THE
EXHIBITION

Introduction

“The Berlin Wall. A World Divided” explores the unfolding of this global conflict between capitalism and communism, shedding light on how it truly affected the lives of people on both sides of the Wall, with the help of over 300 original artifacts.

An extensive collection, including over 20 meters of the original wall, personal items with their own stories, and even espionage instruments, is presented alongside a thoughtfully crafted narrative and individual audio guides. This combination allows for a deep exploration of this intricate history and provides insight into the experience of living in a divided city.

Despite the fall of the Wall on November 9, 1989, the ongoing coexistence of different perspectives on how modern societies should be organized remains a daily challenge.

  • End of World War II. Berlin is captured by Allied forces and divided into four occupation sectors controlled by the United States, the United Kingdom, France, and the Soviet Union.

  • The Berlin Blockade. Tensions between the Allied powers and the Soviet Union lead to a Soviet blockade of the western sectors of Berlin. A historic airlift is initiated to supply food and goods to the western part of the city.

  • The Federal Republic of Germany (West Germany) and the German Democratic Republic (East Germany) are established.

  • East Germany closes its border with West Germany, marking the beginning of a deeper division. Berlin becomes the only point without strict border control to enter West Germany.

  • Construction of the Berlin Wall. The East German government, with the approval of the Soviet Union, erects a wall to halt migration to the West and to force international recognition of East Germany.

  • John F. Kennedy's speech. U.S. President John F. Kennedy delivers his famous line "Ich bin ein Berliner" in a speech in West Berlin, expressing American support for the western population of the divided city.

  • The Quadripartite Agreement on Berlin is signed, establishing guidelines for the relationship between the four occupying powers and ensuring certain access rights between the Berlin sectors.

  • Ronald Reagan's speech. U.S. President Ronald Reagan utters "Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall!" in his speech at the Brandenburg Gate, urging the Soviet Union to dismantle the Berlin Wall.

  • Fall of the Berlin Wall. After weeks of peaceful demonstrations and protests, the authorities in East Germany, following a communication error in a press conference, authorize the opening of border crossings. Thousands of people gather in the city and begin tearing down the wall.

  • German reunification. The fall of the Berlin Wall and changes in Eastern Europe lead to the reunification of Germany, with Berlin regaining its status as the capital of the country and full German sovereignty over the city. (Photo: Bundesarchiv)

Collections

More than 300 original objects, the vast majority of them displayed to the public for the first time, form the core of the exhibition. Over a third of them come directly from the archives of the Berlin Wall Foundation, including 20 meters of the Wall itself, the first barbed wire, and bricks used in its construction, as well as objects related to escape attempts and victims.

Another 20 international museums and institutions, including the Hiroshima Peace Museum, the Stasi Archive, and the Allied Museum in Berlin, contribute to their collections in this unique exhibition that reveals how the citizens of Berlin - and the world at large - took positions, fought, escaped, adapted, and ultimately overcame the division of the Cold War.

1953

Baby carriage used for smuggling and providing food from West to East. Schloss Moritzburg Zeitz-Deutsches Kinderwagenmuseum Museum Collection.

1946

CARE food package, distributed to the residents of Berlin and funded through donations from American citizens. Allied Museum Collection.

1961

One of the first bricks used in the early stages of the wall. Stiftung Berliner Mauer Collection.

1989

Hammer and chisel used during the fall of the Berlin Wall. Cornelia Thiele Private Collection.

1989

A damaged Nikon F3T camera from a demonstration in Berlin in 1989. Stiftung Haus der Geschichte der Bundesrepublik Collection.

1983

Uniform from the Artek camp in the USSR, worn by Samantha Smith, a young American invited by Soviet Secretary General Yuri Andropov in July 1983.

Date to be determined

A street sign from Bernauer Straße, a street that had homes on both sides of the Wall. Stiftung Berliner Mauer Collection.

Curatorial Team

The Berlin Wall. A World Divided is an exhibition by Musealia developed in collaboration with the Stiftung Berlines Mauer (Berlin Wall Foundation), an official German institution that looks after the historical legacy of the Wall and the memory of its victims, providing historical advice and content development.

The exhibition is curated by a team of international experts consisting of Cornelia Thiele, Dr. Sarah Bornhorst, Pia Eiringhaus, Tina Schaller and Dr. Stephan Kieninger, led by Dr. Christian Ostermann (Director of the History and Public Policy Program and the Cold War International History Project at the Wilson Center in Washington) and Dr. Gerhard Sälter (Head of Research and Documentation at the Berlin Wall Foundation).

The Berlin Wall. A World Divided will trace the escalation of this conflict by showcasing the experiences lived on each side of the wall, with over 300 original objects, videos, and testimonies from direct witnesses of Berlin divided in the context of the Cold War.

Fundación Canal
Sala de exposiciones Castellana 214
Paseo de la Castellana, 214
28038 Madrid