Berlin Wall Facts

Berlin Wall Facts
On August 13th, 1961, the German Democratic Republic of East Germany began the construction of the Berlin Wall. The wall was built to completely cut-off West Berlin to East Berlin and East Germany. East Germany was backed by the Soviets at the time, while the U.S. backed West Germany. Although the East claimed it was building the wall to stop Western spies from entering East Germany, it was actually built to stop citizens from leaving East Germany for West Germany. Following World War II, Germany was divided into four zones, controlled by the Soviets, France, Britain and the U.S. The Berlin Wall divided the communist Soviet side from the other three. The Berlin Wall consisted of 96 miles of barrier between the East and West, with concrete and barbed wire barriers separating the two sides at different stretches along the wall.
Interesting Berlin Wall Facts:
The Berlin Wall is also referred to as the Iron Curtain.
The Berlin Wall was built to stop East Germans from defecting to the West. West Germans were able to visit East Germany by way of permit.
136 people died trying to cross the Berlin Wall during its existence. It is believed that approximately 5,000 people made the escape from East Germany to the West successfully by crossing the Berlin Wall.
The West side of the Berlin Wall was covered in graffiti while the East side was not.
The subway system that had run across Germany was divided after the Berlin Wall was built. Subways on the East could only operate on the East side and vice versa.
The Berlin Wall made the Soviets and East Germans look bad - people already had a bad opinion of communism but the Berlin Wall portrayed them as tyrannical.
West Germans would often throw garbage over the wall into East Germany - knowing that the East Germans and Soviets could do nothing about it.
In the summer of 1989 the Hungary border was opened, which made it easier for East Germans to escape through Hungary into Austria.
There were checkpoints along the Berlin Wall where people could cross over. The most famous was Checkpoint Charlie. The guard house from Checkpoint Charlie is on display at the Allied Museum in Berlin-Zehlendorf.
The official date of the fall of the Berlin Wall is November 9th, 1989. Actual demolition did not begin until June 13th, 1990. Between these dates the border controls still existed but were less strict.
Germans chipped away at the wall and sold pieces of it on eBay. The people who did this were called 'wall woodpeckers'.
All Berlin Wall border controls ended on July 1st, 1990.
Germany became one country again on October 3rd, 1990.
The Berlin Wall's footprint is marked with a row of cobblestones in the streets of Germany.
The Berlin Wall was built to keep East Germans from leaving, but when the wall was taken down, it was for the same reason - to stop East Germany's residents from leaving.
The Berlin Wall had 302 observation towers, 259 dog runs, and 20 bunkers.
The end of the Berlin Wall also helped to put an end to the Cold War.

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