1961: The Construction of the Berlin Wall

Sep 25, 2018

Akten zur Auswärtigen Politik der Bundesrepublik Deutschland
[Documents on the Foreign Policy of the Federal Republic of Germany]


Editing work by Mechthild Lindemann and Christoph Johannes Franzen Senior Editor: Ilse Dorothee Pautsch

Commissioned by the Federal Foreign Office, edited by the Institute for Contemporary History
General Editor: Andreas Wirsching; Co-Editors: Hélène Miard-Delacroix and Gregor Schöllgen

1961 was dominated by the Berlin Crises, which culminated in the construction of the Berlin Wall. Many of the 566 documents in this collection reveal how the West German government wrestled with its Western allies concerning measures to prevent the blockade of further access routes to Berlin. They also reveal how West German politicians struggled with the country’s role in NATO. In the area of European policy, the British accession to the EEC and plans for political union took center stage. The Eichmann trial in Jerusalem illustrated the extent to which Bonn’s foreign policy was still overshadowed by the Nazi period. Competition with East Germany in newly formed African states accelerated the expansion of development policy, which was placed under the control of a new department following the Bundestag elections of 17 September.