Berlin began as a fishing and trading community, selling primarily rye and timber. This role in trade grew larger through the centuries as a disciplined military force protected foreign tradesmen and helped collect customs tariffs. The 1830s brought the Industrial Revolution to Berlin, which hastily built factories to produce machine tools, dyes, medicines, and electrical goods. AEG and Siemens had an early start in Berlin, fueling participation in both World Wars. The Great Depression brought economic chaos, but success in the arts, especially in film production. Although Berlin was devastated by the time World War II was over, major reconstruction projects funded by the victors helped to keep the economy going.
Berlin continues to deal with ongoing reintegration of the West with the East, as well as an economy that is shifting from the processing to the service sector. Many companies relocated from