Fifty Years Later, The Berlin Wall Goes Digital

Fifty years ago today, Berliners woke up to find that overnight a six-foot-high barbed-wire fence had sealed off West Berlin to those living in the East. Over the next three decades, some 5,000 people would risk their lives trying to get over or under the wall into the West; more than 100 were killed.

The bizarre and cruel history of the German Democratic Republic can defy comprehension. How did the wall go up so quickly? What was it like that Sunday morning? What was it like for the next 28 years? More readily accessible in our memories are the words of American presidents (Kennedy: Ich bin ein Berliner; Reagan: Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall!) and the images of people celebrating on the wall when it fell in 1989.

The 20th-century wall was a concrete thing in the most literal sense. Today, its physical bits are dispersed around the world. But the wall lives on digitally. For those looking to understand or even in some small, vicarious way experience the its legacy, the Internet provides in abundance. Here are a few places online where people have put to use a range of multimedia tools to preserve footage, photos, and memories of the wall.

Presented by

Rebecca J. Rosen is a senior editor at The Atlantic, where she oversees the Business Channel. She was previously an associate editor at The Wilson Quarterly.

Never Tell People How Old They Look

Age discrimination affects us all. Who cares about youth? James Hamblin turns to his colleague Jeffrey Goldberg for advice.

Join the Discussion

After you comment, click Post. If you’re not already logged in you will be asked to log in or register.

blog comments powered by Disqus

Video

Never Tell People How Old They Look

Age discrimination affects us all. James Hamblin turns to a colleague for advice.

Video

Would You Live in a Treehouse?

A treehouse can be an ideal office space, vacation rental, and way of reconnecting with your youth.

Video

Pittsburgh: 'Better Than You Thought'

How Steel City became a bikeable, walkable paradise

Video

A Four-Dimensional Tour of Boston

In this groundbreaking video, time moves at multiple speeds within a single frame.

Video

Who Made Pop Music So Repetitive? You Did.

If pop music is too homogenous, that's because listeners want it that way.

More in Technology

Just In