On Sat., August 12, while leaders attended a garden party, Ulbricht signed the order to close the border and erect a wall.
At midnight the construction began.
As the sun rose on August 13, 1961, construction was well underway and Germany was totally divided by barricades within the few hours of one day!
In the wee hours, police and military units had begun to close the border. They tore up the streets and used the paving stones to create blockades. The streets became impassable to vehicles.
Within a few hours, the East German troops and workers successfully divided 97 miles by installing barbed wire entanglements and fences.
The first concrete elements of the Wall proper began on August 15, 1961.
Can you imagine how people felt to wake up to such a day of horror and shock? To find that they have been physically divided from their families? That they could no longer go to their jobs? That guns were turned on them and they would be shot if they did not comply?
Can you imagine how galled they were to realize their own people ---both civilian and troops---had complied in doing this to them?
Can you imagine their wonderment at suddenly realizing that the conspiracy theorists had been right?
You would think they would have gotten a hint, when two months prior to construction--a prominent socialist party secretary stated in a International Press Conference:(translated) "No one has any intention of erecting a wall!"
(Was this a slip of the tongue or an attempt to quell rumors?)
Anyway, it was a statement made just 'out of the blue'. It should have sent up red flags to anyone who was paying attention.
Do you have a piece of the Berlin Wall?