaction with the conditions of a communist government, s.a. forced collectivisation of agriculture, end of private trading, lack of consumer goods (easily bought in the West)
- wages and standard of living higher in the west
- no censorship or secret police in the west
- the proseperity of the west could easily be seen as it was possible for Beliners to travel from one sie to the other
Eventually the loss of refugees became the brain drain - the highly educated and skilled people the eastern blc couldnt afford to loose if it wanted to modernise it's industry
The scale of people leaving was a propaganda disaster for Krushchev and Communism, as it showed people preffered Capitalism than Communsim.
---> Lead to Krushchev's Challenge
TBW - Events Leading Up to the Wall - Krushchev's
The refugee crisis and brain drain was a propaganda disaster for Krushchev and he had to fix it. He said that the whole of Berlin officially belonged to EG and gave US troops 6 months to withdraw.
He did this to prevent EG leaving and and humiliate the USA.
The USA were unsure what to do as they didnt want war but didnt want to lose West Germany. Eisenhower agreed to hold an international meeting to discuss Berlin's future.
In response to this, Krushchev dropped his 6 month ultimatum.
--> This lead to the 4 summits
TBW - Events Leading Up to the Wall - The Four Sum
Geneva - Summer of 1959
Eisenhower and Krushchev met but were unale to come up with a solution. They agree to keep talking
Camp David - September 1959
Met at Eisenhower's summer retreat - but again were unable to agree.
Paris - May 1960
A disaster. The U2 Crisis happened just before and K walke out when E refused to apologise
Vienna - June 1961
Neither side backed down. Krushchev saw Kennedy as inexperienced & ∴ weak. He thought Kennedy would back down if pushed so reintroduced his 6 moth ultimatum or war. Kennedy refused this and prepare for war, commiting an extra $3.2 billion to US defence spending.
TBW - Events Leading Up to the Wall - The U2 Crisi
A U2 spy plane was a plane fitted with a high quality camera and the best cloaking devices availible at the time.
One was shot down over Russia on May 1960 and the pilot, Gary Powers, was captured.
The US tried to cover it up but Powers admitted to spying.
Krushchev demanded an apology but Eisenhower refused to give one
---> leading to the breakdown of the Paris Summit of May 1960
TBW - Building the Wall - 13th August 1961
Krushchev knew the USSR couldn't win a nuclear war. In 1961, the USA had 20x more nuclear weapons than the USSR.
Krushchev acted, and without warning on the 13th August 1961, troops began buiding a wall surrounding West Berlin.
At first, it was just a wire fence but by the 17th August it was a stone wall.
All movement between East and West stopped.
The Wall became highly guarded.
TBW - Effects of the Wall
- reduced flow of refugees
- allowed Krushchev to avoid war while still appearing strong
- Became a powerful symbolof the division of europe
In some ways, it improved relations as it stopped the flow of refugees and was a clear dividing line.