Checkpoint Charlie was the setting for many thrillers and spy novels, from James Bond in Octopussy to The Spy Who Came In From The Cold. Located on the corner of Friedrichstraße and Zimmerstraße, it is a reminder of the former border crossing, the Cold War and the partition of Berlin.
Checkpoint Charlie was nominated the only border crossing for the Allies and foreigners. In 1971 the mayor of West Berlin obtained permission to allow West Berliners to access East Berlin by applying for special visas.
Checkpoint “Charlie” took its name from the NATO alphabet: the members of the Allied armed forces reached the Berlin city center via Checkpoint A (Alpha) near Helmstedt, the point at which they crossed into the GDR from the Federal Republic of Germany; Checkpoint B (Bravo) near Drewitz, where they left the GDR and ...
The soldier in the picture at the site of Checkpoint Charlie today is a former US army tuba player called Jeff Harper. He was 22 when he was photographed as part of a series to commemorate the last Allied soldiers in Berlin in 1994.
On October 27, 1961, combat-ready American and Soviet tanks faced off in Berlin at the U.S. Army\'s Checkpoint Charlie. Tensions between the United States and the Soviet Union over access to the outpost city of Berlin and its Soviet-controlled eastern sector had increased to the point of direct military confrontation.
By 27 October, ten Soviet and an equal number of American tanks stood 100 yards apart on either side of the checkpoint. This stand-off ended peacefully on 28 October following a US-Soviet understanding to withdraw tanks and reduce tensions.
Today, all across the city you can find traces of the Wall, its remains and memorial sites – the East Side Gallery, the Berlin Wall Memorial in Bernauer Strasse, the Berlin-Hohenschönhausen Memorial, a former Stasi remand prison, and the green Mauerpark.
His name is Jeff Harper. Since the fall of the Berlin Wall and the checkpoint's rise as a prime tourist attraction in the German capital, the photos of Sgt. Harper and his Soviet counterpart on the other side have become as synonymous with the checkpoint as anything else in Cold War lore.
The East German constitution of 1949 granted citizens a theoretical right to leave the country, though it was hardly respected in practice. Even this limited right was removed in the constitution of 1968 which confined citizens' freedom of movement to the area within the state borders.
While the events of November 9, 1989, signaled the end of a divided Berlin, Checkpoint Charlie remained in operation until seven months later, when its famous beige guardhouse was removed during a ceremony attended by French, British, American, German and Soviet dignitaries.
They too ground to a halt some 75 metres from the East/West Berlin border and, as with the US tanks they faced, stayed there for 16 hours. By now, American officials were deeply alarmed by the potential consequences.
During JFK's visit to West Berlin, he visited the Brandenburg Gate and Checkpoint Charlie, the American-manned crossing point between East Berlin and West Berlin.
When the Berlin Wall was torn down in 1989, collectors could buy a small piece of the concrete for $50. Larger pieces could cost several thousand dollars.
(Eventually, the GDR built 12 checkpoints along the wall.) At each of the checkpoints, East German soldiers screened diplomats and other officials before they were allowed to enter or leave. Except under special circumstances, travelers from East and West Berlin were rarely allowed across the border.
The Berlin Wall was built by the German Democratic Republic during the Cold War to prevent its population from escaping Soviet-controlled East Berlin to West Berlin, which was controlled by the major Western Allies. It divided the city of Berlin into two physically and ideologically contrasting zones.
The West responded by using its air corridors for supplying their part of the city with food and other goods through the Berlin Airlift. In May 1949, the Soviets lifted the blockade, and West Berlin as a separate city with its own jurisdiction was maintained.
During the history of the Berlin Wall (1961 to 1989), nearly 80 people were killed trying to cross from East to West Berlin.
Between 1961 and 1989, thousands of East Germans made risky border crossings. Around 5,000 of them crossed over the Berlin Wall at great personal risk—and their attempts to do so ranged from sneaky to suicidal.
The fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989 was a pivotal moment, not just in the Cold War but in the history of modern Europe. It was brought about by political reforms inside the Soviet bloc, escalating pressure from the people of eastern Europe and ultimately, confusion over an East German directive to open the border.
There was a lot of leftover debris while the Berlin Wall was being demolished. That, however, was a long time ago and parts of the Berlin Wall are now being intentionally maintained* as a historical monument. Therefore, removing pieces of it without permission can now only be described as vandalism.
For many years, the Berlin Wall separated East Germany from West Germany, acting as a physical barrier that symbolised the political divisions of the time.
Conservative West Germans called the Berlin Wall a "wall of shame" and said that it illustrated the bankruptcy of communism. The East German government claimed that by building the "anti-fascist protective wall" they had saved the peace in Europe.
In 1949, Germany formally split into two independent nations: the Federal Republic of Germany (FDR or West Germany), allied to the Western democracies, and the German Democratic Republic (GDR or East Germany), allied to the Soviet Union.
On November 9, 1989, masses of East and West Germans alike gathered at the Berlin Wall and began to climb over and dismantle it. As this symbol of Cold War repression was destroyed, East and West Germany became one nation again, signing a formal treaty of unification on October 3, 1990.