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The Communist Justification for the Division of Berlin (August 14, 1961)

The Communist party newspaper tries to justify the building of the Wall as a defensive measure against Western subversion. It cites the support of its allies in the Warsaw Pact and emphasizes East Germans’ approval of the Wall and West Berlin’s grudging acceptance of it.

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Measures for the Protection of Peace and the Safeguarding of the German Democratic Republic Take Effect

According to plan and at the designated hour, the measures for safeguarding peace and protecting the citizens of the GDR, as spelled out in the resolution of the GDR Council of Ministers and in agreement with the declaration of the governments of the states of the Warsaw Pact, took effect. The resolution of the Council of Ministers of the GDR reads: “To prevent the enemy activities of the revanchist and militaristic powers of West Germany and West Berlin, checkpoints have been installed on the borders of the German Democratic Republic, including the border to the Western sectors of Greater Berlin, as is common on the frontiers of all sovereign states.”

The declaration of the governments of the states of the Warsaw Pact reads: “The governments of the states of the Warsaw Pact of course understand that resorting to protective measures on the border to West Berlin will create certain inconveniences for the population, but in the face of the situation that has developed, the Western powers are fully to blame for the action, particularly the government of the Federal Republic. If the border to West Berlin was left open until now, then this was done in the hopes that the Western powers would not abuse the good will of the government of the German Democratic Republic. However, with disregard for the interests of the German people and the population of Berlin, they exploited the present order on the West Berlin border for their own insidious, subversive purposes. The present abnormal situation must be brought to an end by means of intensified monitoring and controls on the West Berlin border.”

All steps and measures necessary for the implementation went smoothly, thanks to the understanding and approval of the majority of the population of Berlin. Numerous Berliners already announced their agreement early Sunday morning.

“Measures for our protection,” “The decision of the Council of Ministers serves the peace and the security of the GDR,” “An appropriate response to the Ultras* in Bonn” – these are some of the comments made by the workers of the capital.

Brief meetings of the brigades took place in the public utility works. At the Klingenberg power plant, shift worker Helmut Manfried explained, “These measures will finally create clear fronts.”

Yesterday, life went on as usual for a Sunday. Some groups of young people who thought they could be tough were politely, but firmly, informed of the resolutions of the Ministerial Council by the officers of the People’s Police who had taken up their position to protect our borders.

* The word comes from “ultramontanism” (beyond the Alps), referring to support of papal supremacy in Rome over regional Roman Catholic authority. In this context, Ulbricht and the GDR used the term to refer to the CDU and their conservative Christian thought in the West (Bonn) – trans.

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