Berlin Cold War History Tour
School Cold War History Trip To Berlin
The fate of Berlin after 1945 was to become a divided city split into four zones between the victorious powers of Britain, France the Soviet Union and the United States. It became almost a metaphor for the ensuing Cold War between the West and the East with places such Checkpoint Charlie, the Berlin Wall and the Bridge of Spies imprinted on generations since then. Now all tourist attractions, these places were once scenes of political intrigue and in some cases death. Out of the Cold War emerged the East German state which ruthlessly spied on and jailed its own people. Our tours include visits to the Stasi Museum from where surveillance was directed and to the former prison of Hohenschönhausen where the interrogation rooms and padded cells can still be seen.
The itinerary featured here is intended to give you inspiration and an idea of what you could do on your tour. Your trip will be created individually by one of our travel advisors to match your requirements and budget.
Flight to Berlin. Walking Tour and Berlin TV Tower
Flight to Berlin: On arrival you will be met by a private coach and transfer to your hotel for check-in. From here you continue into the city centre where you will have a guided Berlin walking tour.
Waking Tour: You visit some of the key historical sites spanning both the Nazi period and Cold War era. You commence at the Brandenburg Gate which from 1961 until 1989 marked the division between East and West Berlin. You then continue to the Holocaust Memorial to the murdered Jews of Europe. Close by is the site of Hitler’s Fuhrer Bunker. Nothing now remains above ground except a car park and anonymous flats, but you can stand at the actual site and hear about the last days spent inside the Bunker. You continue to Wilhelmstrasse, once the most important street in Berlin during the Nazi era. Goering’s Luftwaffe headquarters still stands, exactly as it was in 1945 (minus the swastikas and eagles) and is now a government finance office. Finally, you reach Checkpoint Charlie, the famous crossing point between East and West Berlin when the city was divided. Little now remains of the actual American check post but there is a replica where you can have your photo taken with the ’guards’.
Berlin TV Tower: Before dinner this evening you take a trip to the top of the Berlin TV Tower for a spectacular view of the city.
Hohenschönhausen Prison, Berlin Underground Bunker and Reichstag Building
Hohenschönhausen Prison: This morning you visit the notorious Prison at Hohenschönhausen, the so-called Stasi Prison. As recently as 1989 this was used by the East German secret service to imprison domestic enemies of the East German state., a mixture of dissidents and intellectuals and those who had tried to escape to the West. The prison is now a museum and memorial, but you can see the cells in which prisoners were kept, often in solitary confinement, and the interrogation rooms which were used to threaten and intimidate.
Berlin Underground Bunker: This afternoon you visit the Underground Bunker at Gesundbrunnen railway station. This is a combination of museum and preserved bunker which follows the traces of the Cold War. After the building of the Berlin Wall, West Berlin reactivated old civil defence shelters and built new ones in preparation for a possible nuclear war. Our underground visit gives us an insight into the bunker which was intended to protect the citizens of West Berlin in case of a full-blown nuclear war.
Reichstag Building: After dinner you visit the Reichstag Building, the seat of the German Parliament to see the spectacular glass dome which was designed by the British architect Norman Foster. You can explore the dome and also hear about the workings of the German Parliament. The tour gives access to the roof of the Reichstag for views across the city.
Berlin Wall Memorial, GDR Museum and Sony Centre
Berlin Wall Memorial: This morning you visit the fascinating Berlin Wall Memorial. This vast site is set out across a large area where the Wall used to separate the two halves of Berlin. You can see the marked routes of tunnels dug by those trying to escape from East Berlin, and also those dug by the Stasi to get into West Berlin to kidnap people. There is a preserved section of Wall with a lookout tower and an informative museum which documents the individual stories of those escapees. There is also a memorial to the many East Berliners who were shot whilst trying to escape to the West.
GDR Museum: The Museum in the Kulturbrauerei, also known as the GDR Museum, documents ordinary life in the German Democratic Republic and gives you a picture of life under Communism. This somewhat quirky and out-of-the way museum shows what life was like for ordinary East Germans during the period from the formation of the East German state until the fall of the Berlin Wall. Many East Germans look back with some nostalgia on some aspects of their society, whilst others are happy to forget about it.
Sony Centre: This evening you have dinner at the spectacular Sony Centre at Potsdamer Platz. There is also the option to visit the IMAX cinema to watch an English language film.
Tränenpalast, shopping on Kurfürstendamm and flight home
Tränenpalast: This morning you visit the Tränenpalast or Palace of Tears, a modern document centre containing the Site of German Division exhibition which recounts the stories of the many families who were separated when the Berlin Wall went up. The museum is located at Frederichstrasse Railway Station. After the construction of the Berlin Wall in 1962, this was the station used for passengers crossing from East to West Berlin, perhaps never to see their relatives again. The museum also recounts some of the daring escape attempts to the West which were made from the station.
Free time On Kurfürstendamm: This afternoon you have free time for shopping on the fashionable Kurfürstendamm.
Flight Home: In the afternoon you transfer to the airport for your flight home.
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