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  • From 1961 to 1989 the Berlin Wall was the physical manifestation of the Iron Curtain, separating West Berlin from the surrounding German Democratic Republic (East Germany). Originally erected as a series of barriers and barbed wire, the proper wall was built just inside East Germany territory with a large cleared space before the wall known as the "death strip." This year marks the 30th year since the removal of the wall and the reunification of Berlin. <br><br> The construction site of the Berlin Wall is pictured on June 6, 1961.
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  • West Berlin inhabitants wave at the newly erected Berlin Wall in 1961. Many friends and families were separated by the wall and security forces manning it. The East German justification for the wall was that it was an anti-fascist protection from hostility of the West.
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  • The fully uniformed 19-year-old East German policeman Conrad Schumann jumps over the barbed wire to escape into West Berlin, Aug., 15, 1961. Schumann was manning the fence when he defected to West Berlin and immediately entered a police vehicle. The incident was filmed and photographed by press on the West Berlin side.
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  • Soviet and American tanks face each other during the Checkpoint Charlie standoff at the Berlin sector border in Friedrichstrasse in 1961. Angered by a U.S. Diplomat’s trouble with crossing into East Berlin, American tanks were sent to the checkpoint. This prompted a standoff for 16 hours between Oct. 27 and 28, before all of the tanks eventually retreated.
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  • Two West Berlin policemen with their new American rapid fire rifles on duty with a snowman on Christmas Day, 1961, in front of the Berlin Wall at the Brandenburg Gate. The gate was completed in 1791 and became a symbol of the divided city.
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  • President John F. Kennedy stands before a huge crowd in West Berlin on June 26, 1963. Here he made his famous remark, "Ich bin ein Berliner," and pledged support to West Berlin against Communist threats.
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  • Heinz Meixner with his fiancee and her mother Frau Thurau, show how they arranged themselves in his Austin-Healey Sprite to drive through the Berlin Wall, Germany, circa 1965. The daring escape was carried out with a convertible car with the windshield removed and air let out of the tires to form a low profile. Meixner drove under a barrier and his family escaped into West Berlin.
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  • The Berlin Wall is seen in the 1970s before the final construction of the fourth generation wall, which was finished in 1975. There were 140 confirmed deaths near the wall including people trying to escape, guards and bystanders.
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  • U.S. soldiers in the American Sector of Berlin keep a close watch on activities along the Berlin Wall in 1981.
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  • An aerial view of divided Berlin, looking over Saint Thomas Church in the western part of the city, across the Berlin Wall to the east, 1981.
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  • A man looks at a memorial to Peter Fechter at the Berlin Wall. Fechter was 18 years old when East German soldiers shot him as he tried to escape into West Berlin. Fechter lay bleeding for an hour until he died in full view of Western media and spectators.
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  • President Ronald Reagan, commemorating the 750th anniversary of Berlin, addresses on June 12, 1987, the people of West Berlin at the base of the Brandenburg Gate, near the Berlin wall. Due to the amplification system being used, the President's words could also be heard on the Eastern (Communist-controlled) side of the wall. "Tear down this wall!" was the famous command from President Reagan to Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev to destroy the Berlin Wall. The address Reagan delivered that day is considered by many to have affirmed the beginning of the end of the Cold War.
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  • People carry posters on Alexanderplatz in East Berlin on Nov. 4, 1989. On this day, a mass demonstration took place where nearly one million people demanded political change in the GDR.
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  • The Berlin Wall in front of Branderburg Gate on the night of Nov. 9, 1989. Thousands of celebrants climbed on the Wall as news spread rapidly that the East German Government would now start granting exit visas to anyone who wanted to go to the West. The announcement was misinterpreted as meaning the border was now open and East German border guards were unable to stop the rush of people to the Wall. Within hours people were smashing sections of the Wall with their own hand tools and these first cracks in the Wall led to the complete opening of the border within days.
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  • An East German soldier speaks with West Germans celebrating the fall of the Berlin Wall at the Brandenburg Gate, Nov. 10, 1989.
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  • A man smashes part of the Berlin Wall as East German police fire water hoses through the wall into West Berlin, Germany, November, 1989.
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  • West Germans break a section of the Berlin Wall near the Brandenburg Gate on November 11, 1989.
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  • East and West German police contain the crowd of East Berliners flowing through the recent opening made in the Berlin Wall at Potsdamer Square on Nov. 12, 1989.
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  • A man celebrates on the Berlin wall on November 12, 1989 in Berlin, Germany.
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  • A long row of East German cars pass through "Checkpoint Charlie" into West Berlin, where they're greeted by enthusiastic West Berliners on Nov. 10, 1989.
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  • A West German offers champagne to an East German passing through Checkpoint Charlie.
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  • East German soldiers and West German soldiers remove some of the first sections of the Berlin Wall at Potsdammer Platz on Nov. 11, 1989.
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  • Two East German border guards talk to a West German policeman through a hole in the Berlin Wall in Feb. 1990 in Berlin, Germany.
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  • Tourists walk past remains of the Berlin Wall on March 21, 2000 in Berlin, Germany.

    Tourists walk past remains of the Berlin Wall on March 21, 2000 in Berlin, Germany.
    Tourists walk past remains of the Berlin Wall on March 21, 2000 in Berlin, Germany.
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  • People enjoy the view from Mauer Park as a section of the Berlin Wall stands behind them on March 31, 2004 in Berlin, Germany.
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  • Tourists crowd around Checkpoint Charlie, the most well known crossing point between East and West Berlin during the Cold War.
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  • A graffiti-covered segment of the original Berlin wall, built in 1961, separating Berlin's Pankow district in the east from the Reinickendorf district in the west, is seen on September 30, 2019. Discovered in January 2018 by local historian Christian Bormann, the 80-metre stretch, made of brick and augmented with metal brackets for barbed wire, is allegedly one of the last remnants of the original wall contructed in 1961, before reinforced concrete slabs topped with a smoothed pipe were introduced in 1975/76.
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  • A screen shows Argentinian-born conductor Daniel Barenboim after the release of balloons as part of the light installation "Lichtgrenze" (Light Border) from the former route of the Berlin Wall during a Street Party organized by German government to mark the 25th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall, in front of the Brandenburg Gate on Nov. 9, 2014 in Berlin.
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