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The Berlin Wall

When Germany surrendered at the end of WWII, three nations had major armies in the field against the Nazis: the U.S., Britain, and the USSR. For political reasons, the tiny French army was included, so the fourth conquering power was France. Each nation took responsibility for the area of Germany that their army was occupying—the allies occupied the western area—the Soviets the eastern. Since the German Capital, Berlin, was in the Eastern area, it, too, was divided among the 4 powers—and, it, too, was divided into Eastern and Western sectors. The three allies combined their areas to allow a free Germany to come into being—and their area became West Germany or the Federal Republic of Germany (FRG). The Eastern Areas became East Germany—a Soviet satellite. The Soviets erected barriers along their “turf” dividing all of Europe into Eastern (or Soviet) and Western (or free) nations. However, East Germans could get to East Berlin and cross into West Berlin—there to go wherever they wished; there was quite a drain of key people this way, so the Soviets decided to seal off West Berlin, too. Thus came the Berlin Wall.
On 13 August 1961, without warning, the East Germans started building a wall. They took over buildings in the area, bricking up windows (see the pictures) and creating a formidable barrier. The barrier included guard towers placed along large concrete walls, which circumscribed a wide area (later known as the “death strip”) that contained anti-vehicle trenches and other defenses.
While ostensibly to protect the East Germans from the horrible West Germans, it was a tool to imprison them. It lasted until 8 Nov 1989, when it was opened and torn down. A piece of it sits at the Gerald Ford Presidential Museum in Grand Rapids, MI.
Let this be a warning about what can happen when governments get too big and powerful. Our nation is on that path. Let’s all stay alert and work to reverse the trend.

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