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Why was Berlin so likely to become a flash point in the Cold War?

Because it was located inside the Eastern Block, which is the countries belonging to the Warsaw Pact, but it was partially controlled by America.


Why did so many refugees flee to West Germany through Berlin?

Because the East German government was extremely unpopular. West Germany was also highly attractive as its citizens enjoyed greater freedom and wealth than those of East Germany.


How many refugees fled from East Berlin to West Berlin and then on to West Germany?

Between 1949 and 1961, 2.7 million East German refugees, many of whom were highly skilled, escaped to West Germany.


Who was the leader of the USSR during the Berlin crisis?



Why was Khrushchev concerned about the refugee problem from East Berlin into West Berlin?

Because it was a propaganda disaster as it showed many people preferred the capitalist West to the communist east.


What was Khrushchev's ultimatum?

In November 1958, Khrushchev declared that the whole of the city of Berlin officially belonged to East Germany. He also issued an ultimatum, giving US troops six months to withdraw, Khrushchev's plan was to prevent East Germans fleeing to the west and to humiliate the USA.


What was President Eisenhower's response to Khrushchev's ultimatum?

Eisenhower did not want to lose West Berlin, but neither did he want to start a war. Consequently, it was agreed to hold an international meeting in order to discuss the future of Berlin.


What was the Geneva Summit?

This was a meeting between representatives from the USA and the USSR. It took place in May 1959. No solution to the problem was agreed at this meeting. However, it did lay the groundwork for Khrushchev to the USA and hold face-to-face talks with Eisenhower.


Describe what happened when Eisenhower and Khrushchev met at camp David after the Geneva Summit.

In September 1959, Khrushchev and Eisenhower met at a second summit meeting in Camp David. During the summit, the two leaders spoke frankly. Despite not agreeing a solution to the problem, it was decided that a further summit meeting would be held the following year between the two leaders. Also, Khrushchev agreed to withdraw his six-month ultimatum.


Describe the Paris Summit.

This meeting took place in Paris in May 1960, but was a disaster. Just before the conference the USSR had shot down an American spyplane over Russia and captured its pilot. Khrushchev walked out of the conference in protest when Eisenhower refused to apologise for the incident.


When was the Paris Summit?

May 1960 in Paris, France.


When was the Geneva Summit?

May, 1959.


Who was at the Geneva Summit in May 1959?

Representatives from the USA and the USSR.


Who became president of USA in 1961?

John F. Kennedy.


Describe the Vienna conference of June 1961.

John F. Kennedy and Khrushchev met in Vienna in June 1961, neither side wanted to back down about the US military presence in Berlin. Khrushchev tried to exploit Kennedy's inexperience and gave the USA another six-month ultimatum to remove their troops from Berlin.


How did Kennedy react when Khrushchev gave another six-month ultimatum for Kennedy to remove American troops from Berlin after the Vienna conference in June 1961?

He refused to back down: he also prepared America for war, committing the American government to an extra $3.2 billion on defence spending. More worrying, Kennedy decided to spend an extra $207 million on nuclear fallout shelters.


At what point was the arms race between the USSR and the USA at the time of the Berlin crisis in 1961?

America had almost 20 times more nuclear weapons than the USSR. Also, American nuclear weapons were able to reach the USSR, whereas Soviet weapons could not reach America.


After Kennedy refused to back down, why did Khrushchev avoid a war with the USA and decide to build the wall?

He realised that America had more nuclear-weapons which were able to reach the USSR. Also, Khrushchev realised he could not force the Americans to leave West Berlin. However, he still had to solve the refugee problem.


What was a short-term effect of the barbed wire fence?

Soviet tanks were sent to block further western access to the east, causing a day-long stand off with US tanks on 27th October 1961. Finally, after 18 hours, the tanks pulled back one by one. The crisis has passed.


When was the Berlin Wall started?

On the night of 12 August 1961, East German troops secretly erected a barbed wire fence around the whole of West Berlin (96 miles).


What did President John F. Kennedy say about the Berlin Wall?

He said: "it's not a very nice solution, but a wall is a hell of a lot better than a war."


What was the impact of the Berlin Wall regarding refugees?

The wall stop East Germans escaping to the west and therefore ended the refugee crisis.


What was the impact of the Berlin Wall regarding the image of Khrushchev?

It allowed him to avoid war with America but he still appeared to be a strong leader.


What was the symbolic impact of the Berlin Wall?

The Berlin Wall became a powerful symbol of the division of Germany and the division of Europe.


Describe Kennedy's visit to Berlin.

In 1963, President Kennedy toured West Berlin, expressing his feelings of solidarity with its people. Kennedy said: "All free men, wherever they live, are citizens of Berlin and therefore as a free man, I take pride in the words Ich bin ein Berliner." West Berlin had become a symbol of freedom.


Describe the key features of the building of the Berlin Wall.

The Berlin Wall was started on 12th August 1961, when East German soldiers erected a barbed wire fence all around East Berlin (96 miles).

By August 16th, the barbed wire was being removed and replaced with a wall of concrete blocks. Within days, West Berlin was surrounded by a wall four meters high and 111 kilometers long. The Wall had 300 watch towers manned by selected border guards (the ZOPO) and 50 bunkers. By the end of August, the Wall seemed all but impossible to cross.


How did the East German authorities explain the building of the wall?h

The East German authorities tried to explain away the Wall by claiming that the West was using West Berlin as a centre for spying and that the Wall was for keeping out spies. They called the Wall “the anti-fascist protection barrier”.