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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 Berlin Wall
Students in grades 9-12 investigate the background and history of the division of Berlin after WWII, the building and the fall of the Berlin Wall, and the final reunification of Germany.

Lesson Plan: Berlin and the Cold War
Students in grades 9-12 analyze and describe how the events that occurred in the City of Berlin are symbolic of the Cold War.

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.

The Berlin Wall
Aerial photographs, maps, 3D Wall course, and flyover of the Berlin Wall.
Special Report: Fall of the Berlin Wall |  Special reports | guardian.co.uk
Includes an interactive guide to the fall of the Berlin Wall.

Newseum: The Berlin Wall
Online exhibit with images, essay,and quiz.

The Fall of the Wall — New Perspectives on 1989
What does it feel like for someone out shopping in the food hall of Berlin’s famous KaDeWe department store when they bump into their former interrogator of the Stasi — the GDR’s secret police? The 1989/2009 dossier has compiled people’s experiences from both East and West - it looks back at German history and at the same time opens up new perspectives.

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.

Images

The Berlin Wall: Rise and Fall
Slide show with 41 images.

The Lost Border
Photographs of the Berlin Wall. Click home to see images of the greater Iron Curtain.

The Berlin Wall
A web photo exhibition.

The Berlin Wall and its art six months before its fall | Berlin Wall Art
Photographed in May of 1989, this collection has been acclaimed as the last and most complete record of the social, political, and artistic expressions of the wall surrounding the city of West Berlin.

The Rise and Fall of the Berlin Wall  - Photo Essays
Includes a discussion of Ronald Reagan’s 1987 “Tear Down This Wall” speech.

Interactives

The Berlin Wall through Time - Interactive Feature - NYTimes.com
Berlin Wall sites 1989 and 2009.

Memorial landscape Berlin Wall
An interactive Geographic Information System based on a detailed survey of 2007/2008, and supplemented by information on the function of the border elements and by photo documentation from the years 1988/89 to demonstrate the extent of the former border installation.

Test Yourself: Berlin Wall History
A pop quiz on the Berlin Wall. Some questions are easy, others hard.

Special News Quiz | Berlin Wall History
Answer the ten questions, each of which is based on past or recent Times reporting on the Berlin Wall. After answering a question, click on the related resource to see the original or a related article.

Video

Explore the former inner German border (Berlin Wall) with a descriptive animation. (10:21)

Berlin Wall: 20 years on | World news | The Guardian
From the building of the wall to its demolition. Parts 1-5 (approx 35 Min)

Escape from Berlin
A five-part documentary on YouTube on tunneling under the Berlin

The Wall
Part 1: A World Divided. (56:53)
Part 2: A World United. (56:40)

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