A barrier which separated eastern and western Europe
It was the concrete barrier which physically and ideologically divided Berlin from 1961 to 1989 and created mutual suspicion between East and West.
And as anybody who has seen the Steven Spielberg film Bridge of Spies will be aware, the Berlin Wall was the focus both of myriad escape attempts and deaths of those who tried to cross it.
Construction was commenced by the German Democratic Republic in August 1961 and the structure cut off West Berlin from surrounding East Germany, including East Berlin.
The barrier included guard towers placed along large concrete walls, accompanied by a wide area – later known as the “death strip” – which contained anti-vehicle trenches andotherdefences.
The Eastern Bloc portrayed the wall as protecting its population from fascist elements conspiring to prevent the “will of the people” in building a socialist state in East Germany.
GDR authorities officially referred to the Berlin Wall as the Anti-Fascist Protection Rampart.
However, the West Berlin city government sometimes referred to it as the “Wall of Shame”, a term coined by mayor Willy Brandt in reference to its restriction on freedom of movement.
It came to symbolise the “Iron Curtain” that separated Western Europe and the Eastern Bloc during the Cold War.
Between 1961 and 1989, it prevented anybody crossing the great divide, but more than 100,000 people attempted to escape and at least 5,000 of them were successful.
The estimated death toll was between 150 and 200.