The Rise And Fall Of The Berlin Wall

Stretching more than 130 miles at 12 feet tall and standing for more than 30 years, the Berlin Wall stood as a symbol of the Cold War. The Wall was created to divide East and West Germany politically, socially and economically. Constructed as a means to prohibit Soviet Union-associated east Berliners from crossing over into western territory, the Berlin Wall showcased a number of escape traps. Barbed wire, buried mines and fitted pipes made it difficult for the approximate 100,000 easterners attempting to transcend the wall—5,000 to 10,000 of which were successful. From the western perspective, the wall was of little bother. Those living on the west side were able to legally cross after obtaining an official permit, and often threw garbage and other waste over the wall, adding to the chilly political climate. Yet, the fall of the Soviet Union ushered in a new era of hope for a united Germany. On November 13, 1989, the wall's unyielding symbolic power began to chip away, and by June 1990 the structure was completely demolished.

Now, the Berlin Wall can be seen as a historic relic and piece of art all over the world. Graffiti from the west side serves as a backdrop in a Las Vegas men's room, in a Dallas hotel lobby, in museums, and scattered across small German towns. After more than three decades of division, Germany now thrives as a single entity. Still, we must ask the question: How can we prevent this from happening again? This playlist takes you through the complex history of the Berlin Wall.

Written by Curiosity Staff August 11, 2014

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