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Picture This: RFE/RL's Gallery Archive
When The Wall Went Up: Berlin 1961
November 11, 2009 14:24 GMT
RFE/RL archival photos of the construction of the Berlin Wall in 1961.
East German troops were prominently deployed following the division of East and West Berlin on August 13, 1961. - The photographs in this slide show were all culled from the RFE/RL archives at the Hoover Institution at Stanford University.
East German police patrol a temporary, prefabricated section of the Berlin Wall. - After midnight on August 13, East German troops began erecting what Communist East German leader Walter Ulbricht called an "anti-fascist protection barrier." On June 15 of that year, he had declared: "Nobody intends to build a wall."
A section of the temporary wall snaking through Berlin - In the first week of the division of Berlin, East German authorities erected a barbed-wire fence, laid barbed-wire coils, and mounted heavily armed patrols.The construction of the real wall would begin in the next week or so.
An East German armored car patrols the zonal border between East and West Berlin during the week of August 13, 1961.
William Marsh, Berlin bureau chief of Radio Free Europe, interviews a police official at Potsdamer Platz. - In the background, East German workers are erecting the permanent wall, which bisected Potsdamer Platz and rendered the square a desolate wasteland.
View of the newly constructed Berlin Wall, looking from West to East - On August 19, 1961, the wall claimed its first life as a man fell to his death trying to climb down from his top-floor apartment in East Berlin's Bernauerstrasse to the pavement below in West Berlin.
View of the newly constructed Berlin Wall, looking from West to East - On August 24, 1961, 24-year-old Guenter Litfin was shot dead as he swam across the River Spree. The incident is generally accepted as the date of the first killing by border guards after the wall went up.
A section of the wall - On August 17, 1962, 18-year-old Peter Fechter bled to death in the no-man's land between East and West Berlin after being shot trying to escape. Western cameramen recorded the scene for nearly an hour before guards took away his body.
The wall with the Brandenburg Gate in the background - On June 12, 1987, near this site, U.S. President Ronald Reagan famously demanded: "Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall."
Looking through the Brandenburg Gate from West to East Berlin in 1961
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