The History of the Wall
After World War II Berlin was divided by the four Allies of the Anti-Hitler coalition. When in 1949 the Federal Republic of Germany and then the GDR was founded Berlin developed into a permanent trouble spot.
The three sectors of the Western Allies bordered the Soviet sector of East Berlin as well as the territory of the GDR.
The GDR regarded East Berlin as their capital city, and the lines of demarcation which separated East Berlin and the territory of the GDR from the other sectors as a border between sovereign subjects of the international law.
On theWestern side the border line was seen as a domestic border with no traffic restrictions.
In the 1940s and 1950s the contrary points of view again and again strained relations between both sides. Ever since the Soviet blockade of Berlin from June 1948 to May 1949, which was designed to force the Western Allies to withdraw from Berlin, the occupants of the Western sectors became protectors who guaranteed the existence and freedom of West Berlin.
The so-called brigade groups of the working class were formed after the failure of the uprising of June 17th 1953. Officially these paramilitary units were to contribute to the country's defence in times of war, but they were really organised to protect businesses at times of inner conflict. They were not subordinate to the constitutional organs like the Ministery of National Defence but instead entirely to the ZK der SED (Central Committee of the United Socialist Party of Germany). The Home Office (Ministerium des Innern, Volkspolizei) was responsible for training and logistics. The "SED army" consisted of volunteers who were workers in factories, offices etc. Training took place in the evenings and at weekends. The brigade groups were organised in battalions and armed with automatic infantry weapons, old armoured personnel carriers, mortars, anti-tank guns and light artillery. While there was some doubt about the tactical efficiency of this "leisure-time army", there was no doubt about their absolute ideological loyality to the SED party.