Berlin Wall and its Crossing Points

Walter Ulbricht, the East German leader had wanted to build the 'wall' for sometime but had been overruled by Nikita Khrushchev the Soviet leader. However, as the situation grew more desperate, Khrushchev changed his mind.

Early on Sunday 13 August 1961 construction of the Berlin Wall began. A barrier was built by East German troops and workers and they also blocked streets running alongside the barrier to make them impassable to most vehicles. Additionally the whole length of the border between East & West Germany was closed with chain fences, walls and minefields.

The wall was over 155km (96 miles) long and over the years went through four distinct phases. The first was a basic barbed wire fence with concrete posts; the second began in June 1962. This was a more complicated construction which began with a second parallel fence 91km (100yds) further in. the houses between the fences were torn down and the people re-housed. A no man's land was created between the two barriers which widely became known as 'death strip'. It was paved with raked gravel, making it easy to spot footprints left by escapees; it offered no cover; was bobby trapped with trip wires and offered a clear field of vision to the watching guards.