The Berlin Wall - Berliner Mauer
Photograph - Photo / Prints
The Berlin Wall (German: Berliner Mauer) was a barrier constructed by the German Democratic Republic (GDR, East Germany) starting on 13 August 1961, that completely cut off (by land) West Berlin from surrounding East Germany and from East Berlin. The barrier included guard towers placed along large concrete walls, which circumscribed a wide area (later known as the "death strip") that contained anti-vehicle trenches, "fakir beds" and other defenses. The Eastern Bloc claimed that the wall was erected to protect its population from fascist elements conspiring to prevent the "will of the people" in building a socialist state in East Germany. In practice, the Wall served to prevent the massive emigration and defection that marked Germany and the communist Eastern Bloc during the post-World War II period.
Before the Wall's erection, 3.5 million East Germans circumvented Eastern Bloc emigration restrictions and defected from the GDR, many by crossing over the border from East Berlin into West Berlin, from where they could then travel to West Germany and other Western European countries. Between 1961 and 1989, the wall prevented almost all such emigration. During this period, around 5,000 people attempted to escape over the wall, with an estimated death toll of over 600.
The fall of the Berlin Wall paved the way for German reunification, which was formally concluded on 3 October 1990.
Graffiting on the wall became popular for artists from all over the world and a place where tourists would go and admire the artwork. The West Berlin side of the wall had artwork completely covering the wall, while the East Berlin side was kept blank; as people were not permitted to get close enough to the eastside of the wall to paint anything.
June 4th, 2013
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