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Photographer's Note

Well... Not any wall... THE Wall...

Here we are in front of a small part of the East Side Gallery: The remaining part of the Wall that used to devide Berlin in two.

(most of the following info comes from visits to wikipedia and other sites...)

The wall begun to be built in August 1961, following two decades of progressive rise of tension between the western states and the Soviet Union, by the Soviets (don't forget in these years we are fully into the Cold War). It had all evolved following the divided occupation of the city and its division in the four main-allies controlled sectors (US, Soviet, UK, French) after the fall of the nazis and the occupation of Berlin. A major escalation into the division of Berlin had also occured after the extension of the currency reform by the western forces controlling the western part of Germany into the parts of Berlin they were controlling. The Soviet Union responded in cutting the access routes leading to West Berlin, while the West responded by providing an almost-year-long continuous airlift of supplies (also known as the "Berlin Airlift").

The founding of the seperate Germany states (East and West) was a major escalation in the cold war. The beginning of the building of the Wall in 1961 increased the tensions furthermore with the peak being the "hot episode" of a tank standoff in October 1961 (at the, today renowned, Checkpoint Charlie).

Transition from one side of Berlin to the other was restricted by the Wall. People from the western sector could go into the eastern part through tightly controlled locations, while it was fully prohibited to go to the West from the East. In any case, before the erection of the Wall, large numbers of people from East Germany had defected into the west by going into the western sector of Berlin.

The Wall "fell" in 1989 after a series of events: In the international front Hungary had disabled its physical borders with Austria; hence tourists (13000 according to wikipedia) from eastern Germany had fled to Austria seeking passage to the west. Hungary refused to allow entrance to more people from East Germany in August 1989Those fled to the West Germany embassy seeking asylum. Consequently East Germany stopped allowing travel to Hungary and, shortly, to Chechoslovakia (back then belonging to the Eastern Block). Shortly people in East Germany were demonstrating.

Frequent demos combined with an increase in people fleeing (tolerated by the new pm Egon Krenz who had succeeded the resigned Erich Honecker). A misunderstanding in the announcement of a relaxation of the control for mobility by Gunter Schabowski (the local party politburo spokesman) made people gather in masses in the control points of the Wall demading direct access to the West. After some time of surprise and confussion by the guards the gates were opened and Berlin was unified again on the 9th of November 1989.

Today most of the Berlin Wall does not exist. The largest existing part is the East Side Gallery, a ~1.3 Km part of the Wall that was jointly painted (on the side of the wall facing the eastern part) by artists from all around the world in 1990. A small part of the East Side Gallery appears on this photo. I tried to take it from a POV and at an angle hoping to create an "oppresive" effect, yet clearly showing the flower as a symbol of hope.

Greetings to all and a virtual embrace to all people struggling for freedom.

ourania, Gigidusud, Kofman, Kofman, jhm, delpeoples has marked this note useful

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