Cold War Berlin: An Island City

Volume 2: The Berlin Wall 1950-1961

Andrew Long

The story of the Wall built by East Germany to keep their workforce from fleeing West, how the world reacted to it, and how it almost led to WWIII.
Publication date:
August 2021
Publisher :
Helion and Company
Series :
Illustration :
100 b/w photos, 6 maps, 10 colour photos, 12 colour profiles
Format Available     Quantity Price
ISBN : 9781914377105

Dimensions : 297 X 210 mm
Not Yet Published. Available for PreOrder.


• Second in the series of books on Cold War Berlin
• A fresh look at the events that defined the early Cold War
• More dramatic stories from Berlin, the frontline of the Cold War
• A fast-paced narrative, supported by numerous photos, maps, diagrams and illustrations to help bring the story to life
• Carefully researched and methodically compiled from numerous primary and secondary sources
• The author's accessible style of writing makes complex and nuanced historical facts easy to comprehend

From the moment the DDR was formed in 1949, many of its citizens chose to leave to start a new life in the West. By the mid-1950s, the trickle had turned into a flood as large numbers rejected Walter Ulbricht's Communist paradise. His 'Workers' & Peasants' State' could not afford to lose the skills and productivity from these key workers, so he proposed a radical solution - physically stop them leaving by fencing in the whole population. His plan would fortify the Inner German Border from the Baltic to the Czech border and would build a Wall around West Berlin to stop the flow of East German refugees to the West. It was a bold, innovative, and desperate move from a morally bankrupt and failing state.

This book explores the background and build-up to this monumental decision, reviewing the dramatic geo-political developments of the 1950s and early 1960s as international tensions threatened the post-war peace. Berlin was becoming the front-line in the new Cold War and would witness some of its most dramatic and dangerous moments.

It examines in detail how Operation Rose, the August 1961 operation to close the border between East and West Berlin, was planned and executed and looks at how the world reacted, including the tense stand-off at Checkpoint Charlie in October 1961 between American and Soviet tanks, which could have so easily escalated into the Third World War.

The book looks at how the East Germans developed and 'improved' the Wall over time with brutal efficiency, creating a highly fortified barrier, manned by elite troops. Despite that, many brave and enterprising individuals risked everything to try to escape to the West over, under or through the Wall. Some made it, but many were captured or killed attempting it.

This is the second title from the author in a series of books on Cold War Berlin. It concentrates on the years 1950 to 1961, picking up where the first book finished, but also looks at developments of the Wall right through to the 1980s. The text is accompanied with numerous photos, maps, diagrams, and illustrations, which help tell this fascinating story.