Berlin Wall: Facts and Information

Here are some interesting facts about the Berlin Wall.

  • After World War II, Germany was divided into 4 zones. Three were controlled by America, Britain and France, while the 4th zone was controlled by the Russians and known as East Germany.
  • Because Berlin was in East Germany, it was also divided into the 4 zones. The Berlin wall was built by East Germany, to completely separate the Russian zone (called East Berlin) from the West.
  • The wall was built in 1961 and torn down in 1989. The tearing down of the wall led to Germany becoming a single country in October, 1990.
  • The wall was over 140 km in length, almost 4 metres high and had over 100 watchtowers along its length. The space between the West and East sides was often known as the Death Strip.
Berlin Wall
Construction of the Berlin Wall
  • Over 5,000 people successfully made it past the wall from East Berlin to West Berlin. They climbed over it, tunneled under it, and smuggled themselves in cars past guards.
  • However, over 100 people were killed trying to cross from East to West. The last person to die trying to escape was in March 1989, when their homemade gas filled balloon crashed.
  • The most famous border crossing on the Berlin Wall was Checkpoint Charlie. The checkpoint is now in the Allied Museum in what was the American sector of Berlin.
  • In July, 1988 the rock singer Bruce Springsteen performed in front of 300,000 people in East Berlin. He told them that he hoped the wall would come down, and 18 months later it did.
  • Several spy films feature the Berlin Wall. It can be seen in two classic British films of the 1960s, Funeral in Berlin and The Spy Who Came in From the Cold.
  • When the wall was torn down, pieces of it ended up all over the world. There are several pieces in the UK, including a section in London‘s Imperial War Museum.

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