Checkpoint Charlie


The first guard house at Checkpoint Charlie in Berlin

Checkpoint Charlie (or ‘Checkpoint C’) was the name given by the Western Allies to the best-known Berlin Wall crossing point between East Berlin and West Berlin during the Cold War (1947–1991). East German leader Walter Ulbricht agitated and maneuvered to get the Soviet Union‘s permission to construct the Berlin Wall in 1961 to stop Eastern Bloc emigration and defection westward through the Soviet border system, preventing escape across the city sector border from communist East Berlin into West Berlin. Checkpoint Charlie became a symbol of the Cold War, representing the separation of East and West. Soviet and American tanks briefly faced each other at the location during the Berlin Crisis of 1961. … On August 13, 1961, a barbed-wire barrier that would become the Berlin Wall separating East and West Berlin was erected by the East Germans. Two days later, police and army engineers began to construct a more permanent concrete wall.[10] Along with the wall, the 830 mile zonal border became 3.5 miles wide on its East German side in some parts of Germany with a tall steel-mesh fence running along a ‘death strip’ bordered by mines, as well as channels of ploughed earth, to slow escapees and more easily reveal their footprints. … Checkpoint Charlie was a crossing point in the Berlin Wall located at the junction of Friedrichstraße with Zimmerstraße and Mauerstraße (which for older historical reasons coincidentally means ‘Wall Street’). It is in the Friedrichstadt neighborhood. Checkpoint Charlie was designated as the single crossing point (by foot or by car) for foreigners and members of the Allied forces. (Members of the Allied forces were not allowed to use the other sector crossing point designated for use by foreigners, the Friedrichstraße railway station). … The Berlin Wall was erected with great efficiency by the East German government in 1961, but there were many means of escape that had not been anticipated. For example, Checkpoint Charlie was initially blocked only by a gate, and a citizen of the DDR (East Germany) smashed a car through it to escape, so a strong pole was erected. Another escapee approached the barrier in a convertible, the windscreen removed prior to the event, and slipped under the barrier. This was repeated two weeks later, so the East Germans duly lowered the barrier and added uprights. …”
Wikipedia
8 Things You Should Know About Checkpoint Charlie
Guardian – Berlin crisis: the standoff at Checkpoint Charlie
Wall Museum – Checkpoint Charlie
YouTube: Cold War Berlin-Checkpoint Charlie

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