Guide West of the Wall

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Between and , the Wall prevented almost all such emigration. During this period, around 5, people attempted to escape over the Wall, with an estimated death toll ranging from to more than in and around Berlin. The Wall was built in to prevent East Germans from fleeing and stop an economically disastrous migration of workers. It was a symbol of the Cold War, and its fall in marked the approaching end of the war.

With the closing of the East-West sector boundary in Berlin, the vast majority of East Germans could no longer travel or emigrate to West Germany.

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Berlin soon went from the easiest place to make an unauthorized crossing between East and West Germany to the most difficult. Many families were split, and East Berliners employed in the West were cut off from their jobs. West Berlin became an isolated exclave in a hostile land.


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West Berliners demonstrated against the Wall, led by their Mayor Willy Brandt, who strongly criticized the United States for failing to respond. Allied intelligence agencies had hypothesized about a wall to stop the flood of refugees, but the main candidate for its location was around the perimeter of the city. I see no reason why the Soviet Union should think it is … to their advantage in any way to leave there that monument to communist failure.

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United States and UK sources expected the Soviet sector to be sealed off from West Berlin, but were surprised how long they took to do so. Thus, they concluded that the possibility of a Soviet military conflict over Berlin had decreased.

Another official justification was the activities of Western agents in Eastern Europe. East Germans and others greeted such statements with skepticism, as most of the time the border was closed for citizens of East Germany traveling to the West but not for residents of West Berlin travelling East. The construction of the Wall caused considerable hardship to families divided by it. Most people believed that the Wall was mainly a means of preventing the citizens of East Germany from entering or fleeing to West Berlin.

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During the years of the Wall, around 5, people successfully defected to West Berlin. GDR officials denied issuing the latter. Toni Fisher. Frankie Laine. Johnny Tillotson. Connie Francis. Johnny Crawford.

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