The wall between East and West Berlin was nearly 12 feet high and approximately 27 miles long, with 302 watchtowers and 55,000 anti-personnel explosive devices (landmines).
To prevent attempts to climb the wall or escape by digging through it, the wall was reinforced with barbed wire, spikes, metal bars, bunkers, and vehicles turned into obstacles.
The wide open area of mud and sand, the buffer zone between the two walls, became known as the “no man’s land” or “death strip”, where the guards on the watchtowers could shoot anyone who tried to escape.
The most famous border crossing was known as Checkpoint Charlie.
1949- The zones occupied by Britain, France and the United States became West Germany (formally known as the Federal Republic of Germany). The Soviet zone becomes East Germany (formally known as the German Democratic Republic). West Germany is a democratic republic. East Germany is a communist country linked to the Soviet Union.
1949-1961 – Over 2.7 million East Germans fled to the West. Foreign nationals, West Germans, West Berliners and Allied military personnel are allowed to enter East Berlin, but East Berliners require a special pass to leave.
August 12, 1961 – East German Communist Party leader Walter Ulbricht signs an order to erect a barricade separating East and West Berlin.
August 13, 1961 – East German security chief Erich Honecker orders police and troops to put up a barbed wire fence and start building concrete barricades.
August 18, 1961 – US Vice President Lyndon B. Johnson and retired General Lucius Clay fly to Berlin to show US support for West Germany.
August twenty, 1961- The US is sending a 1,500-troop task force to Berlin as border tensions escalate.
August 23, 1961 – Residents of West Berlin without permits are prohibited from entering East Berlin.
June 26, 1963 – US President John F. Kennedy addresses a crowd in West Berlin at the Rathaus Schöneberg (City Hall) on Rudolph Wilde Platz: “Today, in the world of freedom, the proudest boast is “Ich bin ein Berliner” (“I am a Berliner”). ) all free people, wherever they live, are citizens of Berlin. And therefore, as a free man, I am proud of the words “Ich bin ein Berliner”.
September 3, 1971- Negotiations between the US, Britain, France, and the Soviet Union resulted in the Four Power Agreement on Berlin, an edict to improve conditions for West Berliners and facilitate travel to and from West Germany and West Berlin, as well as travel by West Berliners to the East. It will also normalize Berlin’s status as a divided city.
December 21, 1972- West and East Germany sign the Basic Treaty normalizing diplomatic relations and recognizing each other’s sovereignty.
April 1989 – The border guards of the GDR are instructed to stop “the use of firearms to prevent violations of the border.”
October 18, 1989 – The head of the Communist Party, Honecker, was deposed and replaced by Egon Krenz.
November 2, 1989 – Krenz announces sweeping political and economic reforms.
november four, 1989- More than half a million people are participating in a freedom rally in East Berlin demanding free elections.
November 6, 1989 – A preliminary law is passed giving all citizens the right to leave and leave with restrictions. Travel time is still limited and authorities can arbitrarily withhold permission to travel.
November 7, 1989 – The East German cabinet resigns. Nearly half of the members of the Politburo are removed and replaced the next day.
November 9, 1989 – East Germany lifts restrictions on travel to the West. Politburo member Günther Schabowski announces that East German citizens can “leave the country through East German border checkpoints”, effective immediately.
November 9-10, 1989 – The cheering crowds destroy the wall piece by piece with hands, picks, sledgehammers and shovels.
November 10-11, 1989 – Several new checkpoints have been opened. Tens of thousands of people are moving to West Berlin.
October 3, 1990 – East and West Germany officially united under the name of the Federal Republic of Germany.