The Berlin Wall, 25 Years After the Fall

This weekend, Germany will observe the 25th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall. The German Democratic Republic (East Germany) began erecting the barrier in 1961, building on existing checkpoints, and fortified it over nearly 30 years: The initial waist-high wooden gates gave way to massive concrete structures with buffer zones known as "death strips." The Berlin Wall was intended to halt the steady stream of defections from the Eastern Bloc; during its existence, only about 5,000 people managed to cross over, escaping into West Berlin. More than 100 are believed to have been killed in the attempt, most shot by East German border guards. In 1989, waves of protest in East Berlin and a flood of defections through neighboring Hungary and Czechoslovakia led the government to finally allow free passage across the border. West German citizens swarmed the wall, pulling parts of it down with hammers and machinery, an act that set the stage for Germany's reunification.

Read more
Hints: View this page full screen. Skip to the next and previous photo by typing j/k or ←/→.

Ads are being blocked

For us to continue writing great stories, we need to display ads.

Un-block Learn more
Back

Whitelist

Please select the extension that is blocking ads.

Back

Please follow the steps below

Most Recent

  • Gregorio Borgia / AP

    An Earthquake in Central Italy Topples Buildings, Killing Dozens

    Central Italy was struck by a powerful, shallow, 6.2-magnitude earthquake at 3:36 am local time, devastating several mountain villages, and resulting in at least 73 deaths so far.

  • Francois-Xavier Marit / AFP / Getty

    Rio 2016: Photos From the Final Weekend

    Today’s final entry encompasses rhythmic gymnastics, wrestling, triathlon, mountain biking, canoe, modern pentathlon, soccer, the Closing Ceremony, and much more.

  • Mark Havens

    Mesmerizing Motels of the Atomic Age

    An homage to the distinctive and disappearing architecture of a bygone era

  • Noah Berger / AP

    Photos of the Week: 8/13-8/19

    A sunset over Egypt, a moonrise over Syria, a nude statue of Donald Trump, floods in Louisiana, fires in California, Olympics in Rio, a new airship makes its maiden flight, and much more.

Join the Discussion