Sunday, January 3, 2010

The Berlin Wall & East Side Gallery

By 1961, 3.5 million East Germans, about 20% of the population, fled to the west. In order to prevent the "brain drain", of educated professionals and skilled workers, the government put up a concrete barrier that cut off East Germany from West Berlin.

The DDR's "Anti-Fascist Protection Wall" had one purpose and it wasn't to protect the East German capital from the West. It was to keep its citizens from escaping.

The wall ran from for 156 km (97 miles) around West Berlin and for 43 km (27) which actually divided West and East Berlin. The wall was built slightly inside of East Germany territory so that it did not encroach on West Berlin.

Here's a video that shows how the city was divided.

Most everyone knows that the west side of the Berlin Wall was decorated with murals and graffiti. Well after the Wall came down in 1989, artists were able to paint the eastside of the Wall that had been untouchable until that time.

Berlin's East Side Gallery is a 1.3 km long section of the wall near the center of Berlin. There are around 106 paintings making it the largest open air gallery in the world.

Update 2023:  Here's a 7-minute animated history of the Berlin Wall that I found on YouTube.

©Simple History

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