The Berlin Wall | A city divided between East and West by the Cold War

News | The Berlin Boundary Is Sealed

The BBC reports from the scene as the Berlin Wall is constructed.

CHANNEL | BBC Television Service

FIRST BROADCAST | 16 August 1961

DURATION | 1 minutes 55 seconds

FIRSTBROADCAST

1961

Synopsis

Peter Woods reports from Berlin on witnessing the boundary between East and West being sealed with a concrete wall. He describes the ominous events that have taken place throughout the day, including the closure of an underground station and the movement of some East Berliners across the border. By the end of the night, it is likely that all access between the two sides of Berlin will be closed.

Did you know?

Construction of the Berlin Wall began in darkness during the early hours of 13 August 1961. As a result, many were unaware of what was happening. On 23 August, access between East and West Berlin was closed to all citizens. Temporary access by foreign visitors was permitted under controlled conditions. The barrier consisted of two walls with an area (or corridor) in between that was heavily guarded (a 'no man's land' or 'death zone'). A trench was also dug to prevent escape by vehicle. The walls were constructed not only of purpose-built concrete blocks topped with barbed wire or glass but also paving stones from the streets. Even a row of terraced houses formed part of the barricade, in Bernauer Strasse (Bernauer Straße).

Contributors

Reporter

Associated subjects

More like this...

A 1940s BBC microphone.

Berlin: Soviet Blockade

RECORDED c. 1948
3 MINUTES

Is war the only solution to the rising tensions between East and West?

Television Newsreel headline.

News | Mr Attlee Visits Berlin

BROADCAST 1949
8 MINUTES

British Prime Minister Clement Attlee visits an embattled West Berlin.

A supply plane arrives during the Berlin airlift. © Getty Images.

News Special | Blockade Ends

BROADCAST 1949
28 MINUTES

Mass airlifts break Soviet hold on Berlin.

East German refugees in West Berlin.

Radio Newsreel | Berlin Refugee Stories

BROADCAST 1953
4 MINUTES

Interviews with refugees from the Russian zone in Berlin.

A barricade in 1953 that later became part of the Berlin Wall.

Panorama | Berlin

BROADCAST 1959
15 MINUTES

Life in Berlin before the wall.

Richard Dimbleby, 1961.

Panorama | Panorama Goes to Berlin

BROADCAST 1961
51 MINUTES

'Berlin presents the most crucial problem which faces mankind today.'

US and East German forces in a stand-off over the Berlin Wall, 1961.

The Berlin Crisis

RECORDED c. 1961
4 MINUTES

A BBC dispatch from Berlin on the military build-up there.

Ed Murrow.

News | Ed Murrow on the Berlin Situation

BROADCAST 1961
2 MINUTES

Ed Murrow is interviewed on his return from West Berlin.

East Germans build the Berlin Wall.

News | The Berlin Boundary Is Sealed

BROADCAST 1961
2 MINUTES

The BBC reports from the scene as the Berlin Wall is constructed.

West Berliners peer over the wall to contact relatives.

Panorama | Berlin

BROADCAST 1961
11 MINUTES

Robin Day reports on the newly built Berlin Wall.

Edward and Joan Kennedy in 1962.

Radio Newsreel | The Kennedy Brothers Visit Berlin

BROADCAST 1963
3 MINUTES

Edward Kennedy slips quietly into East Berlin.

A guard on duty at Christmas on the Western side of the Brandenburg Gate.

The Chink in the Wall

BROADCAST 1963
29 MINUTES

A Christmas truce for the people of Cold War Berlin.

Sewing flags in preparation for Queen's visit.

The Queen in Germany | State Visit to Germany: Berlin

BROADCAST 1965
53 MINUTES

HM Queen Elizabeth II visits West Berlin at the height of the Cold War.

Andrew Sachs pictured in 2004.

Berliners | 3: East and West

BROADCAST 1988
24 MINUTES

Andrew Sachs shows his wife around East and West Berlin.

Newsnight logo.

Newsnight | Fall of the Berlin Wall

BROADCAST 1989
23 MINUTES

Reporting live from Berlin at the dawn of a new era for the city and the world.

The Brandenburg Gate at night.

News | Germany Is Reunited

BROADCAST 1990
10 MINUTES

The formal reunification of Germany ends 45 years of divided nationhood.

BBC navigation

BBC © 2014 The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.