Berlin Wall

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Related to Berlin Wall: cold war, Berlin airlift, Cuban Missile Crisis

Berlin Wall,

1961–89, a barrier first erected in Aug., 1961, by the East German government along the border between East and West Berlin, and later along the entire border between East Germany and West Germany. At first constructed of barbed wire, the wall was built to halt large numbers of defections and to prevent East Berliners from commuting to the West. Erected at a time of growing tension between East and West, the barrier was eventually replaced by a concrete structure topped with wire and studded with watchtowers manned by East German soldiers. In 1989, after hundreds of thousands of East Germans had fled westward via Hungary and Czechoslovakia, the beleaguered East German regime lifted travel restrictions on Nov. 9, and days later the dismantling of the wall began. Built to keep people in, the wall was dismantled in a failed gamble by the Communists to keep power. By Jan., 1990, the regime was auctioning off large slabs of the wall for hard currency, and had set December for its total demolition. In Oct., 1990, however, East Germany was formally absorbed into the Federal Republic of Germany and only short sections of the wall remained standing, as memorials.


See F. Taylor, The Berlin Wall: A World Divided, 1961–1989 (2007); W. R. Smyser, Kennedy and the Berlin Wall (2009).

References in periodicals archive ?
Read more: Opinion: The Berlin Wall is gone -- but is it really?
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Secretary Kerry said that receiving a part of the Berlin Wall was a time to "pay tribute to an indelible partnership between two great countries As we look back almost a quarter of a century after German reunification, we can take unbelievable pride in the relationship between our two nations.
The unveiling of a segment of the historic Berlin Wall is in commemoration of the 61st anniversary of the establishment of Philippine-German diplomatic relations.
The Boro fan and roadie for bands on tour said: "I was in Berlin for work - I'm currently working with U2 - and was just across the road from the old Berlin Wall.
As Wilke so precisely demonstrates, the decision to build the Berlin Wall was not Ulbricht's to make; he required the support of the Soviet Union to close the border.
In a united Germany, the Berlin Wall is a fading memory.
A photo expo showcasing the history of the Berlin Wall on the sidelines of the signing ceremony.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel, left, and the Mayor of Berlin Klaus Wowereit, second from left, put flowers in a crack of the former Berlin Wall at |the Berlin Wall memorial site at Bernauer Strasse in Berlin, Germany, yesterday, marking the fall of the wall 25 years ago
GERMAN Chancellor Angela Merkel led celebrations yesterday marking the 25th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall, calling it an example of the human yearning for freedom.
More than a million Germans and people from around the world on Sunday celebrated the 25th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall, the event that more than any other marked the end of the Cold War.