History.com speaks with Hope Harrison about The Berlin Wall and the political and cultural scene surrounding its construction.
Her research in previously unavailable communist archives (written about in her PUP book: Driving the Soviets up the Wall) led her to discover that while:
“…most people also believed that Moscow was behind the building of the Berlin Wall in August 1961. Once I was able to read the documents from the archives of the former Soviet and East German leaders, I found that in fact the Soviets did not want to build the wall. It was the East German leaders, particularly the prominent politician Walter Ulbricht, who pushed to close the border in Berlin in order to prevent more people from escaping.”
Read the complete Q&A here: http://www.history.com/news/2011/08/11/reflecting-on-the-berlin-wall-50-years-after-its-construction/