Cold War Symbol – The Berlin Wall

In April 1945 Russian soldiers entered Berlin , and hoisted a flag above the bombed out Reichstag.

They sacked the building taking away souvenirs including a bust of Hitler who had killed himself a few days earlier.

With Berlin in ruins Churchill, Truman and Stalin met at Potsdam and the resulting negotiations divided the city.



At first the Soviets thought the division wouldn’t last and they closed the land corridor to Berlin to force the issue . For a year from 1948 to 1949 the western part of the city was sustained by airlifts. An aircraft landed on average every sixty seconds. Over the course of a year there were almost 300,000 flights to the beleaguered city delivering 100,000 tons of cargo.

The border between East and West  was still open and over the course of the next decade millions of East Germans left . In that time  East Germany, known as the German Democratic Republic( GDR)lost six million people- almost a fifth of its population – many leaving  via West Berlin.



Finally in 1961 the East Germans erected the Berlin Wall to stop the flow of people leaving.

Today only a few remnants of the Berlin Wall remain. For almost 30 years the Wall symbolised the division between east and west .until it was dismantled in 1989.

A one and a half kilometre section is still preserved and has become an outdoor art installation after  more than 100 different artists from around the world painted different blocks after the re unification of the city in 1989.

The Cold War era has become something of a nostalgic tourist attraction more than 30 years after the collapse of Communism and the Wall .

Hired Trabants, the quaint East German vehicle of the Comnunist era, can even be hired to drive around landmarks of the old east Berlin.

Elsewhere the original sign is all that remains of Checkpoint Charlie where crossings between the east and west of the city was allowed.

Nearby a lonely watchtower is all that remains of the East German guard towers erected to stop people trying to escape across the wall. More than 200 were killed trying.

An original section of the wall still survives outside the former headquarters of Hitler’s SS and Gestapo who caused so much pain and suffering and led to the division of a great European city.