The Berlin Crisis 1961

The importance of Berlin and the causes of the crisis

There was a growing contrast between life in the West and life in the East. In West Berlin and West Germany, the economy recovered well.

Rebuilding and economic aid from the USA (Marshall Aid) created many jobs and decent wages. Many new businesses appeared and the people had freedom of speech and the right to choose their own government.

In East Berlin and East Germany, the economic situation was much worse than in the West. Food and housing were scarce, jobs were fewer and less well paid. Freedoms were also restricted and the Communist Party was in control.

The video below describes communism in East Germany.

West Berlin was a ‘Window to the West’. This meant that people living in East Berlin could see how life was in the West.

The easiest route was into West Berlin. Many of those who escaped were young, trained professionals.