Department of Defense Education Activity

Berlin - At the Crossroads of the Cold War

Individuals struck at the Berlin Wall, mirrored in a vehicle's side mirror.


I stared in joyous disbelief at national television coverage in November 1989. Berliners smashed it [Berlin Wall] with sledge hammers, framing hammers, tire irons...anything they could to destroy that worn-out relic of injustice to humanity."

-Diana Green Kempton, AOSHS

The 1989 Fall of the Berlin Wall

The fall of the Berlin Wall on November 9, 1989, ushered in the eventual historic end to 43 years of DoD school operations in West Berlin, starting at the conclusion of World War II. Berlin schools closed on 1 June 1994 with the exit of American Allied Forces from Berlin.

For a timeline of the school and regional and world events with ancillary material, see Berlin Brats History on

The fall of the Berlin Wall resulted in a dramatic change in the posture of U.S. Forces in Germany. The resulting downsizing of forces shuttered schools in major military communities across Germany. Dramatic decreases in enrollment resulted from school closures in Berlin, Frankfurt, Munich Nurnberg, Augsburg, and many other communities.

European Stars and Stripes School Year Special - September 16, 1994
Maintaining Educational Quality During The Drawdown

The military drawdown has led to decreased student enrollment, fewer schools, and smaller budgets. The enrollment has decreased from 152,000 students in 1991 to a projected 95,000 students in SY 1994 95. DoDDS will open 193 schools this year, down from 269 in 1991. The average school size will drop from 565 students in school year (SY) 1.990-91 to 495 students in this school year.

The Defense Management Report Decision 973 to consolidate regions and districts is on schedule. The Atlantic and Mediterranean regional offices closed on July 1, 1994 and a single European regional office was established. The Frankfurt, Nuernberg, Rhein Eifel, and United Kingdom West district offices closed at the end of SY 1993-94. The DoDDS consolidation plan implemented a final reduction of regional offices from 5 to 3 and district offices from 19 to 10.

DoDDS will ensure that schools affected by base closings continue to demand academic rigor and that faculties and staff in all schools are given necessary support. The DoDDS standard is to continue to offer an education comparable to the very best that is available in the United Slates. At the same time DoDDS will keep the high standards embodied in the National Education Goals and the need to support the efforts to reach those goals.

The end result should be the continued operations of excellent schools, which are critical to the quality of life of service members and their families overseas.”

Source: Stars and Stripes

Berlin Schools History

On 14 October 1946, Thomas A. Roberts School (T.A.R.) opened in a confiscated German girl’s high school building (the Gertraudenschule) at Im Gehege 6-8 in the Office of Military Government (OMGUS) American Sector in southwestern Berlin. It was named after Colonel Thomas Arnett Roberts, a West Point graduate of 1920 who was killed in action on 4 August 1944 in Lessey, France while commanding the artillery of the 2nd Armored Division in the landings of the Battle of Normandy.

The high school opened on 7 September 1948, with eighteen students. On 9 September 1953 the school opened in a new building at Am Hüttenweg 40 north of Truman Plaza. In 1958, a new wing of the school was opened to house the seventh and eighth grades, a home economics room, and a shop. In 1965 the high school moved into a new building at Am Hegewinkel 2a and was renamed Berlin American High School (BAHS), leaving the elementary at Am Hüttenweg 40.

See AOSHS School Histories for more at

Berlin Airlift (1948-49)

Berlin Airlift (1948-49)

June 26 marks the 70th anniversary of the beginning of the Berlin Airlift, America’s first major test of resolve during the Cold War and one of the largest humanitarian aid missions in history.
The Wall Goes Up

The Wall Goes Up

On 13 August 1961 work begins to construct the Wall. The division of East and West shocks Berliners and the Western world. They are left stunned as barbed wire and barricades carve the city in half and tear families apart.
Berlin Brats

Berlin Brats

Information from the Berlin Brats website regarding alumni's association with the Berlin Wall.
Berlin Wall AOSHS Exhibit

Berlin Wall AOSHS Exhibit

Donated to AOSHS by the Berlin BRATs, Berlin American High School’s alumni group, the 12 ft. high, 4 ½ ton section of the Berlin Wall made its way from the East Coast to Wichita, Kansas, on a flatbed truck.
Berlin Wall Exhibit Opens in Wichita

Berlin Wall Exhibit Opens in Wichita

This issue features the Berlin Wall, the donated wall by the Berlin Brats, and the Berlin Wall Exhibit at the Museum of Word Treasures in Wichita, Kansas.