For the chess position, see Ruy
View in 1986 from the west side of graffiti art
on the wall’s infamous "death strip"
Satellite image of Berlin, with the wall’s loca-
tion marked in yellow
The Berlin Wall (German: Berliner Mauer)
was a physical barrier completely encircling
West Berlin, separating it from the German
Democratic Republic (GDR) (East Germany),
including East Berlin. The longer inner Ger-
man border demarcated the border between
East and West Germany. Both borders came
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 vic-
tims’ group claims that more than 200 people
were killed trying to flee from East to West
Berlin. The East German government is-
sued shooting orders to border guards deal-
ing with defectors, though such orders are
not the same as shoot to kill orders which
GDR officials denied ever issuing.
When the East German government an-
nounced 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.
After the end of World War II in Europe, what
remained of Nazi Germany west of the Oder-
Neisse line was divided into four occupation
zones (per the Potsdam Agreement), each
one controlled by one of the fou