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Photographer's Note

Allied Checkpoint Charlie was the most iconic border point crossing through the Berlin Wall [next photo] during the Cold War*. It was the only border checkpoint allowed to non-Germans citizens to cross from West Berlin to East Berlin - that is, de jure from the American Sector to the Soviet Sector of the divided city. Ahead in this street, to the right, there was the famous sign written in English, Russian, French and German, with the warning: YOU ARE LEAVING THE AMERICAN SECTOR. [See it in the workshop.] Among the events that happened in Cold War Berlin, the nearest to hot war was a crisis on October 27, 1961, when Soviet and US tanks faced each other on both sides of Checkpoint Charlie, ready to fire.
Nowadays younger people may have difficulty to imagine a same country (Germany) divided by a fortified and militarized border and its main city divided by a wall and other fences. Perhaps you still can have an idea of it if you see the border between Koreas, the wall in Israel/Palestine, or even the USA/Mexico border fence.
Some people imagine that the Iron Curtain (the border between Western and Eastern Europe during the Cold War) separated West and East Germany across Berlin, dividing the city by a concrete wall. That's a mistaken view. In fact, after Word War II, Germany was divided in three western sectors (controlled by the USA, UK and France) and one eastern sector (controlled by the Soviet Union). The city of Berlin remained within the Soviet sector and it was itself divided in four sectors, mimicking Germany as a whole. When the western parts of the country formed the Federal Republic of Germany, with capital in Bonn, and the eastern part become the German Democratic Republic, East Berlin (Soviet sector) became the capital of East Germany. West Berlin (American, British and French sectors) became a western enclave, a kind of island surrounded by East German territory. [See Map of Cold War in workshop.] The Berlin Wall was constructed by East Germany all around West Berlin. [See my next photo.]
As West Germany didn't accept the division of the country, there were no West German flags nor their personnel at this or any other checkpoint or at West-East Germany border crossings. Instead, the allied flags and officers were there.
[This picture was taken a few months after the beginning of the fall of the Wall, but before German reunification. Therefore all controls (and paid visa to enter East Berlin!) were still enforced. Scanned from paper print.]
* - For info about the Cold War, see e.g. The Cold War Museum® or the Wikipedia article.

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Additional Photos by Francisco Santos (xuaxo) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 4896 W: 319 N: 4862] (6854)
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