Remains of the Berlin Wall
Construction of the Berlin Wall began on August 13 1961 as a way of separating the three zones controlled by France, Britain and America from the zone controlled by the Soviet Union. The Berlin Wall was constructed as a way of preventing East Berliners from entering West Berlin. It was not so much a boundary for West Berliners wanting to enter the East, who were able to do so by obtaining a permit several weeks in advance. It didn't face much opposition by the western powers as its construction confirmed that the Soviet Union were not planning to take over West Berlin. Official figures show that at least 136 people died trying to cross the border. People attempting to get from East to West were regarded as traitors and guards were instructed to shoot at them if they attempted to cross, although not to kill them. Although November 9th 1989 is recognised as the date of the fall of the Berlin Wall, official demolition of it didn't start until June 13th 1990. Between November 9th and June 13th, border controls still existed, although were less strict that previously. Parts of the wall was chipped away by Germans to keep as souvenirs/sell on eBay. People who did this were known as "wall woodpeckers" (Mauerspechte) Some parts of the wall had been taken down but only to make way for more crossing points. All border controls ended on July 1st 1990 and Germany was recognised as one country again from October 3rd 1990.