Berlin Wall (Antifascistischer Schutzwall)
Historical images of the Wall, a powerful and enduring symbol of the Cold War
On August 13, 1961, overnight the Communist government of the German Democratic Republic (GDR, or East Germany) began to build a barbed wire and concrete wall between East and West Berlin. The wall included over 300 watchtowers, 106km of concrete and 66.5km of wire fencing completely surrounding West Berlin, preventing any access from East Germany. The official purpose was to keep Western “fascists” from entering East Germany and undermining the socialist state, but it primarily served the objective of stemming mass defections from East to West. On November 9, 1989, the head of the East German Communist Party announced that citizens of the GDR could cross the border whenever they pleased. That night, ecstatic crowds swarmed the wall with some crossing freely into West Berlin and others chipping away at the wall itself with hammers. In 1990 the Official demolition of the Berlin Wall begins undertaken by former East German border guards under a democratically elected government. The wall stood for nearly 30 years and to this day remains one of the most powerful and enduring symbols of the Cold War.
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