segunda-feira, novembro 10, 2003
Passaram 14 anos da queda do muro de Berlin.
After the second world war, defeated Germany was divided up into 4 parts: an American, British, French and Soviet occupation zone. Berlin was also divided into 4 sectors. In 1948, the Soviet authorities tried to annex the whole city and started a blockade of the US, British and French sectors. The plans failed due to the Berlin Airlift, and in May 1949 the blockade was lifted. That same year, the Soviet part of Germany became the German Democratic Republic (GDR) with East Berlin as its capital. The other zones became the Federal Republic of Germany with the capital Bonn. The western part of Berlin became a separate enclave surrounded by East Germany.
Until 1961, East Germans could move freely between the Western and Eastern parts of Berlin. But many East Berliner were attracted by the more prosperous West, and by 1961 up to 20,000 East Germans a month flocked to West Berlin. On August 12, 1961 the East German authorities decided to close the border around the Western sectors of Berlin in order to prevent people from fleeing. Officially, it was an antifascist protection barrier to defend the East against Western aggression.
The next day, early morning August 13, West Berlin was surrounded by barbed wire. Traffic at the border was halted and the underground and S-bahn connecting the different sides of the city were put out of operation. Houses at the eastern side of the border were evacuated and the windows on the border side were bricked up.
Over time, the barbed wire was replaced by a 3.6m high wall. Along the Wall's east side ran a 'death zone', an area controlled by guards. A total of 293 watch towers and 57 bunkers were built along the 155km long border. The guards were given the order to shoot at escapees. As a result 192 people were killed in an attempt to cross the border.
After Soviet President Gorbatchev visited West Germany in 1989, Hungary opened its border with Austria. This allowed East Germans to flock to the West. Meanwhile, street protests drawing more and more people put pressure on the GDR government. Finally on November 9, 1989, travel restrictions were lifted. Shortly after, border gates opened and people flooded into West Berlin.
"Ich bin ein berliner"
"Mr Gorbachev tear down this wall"
Fontes: Time, Berlin Wall Pictures, MSNBC.
posted by Miguel Noronha 5:00 da tarde
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