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COMMUNIST GDR BEGINS CONSTRUCTION OF THE BERLIN WALL - AUGUST 1961 - WAVING TO RELATIVES

The Berlin Wall was a physical barrier separating West Berlin from the German Democratic Republic (GDR) (East Germany), including East Berlin. The longer inner German border demarcated the border between East and West Germany. Both borders came to symbolize the Iron Curtain between Western Europe and the Eastern Bloc.

The wall separated East Germany from West Germany for more than a quarter-century, from the day construction began on 13 August 1961 until the Wall was opened on 9 November 1989. During this period, at least 98 people were confirmed killed trying to cross the Wall into West Berlin, according to official figures. However, a prominent victims' group claims that more than 200 people were killed trying to flee from East to West Berlin. The East German government issued shooting orders to border guards dealing with defectors, though such orders are not the same as shoot to kill orders which GDR officials denied ever issuing.

The fall of the Berlin Wall started in Hungary, where a reformist government started (May 2) to dismantle the Iron Curtain, with symbolic moments like the so called Paneuropean picnic (August 19) and the Austrian-Hungarian governmental meeting (August 23).

On September 11 thousands of East Germans started to cross the Austrian-Hungarian border to emigrate to West Germany.

That event caused popular demonstration and a irreversible political crisis in the government of GDR.

When the East German government announced on 9 November 1989, after several weeks of civil unrest, that all GDR citizens could visit West Germany and West Berlin, crowds of East Germans climbed onto and crossed the wall, joined by West Germans on the other side in a celebratory atmosphere. Over the next few weeks, parts of the wall were chipped away by a euphoric public and by souvenir hunters; industrial equipment was later used to remove almost all of the rest of it.

The fall of the Berlin Wall paved the way for German reunification, which was formally concluded on 3 October 1990.
 

COMMUNIST GDR BEGINS CONSTRUCTION OF THE BERLIN WALL - AUGUST 1961 - WAVING TO RELATIVES






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