Thursday, January 10, 2019


The last Wall of note got its start when a fresh-faced draughtsman turned border security guard was called before his boss and told to buy a new pair of boots-- Ernst Koch had been tapped as East German dictator Erich Honeker's personal cartographer to sketch the foundations of a barrier around Berlin. 
On 13 August 1961, soldiers started work with fencing and barbed wire,  and within a week plans  were well underway to start building up the fortifications into something more permanent — and impermeable.
Here is Koch's account of best practices for motivating apprentice wall builders to produce a quality  product.
Aug 13, 1961 — The border between East and West Berlin is closed. Soldiers start to build the wall, at first with barbed wire and light fencing which in the coming years develop into a heavily complex series of wall, fortified fences, gun positions and watchtowers that are heavily guarded. The wall ended up being 154km long and the average height of the concrete divide was 3.6 metres.
Aug, 14 1961 — Brandenburg Gate is closed.
June 26, 1963 — US President John F Kennedy visits the wall vowing to protect East Berlin, famously declaring “Ich bin ein Berliner” (I am a Berliner).
May 1973 — East and West Germany establish formal diplomatic ties.
June 12, 1987 — President Ronald Reagan visits Berlin calling for Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev to tear down the wall.
Sept 10, 1989 — Hungary opens its border with Austria. More than 13,000 refugees flee into Austria.
Nov 4, 1989 — More than a million people  rallied in East Berlin’s central square demanding the resignation of the East German government. It fell apart  in a matter of days, and they proceeded to bash Koch's  masterpiece to smithereens