“Barbed Wire Sunday”

1960s: Days of Rage

On August 13, 1961, the National People’s Army of the German Democratic Republic began constructing the Berlin Wall

“At midnight on this day in 1961, units of the East German army began to close the border between East and West Berlin. Troops and workers tore up streets running alongside the border to make them impassable to most vehicles while installing barbed wire entanglements and fences along the 97 miles around the three western sectors — American, British and French — and the 27 miles that divided West and East Berlin. The date became widely referred to as ‘Barbed Wire Sunday’ in Germany. The chief purpose of the wall was to keep East Germans from fleeing to the West. It was guarded by soldiers under orders to shoot anyone trying to escape. During the 28 years that the wall stood, some 5,000 people attempted to escape, of whom an estimated 600…

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