Berlin Wall

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

Berlin Wall

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).

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References in periodicals archive ?
The conference hopes to answer such questions as, "What is a wall in relation to a boundary?" and "What does the Berlin Wall mean in the whole history of walls?" said David Luebke, the other co-organizer and a UO associate professor of history.
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The film, commemorating the 20th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall, was shot from the driver's cab of a suburban over-ground train on a snowy trail travelling from the extreme east of Berlin to the heart of west Berlin.
One such website is the which claims to be the official website of the Berlin Wall, offering everyone a "piece of true history".
The 54-year-old, whose surname means Berlin Wall in German, wed the concrete structure in 1979.
The reason so few East Berliners died attempting to cross the Berlin Wall is that so few tried, since a large concrete structure, razor wire, minefields, and machine gun nests ensured that success was all but impossible.
The Berlin Wall was an example of a wall that divided two people from the same country and represented a wall of division.
Top attractions, apart from the football, include Checkpoint Charlie, the Norman Foster-designed Reichstag parliament building, Brandenburg Gate (left), sections of the Berlin Wall, and the memorial to Jewish victims of the Nazi era (below).