FROM WIKIPEDIA COMMONS
The Berlin Wall (German: Berliner Mauer, pronounced [bɛʁˌliːnɐ ˈmaʊ̯ɐ] (listen)) was a guarded concrete barrier that divided Berlin from 1961 to 1989. It encircled West Berlin, separating it from East German territory. Construction of the wall was commenced by the German Democratic Republic (GDR, East Germany) on 13 August 1961. The Wall cut off West Berlin from surrounding East Germany, including East Berlin. It included guard towers placed along large concrete walls, accompanied by a wide area (later known as the “death strip”) that contained anti-vehicle trenches, beds of nails and other defenses.
The Eastern Bloc portrayed the Wall as protecting its population from fascist elements conspiring to prevent the “will of the people” from building a socialist state in East Germany. GDR authorities officially referred to the Berlin Wall as the Anti-Fascist Protection Rampart (German: Antifaschistischer Schutzwall, pronounced [antifaˌʃɪstɪʃɐ ˈʃʊt͡sval] (listen)). The West Berlin city government sometimes referred to it as the “Wall of Shame“, a term coined by mayor Willy Brandt in reference to the Wall’s restriction on freedom of movement. Along with the separate and much longer Inner German border (IGB), which demarcated the border between East and West Germany, it came to symbolize physically the “Iron Curtain” that separated Western Europe and the Eastern Bloc during the Cold War.
Before the Wall’s erection, 3.5 million East Germans circumvented Eastern Bloc emigration restrictions and defected from the GDR, many by crossing over the border from East Berlin into West Berlin; from there they could then travel to West Germany and to other Western European countries. Between 1961 and 1989, the Wall prevented almost all such emigration. During this period, over 100,000 people attempted to escape, and over 5,000 people succeeded in escaping over the Wall, with an estimated death toll ranging from 136 to more than 200 in and around Berlin.
In 1989, a series of revolutions in nearby Eastern Bloc countries—in Poland and Hungary in particular—caused a chain reaction in East Germany. In particular, the Pan-European Picnic in August 1989 set in motion a peaceful development during which the Iron Curtain largely broke, the rulers in the East came under pressure, the Berlin Wall fell and finally the Eastern Bloc fell apart. After several weeks of civil unrest, the East German government announced on 9 November 1989 that all GDR citizens could visit West Germany and West Berlin. Crowds of East Germans crossed and climbed onto the Wall, joined by West Germans on the other side in a celebratory atmosphere. Over the next few weeks, the likes of souvenir hunters chipped away parts of the Wall. The Brandenburg Gate, a few meters from the Berlin Wall, was opened on 22 December 1989. The demolition of the Wall officially began on 13 June 1990 and was completed in 1994. The “fall of the Berlin Wall” paved the way for German reunification, which formally took place on 3 October 1990.
Question of the Day
How long can I keep a whole, frozen turkey in my freezer?
Growers say a frozen turkey will be fine in your freezer for up to a year, as long as you have no power outages or other freezer mishaps that may cause it to begin to thaw.
Advice of the Day
To cure a wart, find a piece of chalk, rub it on the wart, and throw it away.
Home Hint of the Day
To keep squirrels off your bird feeder, smear gobs of petroleum jelly or car grease on the pole that supports it. The squirrels hate the feeling of grease on their paws.
Word of the Day
Arranged in a manner befitting a ship; hence, trim; tidy; orderly.
Puzzle of the Day
Why does a person who is poorly lose his sense of touch?
Because he doesn’t feel well.
- Benjamin Banneker (mathematician & astronomer) – 1731
- Robert Dale Owen (social reformer) – 1801
- Elijah Parish Lovejoy (abolitionist) – 1802
- Ivan Turgenev (author) – 1818
- Sally Tompkins (philanthropist, Civil War hospital founder and operator) – 1833
- Stanford White (architect) – 1853
- Marie Dressler (actress) – 1869
- Robert Sargent Shriver, Jr. (politician) – 1915
- Spiro Agnew (U.S. vice president) – 1918
- Florence Chadwick (swimmer) – 1918
- Anne Sexton (poet) – 1928
- Carl Sagan (astronomer) – 1934
- Lou Ferrigno (actor) – 1951
- Chris Jericho (professional wrestler) – 1970
- Eric Dane (actor) – 1972
- Nick Lachey (singer) – 1973
- Nikki Blonsky (actress) – 1988
- Dylan Thomas (poet) – 1953
- Charlie de Gaulle (politician) – 1970
- John N. Mitchell (former U.S. attorney general) – 1988
- Art Carney (actor) – 2003
- Ed Bradley (broadcast journalist) – 2006
- First documented Canadian gridiron football game played, University of Toronto, Ontario– 1861
- The Great Boston Fire raged for two days– 1872
- Theodore Roosevelt became the first president to travel outside the U.S. while in office– 1906
- Jim Thorpe’s Carlisle Indians beat Dwight Eisenhower’s Army Cadets in football, 27 to 6– 1912
- Twelve Soviet-made MIG-15s attacked four U.S. aircrafts over North Korea in the first dogfight involving jet fighter planes– 1950
- Major Robert White flew X-15 rocket plane at Mach 6.04– 1961
- First issue of Rolling Stone magazine came out– 1967
- Canada’s first domestic communications satellite, Anik A1, launched– 1972
- The fall of the Berlin Wall– 1989
- Baseball pitcher Roger Clemens was honored with his seventh Cy Young award and became the oldest pitcher, at age 42, to receive the award– 2004
- Worst day of storm that caused 12 major shipwrecks on the Great Lakes (United States and Canada)– 1913
- Record cold hit New York and Boston, with low temperatures of 24 degrees F– 1971
- A record high temperature of 70 degrees F recorded in Manchester, New Hampshire– 2009
- A 29th subtropical storm (Theta) formed in the Atlantic, setting a new record for the most named storms in a single season. The previous record of 28 named storms occurred in 2005.– 2020