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Friday, 20 July 2012

The Berlin Wall

Following the end of the Second World War Berlin which was occupied under the four power agreement between The Soviet Union, USA, UK and France.  The city lay deep within communist East Germany

Prior to the construction of the wall in 1961 3.5m Germans had fled from East to West Germany.   During that time border controls had progressively been tightened but it had proved impractical to close the border in Berlin itself.  For example it was possible to board an underground train in the Soviet sector and simply get out in a station in West Berlin.  However by 1961 the transport infrastructure had been put in place to allow West Berlin to be bypassed by road and rail and the decision was taken to close the border with a significant physical structure backed up with watch towers, bunkers and guards.

In terms of halting emigration the wall was a resounding success reducing it to a trickle.  The damage to the international reputation of East Germany and the Soviet bloc has a whole however was substantial, particularly after the border guards were issued with shoot to kill orders which resulted in between 100 and 200 deaths

The eventual fall of the wall in 1989 is an iconic image of the collapse of Soviet communism Very little of it remains with most of it being physically destroyed in 1990.  The line of the wall has been picked out in brick and snakes crazily across the city.

 Berlin today is a vibrant, unified city but the fragments that are visible act as a stark reminder of a troubled past.

Surviving section - ironically now protected by a fence!  It was generally about 12 feet high topped with a rubber cap to make it difficult to climb over

Myself and Angela in front of the wall

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