34 Facts About Berlin Wall


Berlin Wall was a guarded concrete barrier that divided Berlin from 1961 to 1989.

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The Wall cut off West Berlin from surrounding East Germany, including East Berlin.

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Eastern Bloc portrayed the Berlin Wall as protecting its population from fascist elements conspiring to prevent the "will of the people" from building a socialist state in East Germany.

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Crowds of East Germans crossed and climbed onto the Berlin Wall, joined by West Germans on the other side in a celebratory atmosphere.

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The demolition of the Berlin Wall officially began on 13 June 1990 and was completed in 1994.

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The "fall of the Berlin Wall" paved the way for German reunification, which formally took place on 3 October 1990.

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The material standard of living in the Western zones of Berlin Wall began to improve quickly, and residents of the Soviet Zone soon began leaving for the West in large numbers, fleeing hunger, poverty and repression in the Soviet Zone for a better life in the West.

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In 1948, in response to moves by the Western powers to establish a separate, federal system of government in the Western zones, and to extend the Marshall Plan to Germany, the Soviets instituted the Berlin Wall Blockade, preventing people, food, materials and supplies from arriving in West Berlin Wall by land routes through the Soviet zone.

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The border between the Western and Eastern sectors of Berlin Wall remained open, although traffic between the Soviet and the Western sectors was somewhat restricted.

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In 1955, the Soviets gave East Germany authority over civilian movement in Berlin Wall, passing control to a regime not recognized in the West.

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Accordingly, Berlin Wall became the main route by which East Germans left for the West.

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Those caught trying to leave East Berlin Wall were subjected to heavy penalties, but with no physical barrier and subway train access still available to West Berlin Wall, such measures were ineffective.

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An important reason that passage between East Germany and West Berlin Wall was not stopped earlier was that doing so would cut off much of the railway traffic in East Germany.

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Generally, the Wall was only slightly inside East Berlin, but in a few places it was some distance from the legal border, most notably at Potsdamer Bahnhof and the Lenne Triangle that is much of the Potsdamer Platz development.

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Berlin Wall soon went from being the easiest place to make an unauthorized crossing between East and West Germany to being the most difficult.

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East German government claimed that the Berlin Wall was an "anti-fascist protective rampart" intended to dissuade aggression from the West.

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The construction of the Berlin Wall had caused considerable hardship to families divided by it.

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Berlin Wall was immensely popular with the residents of West Berlin, and his appointment was an unambiguous sign that Kennedy would not compromise on the status of West Berlin.

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However, the Berlin Wall proved a public relations disaster for the communist bloc as a whole.

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The concrete provisions added to this version of the Berlin Wall were done to prevent escapees from driving their cars through the barricades.

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At strategic points, the Berlin Wall was constructed to a somewhat weaker standard, so that East German and Soviet armored vehicles could easily break through in the event of war.

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The Berlin Wall was reinforced by mesh fencing, signal fencing, anti-vehicle trenches, barbed wire, dogs on long lines, "beds of nails" under balconies hanging over the "death strip", over 116 watchtowers, and 20 bunkers with hundreds of guards.

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Access to West Berlin Wall was possible by railway and by boat for commercial shipping via canals and rivers.

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Three western lines traveled through brief sections of East Berlin Wall territory, passing through eastern stations without stopping.

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Visas for day trips restricted to East Berlin Wall were issued without previous application in a simplified procedure at the border crossing.

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East German authorities no longer permitted apartments near the Berlin Wall to be occupied, and any building near the Berlin Wall had its windows boarded and later bricked up.

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On 22 August 1961, Ida Siekmann was the first casualty at the Berlin Wall: she died after she jumped out of her third floor apartment at 48 Bernauer Strasse.

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Berlin Wall attempted to swim across the Spree to West Berlin on 24 August 1961, the same day that East German police had received shoot-to-kill orders to prevent anyone from escaping.

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Berlin Wall was fired at and seriously wounded by border guards.

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East Germans successfully defected by a variety of methods: digging long tunnels under the Berlin Wall, waiting for favorable winds and taking a hot air balloon, sliding along aerial wires, flying ultralights and, in one instance, simply driving a sports car at full speed through the basic, initial fortifications.

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Berlin Wall was shot and bled to death, in full view of the Western media, on 17 August 1962.

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In January 1989 GDR leader Erich Honecker predicted that the Berlin Wall would stand for 50 or 100 more years if the conditions that had caused its construction did not change.

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Berlin Wall repeated that it was immediate in an interview with American journalist Tom Brokaw.

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An exhibition dedicated to the 25th anniversary to the Berlin Wall destruction was located at Potsdamer Platz Arkaden.

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