Since June 1, 1962 the access to the DRG was restricted from West Berlin. An agreement in 1963 permitted that more than 100,000 West Berlin citizens visited their relatives to celebrate the New Year.
The wall had a length of more than 120 km. The original construction suffered various improvements through the years of its existence. In June 1962 a parallel, improved wire fence wasconstructed to reinforce the security of the wall. A long the wall, many security towers were constructed, those towers were controlled by policemen and soldiers.
The fourth generation or the fourth improvement was the final and most sophisticated version of the wall. It was constructed in 1975 and finished in 1980, it was reinforced with 45,000 separated sections of reinforced concrete, each with 3.6meters high and 1.2 meters wide. This concrete provisions were added to the wall to prevent escapes from driving cars through the barricades. The top of the wall was lined with a smooth pipe, intended to make it more difficult to scale. It was reinforced with mesh fencing, signal fencing, anti-vehicle trenches, barbed wire, dogs, and long lines of “beds of nails”, 116 security towers wereconstructed a long the wall and 20 bunkers were used to defend it.9
There were nine border crossings between East and West Berlin, which allowed visits to citizens of West Berlin into East Berlin. Those crossings were restricted according to which nationality was allowed to use, no foreign people were allowed to cross.10
West Germans that wanted to go to the East, had to apply for a visa inan East Berlin embassy. The procedures to get a visa were slow and lasted several weeks, and most of the times the visas were denied. To those people that their visa were approved had only one day to visit their relatives or do the things they needed to do in East Berlin. The visas were only approved to people of elderly age, for important family matters, and for people who had to travel to theeast for professional reasons. Allied military personnel and civilian officials could enter and exit East Berlin without submitting to East German passport controls, purchasing a visa or being required to exchange money, with the condition of maintaining the peace and not creating any kind of conflicts.11
During the existence of the wall 5,000 attempts of escape to West Berlin were recorded;192 people died when they were trying to escape. The soldiers and policemen had orders to shoot and kill those people who tried to escape. Another 200 people resulted very injured in their attempt to escape and about 105 of those who resulted injured died later.12
Many people succeed escaping from East Berlin, but the most famous leak of the Berlin wall was the escape of 57 people through atunnel digged by West Berlin citizens with a length of 145 m. This event occurred in the first days of October 1964.13 The failed attempt of Peter Fechter was one of the most cruel, he attempted to escape with his friend Helmut Kulbeik , the soldiers began shooting them, Helmut escaped but Peter received several shots and died at the top of the wall. Those people who succeed escaping were helped byWest Berlin authorities.13
In a speech at the Brandenburg Gate commemorating the 750th anniversary of Berlin, Ronald Reagan challenged Mikhail Gorbachev, that was the General Secretary of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union, to tear down the wall as a symbol of increasing freedom in the East.14
Protest demonstrations broke out all over East Germany in September 1989. At first, theprotesters were mostly people wanting to leave to the West. This was the start of what East Germans generally called the “Peaceful Revolution”. The protest demonstrations grew considerably and in November 4, half million people gathered and protested peacefully, but manifested their unconformity to the East Berlin government.15
The wave of refugees leaving East Germany for the West had...
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