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Erected in 1961, the Berlin Wall symbolized not only the division of postwar Germany but also the division of the Cold War world between East and West, between the democratic and the communist states. Built to stop East Germans from fleeing the country, the wall encircled West Berlin, separating it from the surrounding East Germany. It was 155 kilometers long and was a barrier and a surveillance system like none other in the world, as it was erected against the state’s own population. The East German authorities officially referred to the wall as “the border,” “the border security,” or “the Anti-Fascist Protection Rampant.” The latter suggested that the wall was built to protect the state against West Germany, which had not been de-Nazified. In the ...

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