Today is the 46th anniversary of the beginning of the Berlin Wall. The post I wrote last year on this topic continues to be popular, day in and day out, but especially when high school curricula get to the Cold War, the Berlin Airlift, the 1960s, and the collapse of the Soviet empire, best exemplified by the destruction of the Berlin Wall itself and the reunification of Germany.
The photograph I used to illustrate that post has become one of the more popular photos of the Berlin Wall on the internet. It is from a small, too-little used collection posted by Corey Hatch at the University of Utah.
Here is another photo from his collection. It comes without caption; from the barbed wire and the uniform and helmet, I would say This is cropped version of a photo of an East German soldier, Conrad Schumann , assigned to shoot people trying to breach the wall to escape to West Germany, who instead decided to leap to freedom himself, probably at Checkpoint Charlie, one of three gates between East and West Berlin. I regret I have no further credit information on the photo on August 15, 1961. The photo is by West German photographer Peter Leibing, then working for Contiepress, in Hamburg.
German authorities announced the Wall was open for travel between the two entities of divided Germany on November 9, 1989. Jubilant Germans on both sides of the wall tore down sections, poked holes in the concrete barriers, and generally vandalized the wall over the next few weeks. Negotiations then led the way for the Reunification of Germany on October 3, 1990.