Paris Agar, Art Curator, Cold War and Late 20th-Century Conflict
Friday 15 November 2019

Life in Divided Berlin

Life in Divided Berlin

The Berlin Wall was under the constant surveillance of armed East German border guards who were authorised to shoot anyone attempting to escape into West Berlin. Though construction  began in 1961, the wall would divide the city until 1989.

But what was life like in divided Berlin?

Berlin Wall 30

The opening of the Berlin Wall. The West German flag flies over the Brandenburg Gate, with a graffiti covered section of the Berlin Wall in the foreground in early 1990. The marks on the wall left by hundreds of Berliners chipping away at the concrete are clearly visible. By the end of 1990, much of the Wall had been demolished.
Cold War
8 Photos Of The Fall Of The Berlin Wall
On 9 November 1989, government spokesman Gunter Schabowski announced at a press conference that every citizen of East Germany would be allowed to travel to the West, effective immediately.
What was the Berlin Wall? Thumbnail
Cold War
Berlin Wall 30: What Was The Berlin Wall?
Patrolled by guards and dogs, illuminated by floodlights and fortified by barbed wire and watchtowers, the Wall divided Berlin for 28 years.
A man chips away at a part of the Berlin Wall. Grafffiti above him reads 'Build Doors Not Walls.' Still from the NATO film collection.
Cold War
The Rise and Fall of the Berlin Wall on Film
As the 30th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall approaches, explore our timeline of key events in the Wall’s history using IWM’s film collection.