In pictures: remembering the Berlin Wall 30 years on
November 2019 marks 30 years since the fall of the Berlin Wall, East Germany’s solution to the mass emigration of its citizens at the height of the Cold War. To mark the anniversary, we rounded up a selection of images showcasing the history of the wall – from its construction in August 1961 to its fall in 1989...
The Berlin Wall was built at the height of the Cold War, on 13 August 1961. Its purpose? To keep disaffected East German citizens from moving to the west...
The Berlin Wall: key facts
When was the Berlin Wall built?
The Berlin Wall was constructed in August 1961 after East German communists were given approval by Moscow to close the border between East and West Germany and build a physical barrier.
Why was the Berlin Wall built?
The Berlin Wall was constructed to stop people from East Germany moving to the west at the height of the Cold War. Prior to the wall's existence, one in six people had been fleeing the communist German Democratic Republic (GDR), many in search of work and a better life.
The border installations around West Berlin zig-zagged for 163 kilometres, or just over 100 miles. "It turned the usual function of walls – to keep people out – on its head; this wall was solely to keep its citizens in," writes Professor Patrick Major for HistoryExtra.
When did the Berlin Wall fall?
The Berlin Wall fell on 9 November 1989, following a press conference in which East German politician Günter Schabowski suggested that people would be "immediately" able to apply for passports to travel to the west."By midnight tens of thousands of East Berliners had swamped the border checkpoints whose Stasi guards realised that the game was up," writes Professor Patrick Major.
- Did the Cold War ever really end?
- Escape from East Berlin: an audacious bid to tunnel under the Berlin Wall
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