The Berlin Wall

Louis

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At 1 a.m. on Aug. 13, 1961, East Germany sealed off the border between the Soviet-controlled eastern sector of Berlin and the western sectors controlled by the Allies.

Over the following weeks, workers erected a 155-kilometer (96-mile) barrier encircling West Berlin. The Wall itself — up to 3.6 meters (12 feet) high — was merely the outermost part of a heavily fortified strip that variously included barbed wire, metal fences, guard towers, hidden alarms and dog walkways.

Communist leader Walter Ulbricht called it an "anti-fascist protective wall," though in reality its purpose was to stop the flood of people leaving for the West.

Despite the formidable obstacle and threat of stiff punishment if caught, thousands of people tried to escape by tunneling under, swimming past, climbing or flying over the wall.

Many took advantage of Berlin's extensive sewer and subway network. Others used fake passports made out to West Germans, who were allowed to visit East Berlin.

Some dug their own tunnels, often with help from people on the other side. In one case, an entire family escaped using a home-made cable car.

At least 138 people, including several children, lost their lives along the Cold War barrier, according to the latest research by the Berlin Wall Foundation.

Some were shot by East German border guards, others drowned in the chilly river Spree.

One of the last to die was Chris Gueffroy. The 20-year-old was shot dead nine months before the fall of the Wall.

Crosses now mark many of the locations where people died trying to reach freedom.

On the evening of Nov. 9, 1989, West German television broadcast the news that communist authorities had decided to lift travel restrictions and allow East Germans to travel more or less freely.

The reports were based on a confusing announcement by a senior East German official who had failed to spell out various caveats to the new policy. Before the communist authorities could set the record straight, thousands of East Berliners had pushed their way past perplexed border guards to celebrate freedom with their brethren in the West.

The communist dictatorship was swept away within months. On Oct. 3, 1990, East and West Germany became one country again.

miamiherald.com
truckshunters.blogspot.com.ar
 
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Sempai

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Louis, maybe You should also mention that east german border guards were often target practice for GIs, west german citizens and Federal Border Guards. Several of the east german border guards were killed by that actions about the years. And I don´t talk of the east german guards who fired themselves on refugees. They may have gotten what they deserved. But the whole thing reaches far deeper as one sees on first look. Only to give some hints: Why wasn´t the GDR granted sovereignty? Why West Germany claimed the sole right of representation for both Germanies? Why several department store chains got busted after the Wall fell? Why had the GDR to pay the reperations for both Germanies? Etc. etc.!
I had written something about that topic before a few years. It was part of my article about the east german NVA (military forces). The Wall wasn´t a creation only by the East Germans. In fact they had to obey as the russian military government ordered to build that wall. Even Kennedy answered, if I remember that right, on a note of the Russians that they could do on their side what they think right if it not concerns the issues on west german side. That took the pressure of the heated situation between the west and east Allies for a while. The Wall was a creation of the Allies and the Germans had to be the handymen for them. What do You think would have happened if the Germans had disobeyed? What happened on June 17 in 1953? OK, I close here! I think the topic of The Wall is a very difficult one. And if one want to awaken to all that stuff one has to see it from all sides and letn´t cut in the political correctness.

Greetings :)

P.S.: Good pictures! Some of them rouse memories. Some good, some bad.
 

Bert Blitzkrieg

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Louis, maybe You should also mention that east german border guards were often target practice for GIs, west german citizens and Federal Border Guards. Several of the east german border guards were killed by that actions about the years. And I don´t talk of the east german guards who fired themselves on refugees. They may have gotten what they deserved. But the whole thing reaches far deeper as one sees on first look. Only to give some hints: Why wasn´t the GDR granted sovereignty? Why West Germany claimed the sole right of representation for both Germanies? Why several department store chains got busted after the Wall fell? Why had the GDR to pay the reperations for both Germanies? Etc. etc.!
I had written something about that topic before a few years. It was part of my article about the east german NVA (military forces). The Wall wasn´t a creation only by the East Germans. In fact they had to obey as the russian military government ordered to build that wall. Even Kennedy answered, if I remember that right, on a note of the Russians that they could do on their side what they think right if it not concerns the issues on west german side. That took the pressure of the heated situation between the west and east Allies for a while. The Wall was a creation of the Allies and the Germans had to be the handymen for them. What do You think would have happened if the Germans had disobeyed? What happened on June 17 in 1953? OK, I close here! I think the topic of The Wall is a very difficult one. And if one want to awaken to all that stuff one has to see it from all sides and letn´t cut in the political correctness.

Greetings :)

P.S.: Good pictures! Some of them rouse memories. Some good, some bad.
You really think the wall was a NATO invention? Very difficult to believe.

I travelled with my school in 1979 as an 18 year old to Berlin. The border crossings were much harder on the East German side of the border.
Huge difference between West and East Berlin. Liked the radio tower in East Berlin. Disliked the stupid banners on the buildings with "socialist" slogans.
 

Sempai

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No NATO invention but agreed by Kennedy himself. So it was a creation of the Allies. The source was the raising hatred between the Russians and West Allies and the forced but camouflaged emigration from east to west. The west side took gladly what east germans brought over the border. For example fresh meat in a time where it was rare. And both allies saw the germans as a buffer/cushion between their sectors and power blocs. The idea may be a russian one. But the execution was act of both allied blocs.

I agree the slogans weren´t well made. But if I compare them with the (west) slogans today I would rather have the old ones back. At least they spoke of human values and not of acquisitiveness and that You have to have this and that to be someone in life. To their time I was bored of them - it was just too much always the same. I had to revise my thinking short after the fall of the wall. Much of the said of that slogans proved to be right in one or another way. We only didn´t notice that to this time. The elders who had it made off the war or were in the resistance etc. warned us always before the false picture we had of the west. And hadn´t the east payed all bills for the west concerning reparations it would have at least slowed down the economic miracle. The same counts for the very high quality products what were made in the east and bought to the west (and there it was sold as west product) to get some hard valuta. Why was that needed? Among other things because west germany and west allies influenced the rest of the world in that way they claimed sole right of representation - in fact that was denying sovereignty for the GDR. That leads to a weak/soft currency - what lead to shortages in many a way. What leads to the need to get hard valuta from the foreign country.
The GDR was in many a way a prototype. It wasn´t perfect but had really good approaches in it. West as well as East Allies feared a success of that prototype. It was another pace in a direction what could become dangerous for the systems of them. And Yugoslavia´s advance wasn´t forgotten as well. The atmosphere of departure in both countries had to be crushed by the allies or there would have been a good chance the history had overrun the allied power blocs. That one could continue far more longer. I haven´t the nerves anymore to do so. Maybe I re-do my article about the NVA and GDR sometime or even start a totally new article concerning east and west advance in Germany after WW2. But currently I can´t imagine that.

Greetings :)
 

Bert Blitzkrieg

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Sempai, I really do respect you. But I shopped in East Berlin and not one of the products were high quality. Neither were the Wartburg and Trabant cars.
I don't know why you're bitter about "Die Wende". Of course a lot went wrong, but there were billions of euro's invested in the Eastern half of Germany.
 

Sempai

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That´s what I say - the high quality products You never have found in East Germany. They were used to gain D-Mark and Dollar etc.! And the west claimed it his own high quality products. The own people had to fall back on used or low quality products and similiar.
I´m bitter because nothing changed - only the wall isn´t material anymore but immaterial. And the politicians and so called economic representatives do all what they can to hold/keep that in the mind of all Germans. For example and as I mentioned earlier in the NVA article - Why and how can it be that East Germans get fewer money for the same work as West germans? Only to mention one of many things what aren´t right. And what do You think who get the main part of the billions of Euros for the rehabilitation of the East You have mentioned? East german companies - leaded by East Germans? And why it is still said the solidarity tax was raised to pay the rehabilitation of the East? Why the so celebrated "reunion" of Germany was made without a vote for a constitution how it was granted by the basic law if Germany should become one state again? Questions upon questions.

Greetings :)
 

Sempai

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Sad that such things happened between germans. Good he and his loved ones weren´t wounded or killed. Is there more info of the situation around? Fired the guard or not? How was the reaction on west germany border post? Etc. etc.

Greetings :)
 

mTk

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@Sempai I am very surprised by your comment "The same counts for the very high quality products what were made in the east and bought to the west (and there it was sold as west product) to get some hard valuta(Sp)".

I've never heard that before. I'd be interested to know about what those products were. Thanks.
 

Sempai

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That started with pantyhoses for women and went over household technique and luxury goods. Even tractors were delivered for the west german agribusiness - and, as I´ve just read, into the USA. They would look look like this or very similar:

I can remember me on a Fair of the Masters of Tomorrow (Messe der Meister von Morgen - was more the Youth Fair for/of Technology) or something like that were we went as a class/school trip. That event was to show the newest developments of the socialist working class - so or similar it was solicited. I was annoyed and bored most of the time. I was more in tanks and army things as that civil fair to this time. :D I wanted future tanks and fighters and so on. Nothing! And then - there it was a huge beast of a tractor what looked so modern to me. Sadly I can´t find a pic so far. But I continue searching. Of course You wouldn´t see this on east german fields. This was made for export. Sure there were much more but I think the mentioned things are enough to make a picture.

Greetings :)

P.S.: Here an Spiegel article of 1984: http://www.spiegel.de/spiegel/print/d-13510708.html If You can read german a bit or have a good internet translator You will read "evidence" written by the former capitalism foreign country - by west german journalism.

@Nathangun: Right, but that was a russian vehicle - no east german one. ;)
 
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