The image at the right is a portion of the wall, and the Death Zone on the East German Side. It includes a guard tower and a row of Czech hedgehogs. Click for an enlarged view. Photo by George Garrigues. (For more info on the photo and the author see this link, or the author’s link.)
I was surprised (when I started thinking about this post in August) to find out that there was media coverage of the Berlin Wall recently. True, most of it was German and European, but it seems people mark the anniversary of the building of the wall, or at least they did this year on August 13th.
The Berlin Wall has now been torn down longer than it was in place. The Cold War is a distant memory. So much so, that when Hawaii decided to scare everyone a few years back with a fake missile-attack warning, people were guessing that it would take DAYS for a missile from North Korea to reach Hawaii. (Maximum travel time for an intercontinental ballistic missile from anywhere to anywhere is on the order of 35 minutes from launch. Longer or shorter depending on the exact locations of launch and target.) My guess is that anyone born after 1995 or so won’t know (without access to a web search) what Checkpoint Charlie was, or who the Stazi were. Does anyone remember why people thought Kennedy told the people of Berlin that he was a “jelly doughnut?” Or what it was like to wonder about imminent death from thermonuclear war?
There is too much history to include much in a post like this. The East German border guard who jumped the barrier when it was just a 3-foot high coil of barbed wire, the 2 brothers who escaped separately and then flew back to get their kid brother, and the more than 100 people who were killed by their own government for trying to leave. [Insert reference to recent events in Venezuela here.]
Since I feel the need to include at least one reference. A collection of photos seems best at this juncture. The story of Berlin Wall in pictures, 1961-1989. You can find other accounts in other places. Even the Wiki does a fair job.