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Rare Historical Footage Shows The Lengths To Which People Went To Escape East Germany

May 5, 2015 By Archit Tripathi
After World War II, leaders of the Allied nations (U.K., U.S.A. and U.S.S.R.) made provisions for the post-war military occupation of Germany by Allied troops. This involved setting up distinct zones, each administered to by troops of one of the Allied nations.

With tensions between the Soviets and the Western powers rising, it was essentially split in two: West Germany (U.S.A., U.K., France) and East Germany (a.k.a German Democratic Republic or G.D.R.). Berlin, deep inside G.D.R. territory, was a special case that was again divided into East and West Berlin and separated by the infamous Berlin Wall.

The Wall went up around 1961, though barriers and barbed wire were already in place as early as 1952. Defecting from the G.D.R. was punishable by death, and 136 people died trying to cross into West Berlin. Still, life was hard enough that many, such as the people shown here, were willing to take that risk.
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