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THE BERLIN WALL The city of Berlin is in the eastern portion of Germany about 35 miles west of the post-1945 Polish border When the German Empire was created in 1871 Berlin was its capital The city remained the capital of Germany until after World War II when the United States France Great Britain and the Soviet Union occupied four separate zones of the city The city of Berlin itself was divided into East and West West Berlin occupied by British French and US forces was supported by the Federal Republic of Germany FRG commonly known as West Germany The Soviet Union sponsored the creation of East Germany including East Berlin under the German Democratic Republic DDR wwwlycoshistoric sitesBerlin Wall Not long after midnight on August 13 1961 subway and elevated trains mysteriously stopped traveling between East and West Berlin Heavy trucks rumbled through the quiet night Jackhammers began to chatter along the border of the Soviet sector of the divided city Curious onlookers caught glimpses of streets being torn up before the East German police shooed them away At 111AM the Warsaw Pact the organization of Communist Eastern European nations released an official statement According to the statement West Germany was deceiving bribing and blackmailing East Germans to undermine the East German state In response reliable safeguards were being set up around West Berlin Berliners awoke the next morning to discover just what that message meant barbed wire bricks and soldiers had completely divided East from West Berlin No one was allowed to cross the border in either direction Berlin the former capital of Germany and once a thriving center of European culture had been cut in two Mirabile p 7 The wall itself was made of steel barbed wire fence and hundreds of miles of smooth concrete ten to thirteen feet high It cut across 193 roads and cut West Berlin off not just
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