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The Berlin Wall

Explore the Rise and Fall of the Berlin Wall with the Following Lesson Plans, Activites, and Resources

Found in: Social Studies, Grades 9-12

On November 9, 1989 the Berlin Wall fell. First constructed in August 1961, the wall divided East and West Berlin and stopped the post-war flow of defectors (an estimated 3.5 million) from the Communist East to the Democratic West. In the 28 years it stood, the wall thwarted an estimated 5,000 defectors. Between 100 and 200 people died in the attempt to reach freedom. These lessons, resources, interactives, images, and videos will help recreate the mood of the Cold War and the wall that became a striking symbol of it.

Lesson Plans

  • The Origins of the Cold War, 1945-1949 Three lessons for students in grades 9-12 examine the origins of the cold war; the strategy of containment; and the Berlin blockade, the airlift of 1948, and the establishment of NATO..
  • Making the History of 1989: The Fall of Communism in Eastern Europe
    Students in grades 9-12 explore Nationalism and its role in the end of the Soviet Union.
  • From Concrete to Memory: Scrapbooking the Berlin Wall
    Students in grades 9-12 consider how ordinary citizens contributed to and experienced the fall of the Berlin Wall. They then develop scrapbooks depicting how people experienced the wall and use the books as symbolic bricks in building a classroom Berlin Wall.
  • The Fall of the Berlin Wall
    Students in grades 9-12 examine the events that led to the building and, eventually, the fall of the Berlin Wall, and then write a manifesto calling for democracy and the tearing down of the Berlin Wall.
  • Art & The Berlin Wall
    Students in grades 9-12 explore the relationship between Cold War politics, the people who were affected by it, and the artists who examined it. They then use the Berlin Wall as a model to create their own "walls." 

Background Resources

  • Chronicle of the Berlin Wall (1961-1989)
    The most comprehensive multi-media source of information on the Berlin Wall available at the present time. It includes secondary literature, lists of links and films, original sound and reports from East and West, as well as a chronology of the history of the Wall and numerous text sources.
  • Berlin Wall (NYT)
    Articles, images, interactives. multimedia.
  • The Berlin Wall
    Aerial photographs, maps, 3D Wall course, and flyover of the Berlin Wall.  
  • The Fall of the Berlin WallWhat It Meant To Be There.
  • The Cold War in Berlin
    Two years after the construction of the Berlin Wall, President Kennedy paid a historic visit to Berlin to challenge Soviet oppression and offer hope to the people of the divided city. Includes video of Kennedy’s 1963 "Ich bin ein Berliner" speech in Rudolph Wilde Platz, renamed John F. Kennedy Platz after his assassination.





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