Protest against Egon Krenz being installed as chairman of the State Council outside the State Council building in East Berlin, 24 October 1989.
Source: picture-alliance/dpa/Wolfgang Kumm

The wall

Building the Wall in 1961 cemented the division of Germany after the end of World War II. In the western part, the Federal Republic of Germany accepted the borders of the GDR in the 1972 Basic Treaty. West Germany began building “good neighbourly relations” but stood by the principle of joint German citizenship. In the eastern part of Germany, the GDR gave up the idea of German reunification in its 1974 constitution.

Divided Berlin 1961 - 1989
Source: Robert-Havemann-Gesellschaft/Graphik eckedesign
A line of armed People’s Policemen blocking off Berlin’s Friedrichstraße at the point where the Wall was later built, 13 August 1961. Walter Ulbricht, the head of the GDR state and the Socialist Unity Party, at a press conference on 15 June 1961: Nobody has the intention of building a wall.
Source: ullstein bild/Kurt Hamann
On the morning of 13 August 1961 the Berliners had a rude awakening: a border had been drawn across the middle of their city. The GDR government had closed the last escape route to the West in a country that had been divided for the past 16 years. The SED built an almost insurmountable death strip for its own subjects, equipped with walls, watchtowers and barbed wire. Anyone trying to cross the border was shot down.
Source: ullstein bild/Jung
On the morning of 13 August 1961 the Berliners had a rude awakening: a border had been drawn across the middle of their city. The GDR government had closed the last escape route to the West in a country that had been divided for the past 16 years. The SED built an almost insurmountable death strip for its own subjects, equipped with walls, watchtowers and barbed wire. Anyone trying to cross the border was shot down.
Source: ullstein bild/Jung
Building the Wall in 1961 cemented the division of Germany after the end of World War II. In the western part, the Federal Republic of Germany accepted the borders of the GDR in the 1972 Basic Treaty. West Germany began building “good neighbourly relations” but stood by the principle of joint German citizenship. In the eastern part of Germany, the GDR gave up the idea of German reunification in its 1974 constitution.
Source: ullstein bild/Hilde
Building the Wall in 1961 cemented the division of Germany after the end of World War II. In the western part, the Federal Republic of Germany accepted the borders of the GDR in the 1972 Basic Treaty. West Germany began building “good neighbourly relations” but stood by the principle of joint German citizenship. In the eastern part of Germany, the GDR gave up the idea of German reunification in its 1974 constitution.
Source: ullstein bild/Hilde
19-year-old Conrad Schumann was on duty on the two-day-old border in Berlin on 15 August 1961. On the spur of the moment he jumped over the barbed wire into the West.
Source: Staatsarchiv Hamburg
Agonising death: during an attempted escape, GDR border guards shot at 18-year-old Peter Fechter on 17 August 1962. They only recovered his body an hour later. The West Berlin police and the Western Allies were forced to watch on as he died; they were not allowed onto East Berlin territory.
Source: ullstein bild/Bera
Building the Wall in 1961 cemented the division of Germany after the end of World War II. In the western part, the Federal Republic of Germany accepted the borders of the GDR in the 1972 Basic Treaty. West Germany began building “good neighbourly relations” but stood by the principle of joint German citizenship. In the eastern part of Germany, the GDR gave up the idea of German reunification in its 1974 constitution.
Source: Hans-Peter Stiebing
Building the Wall in 1961 cemented the division of Germany after the end of World War II. In the western part, the Federal Republic of Germany accepted the borders of the GDR in the 1972 Basic Treaty. West Germany began building “good neighbourly relations” but stood by the principle of joint German citizenship. In the eastern part of Germany, the GDR gave up the idea of German reunification in its 1974 constitution.
Source: Robert-Havemann-Gesellschaft/Jürgen Nagel
13 August 1986. Protest in West Berlin on the 25th anniversary of the Berlin Wall.
Source: Hans-Peter Stiebing
The SED regime continually fortified the border facilities in Berlin. This picture was taken a year after the border was closed, on 8 August 1962, at the House of Ministries.
Absurd normality: this GDR postcard from the 1980s shows the intact border at Brandenburg Gate as viewed from East Berlin. People had been leaving the East of Germany for the West since 1945. Up until the Wall was built in 1961, 2.7 million people had left the GDR. From 1961 to 1989, forty thousand East Germans survived the potentially lethal escape, some five thousand of them crossing the border installations in Berlin. Many paid with their lives though. Crosses for the dead were erected along the Wall in West Berlin.
Source: Robert-Havemann-Gesellschaft
On 8 April 1989 two young men attempted an escape at the Berlin crossing point on Chausseestraße but were arrested at gunpoint. Four days previously, the border guards had been ordered not to use arms to prevent illegal crossings any more.
Source: AP-Photo
On 8 April 1989 two young men attempted an escape at the Berlin crossing point on Chausseestraße but were arrested at gunpoint. Four days previously, the border guards had been ordered not to use arms to prevent illegal crossings any more.
Source: AP-Photo
On 8 April 1989 two young men attempted an escape at the Berlin crossing point on Chausseestraße but were arrested at gunpoint. Four days previously, the border guards had been ordered not to use arms to prevent illegal crossings any more.
Source: AP-Photo/rk/str
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