“Mister Gorbachev, tear down this wall!”

–US President Ronald Reagan in a speech

at the Brandenburg Gate on June 12, 1987.

The Berlin wall was a barrier built in 1961to divide Berlin into East and West Berlin, each controlled by Soviet bloc and the Allied powers respectively. The wall also separated West Berlin from the surrounding territory, which was also under the direct control of the Soviets. The wall grew to be a heavily fortified structure, with traps, spikes, and watchtowers spread at regular intervals. The wall has featured in many tales of the divided Germany, from defections and high intrigue to desperate immigration and its horrors. The wall came to symbolize the ‘Iron Curtain’ – the separation of the Eastern and Western bloc.

The liberalization of the Soviet Union under ‘Glasnost’ and the revolutions in the Eastern bloc in 1989 meant that the wall, which was already crumbling in certain places, was fully under attack. Crowds from both sides gathered to dismantle the wall in a spirit of camaraderie. Today only small sections of the wall remain as monuments and united Germany, a recent addition to the world, has already put the divisions of the Cold War era behind. Today it is an economic force in Europe and Berlin is it’s bustling capital.