images against walls
Etta Gerdes
Murat German
Simona Ghizzoni
Simone Göstl
Kelly Gorham
Brian Griffin
Soós György

Kelly Gorham

Great Falls MN, USA

The Berlin Wall is possibly the most notable symbol of the Cold War. The 165-kilometer, fortified border encapsulated West Berlin from 1961 to November 9, 1989. The German Democratic Republic government constructed the border to "stop offensive activities by revisionist and militaristic powers in West Germany." GDR head Walter Ulbricht referred to the border as an "Anti-fascist Protective Wall." Ultimately, the Wall was built to stem the flow of refugees to the West and protect the economy of East Germany. This was the fourth wall in Berlin's history. The first two were built to protect the city from invasion. The third helped enforce levies and taxes. The Wall carried a heavy emotional toll as it severed neighborhoods and families who were separated after construction. More than 100 people were killed while trying to escape across the wall in Berlin. Just more than 5,000 people successfully made their way to the west.

An empty guard tower stands over a wall of the Stasi prison. The Ministry for State Security, commonly known as Stasi, was the secret police of East Germany. The Stasi were held in the same regard as the KGB for their effective intelligence techniques and repressive nature toward ordinary citizens. 180,000 informers assisted in the effort, which included the acts of monitoring telephone conversations, checking personal mail, and the darker arts of kidnapping, torture and execution.

A section of the Berlin Wall stands below modern office buildings in Potsdamer Platz. The area was completely leveled during WWII and left desolate during the Cold War after it was divided by the Wall. On November 9, 1989, the Wall was breached at Potsdamer Platz among several other locations. One year later, ex-Pink Floyd member Roger Waters staged the famous concert, "The Wall," at this location. This concert brought the first post-Cold War study to the area, where sections of Hitler's main bunker were found. Potsdamer Platz is now one of the most modern centers for business and commerce in Europe and has had millions of dollars poured into its reconstruction.