The Berlin Wall (1961-1989)
For 40 years, the Communist regimes in Eastern Europe appeared permanent. The Iron Curtain began to crumble in 1989 and in merely one year, countries have left behind communism one after another, like domino pieces.
The symbol of the Cold War, Berlin Wall has been called the "physical portrayal" of the Iron Curtain. For 28 years, the enormous construction separated in two a city - Berlin and a country - Germany. The fall of the Berlin Wall is the most important emblem of the communist bloc failure.
The creation of the wall began on August 13, 1961 to stop the westward exodus of the German people. In the east it was called "the anti-fascist protection wall" while in the west people named it "Wall of Shame". 155 km of embarrassment of over 3 m high, of which 43 km through the central part of Berlin.
The frontier was also made of km of trenches, bunkers, hundreds of watch towers and barbed wire. Although the creation of the wall began in 1961, Germany was disjointed since the end of World War II. In 1945, Reich capital was disjointed between the Allied powers in the west and the Soviet Union in the east, and in 1949 two countries were formed: Federal Republic of Germany and the German Democratic Republic.
In 1952, East Germany closed its borderline with West Germany, concerned about the exodus of population. There were weak points though, where people were still capable to pass. More than 2.5 million Germans made it to west between 1949 and 1961.
Although on June 15, 1961 East German leader Walter Ulbricht officially stated that there will not be a wall built, on August 13, the eastern part of Berlin is encircled by barricades and barbed wire. The wall is constructed in several stages. In 1962 a barrier was added, 90 feet on the inside, being created a strictly administered "restricted area". Houses on this strip were demolished and people moved. The zone, mined and full of trapping wire, offered an extensive field of fire for the guards.
In 1965 concrete walls began to be raised and, over the years, observation towers were added, while patrols and security were increased.
The "four generations wall", ameliorated in 1975 was the last version. It was composed of slabs of 3.6 meters high and 1.2 meters wide. The wall was strengthened with motion sensors, fencing net and barbed wire, trenches against vehicles, and on the crest wall it was mounted a clean pipe, which would have made even harder to escalate.
The eight passing points were planed particularly for different categories of people that could pass through.
The most famous was Checkpoint Charlie, which was intended only to Allied personnel and non-German citizens.
During the history of the Wall, military personnel, officials and Allied diplomats could enter East Berlin without passport control. Also, Soviet patrols were able to enter without reserve in the West Berlin.
On November 9, 1989 the East German government decided to permit visits to West Germany, but the minister for propaganda was not accurately informed therefore a lot of disorientation was developed. Tens of thousands of Berliners rushed to the crossing points, insisting to move freely in the West. Overwhelmed by tens of thousands of people and in the absence of coherent instructions, border guards were improbably to open fire, allowing the crowds to cross.
The wall has been kept for a while after November 9. On June 13, 1990 East German army launched formal demolition, and on July 1 all border crossing points were properly abolished. The two Germany halves were finally rejoined on October 3, 1990.
Today, there are only three remaining portions of the wall: a section of 80 meters near Postdamer Plaz, a longer section near the river Spree and the third piece, turned into a monument, north of Bernauer Strasse.
Nikos Deja Vu