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Documents - The Shadow of the Wall
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1.   GDR Council of Ministers’ Decision to Seal the Border (August 12, 1961)
In order to stop the seemingly incessant flood of East Germans leaving to resettle in the West, the GDR government, with the approval of the Soviet Union, decided to seal the last gap in the inner-German....
2.   A Neutral’s Description of the Building of the Wall (August 14, 1961)
A Swiss correspondent describes the erection of a barrier through the former German capital, analyzes the consequences of halting the stream of East German refugees to the West, and speculates about....
3.   The Communist Justification for the Division of Berlin (August 14, 1961)
The Communist party newspaper tries to justify the building of the Wall as a defensive measure against Western subversion. It cites the support of its allies in the Warsaw Pact and emphasizes East....
4.   Condemnation of the Wall by the West German Government (August 18, 1961)
Speaking in the Bundestag, i.e. federal parliament, Chancellor Konrad Adenauer denounces the building of the Wall as proof of the bankruptcy of the East German....
5.   West Berlin Mayor Willy Brandt’s Appeal to the U.S. President (August 13, 1961)
Frustrated by the lack of a decisive American response to the building of the Wall, West Berlin Mayor....
6.   GDR Order to Fire on Would-be Escapees (c. 1962)
In contrast to the standard use of weapons to deter attacks on a state’s border from the outside, the GDR government authorized the use of weapons against citizens who were attempting to escape....
7.   Report on One of the First Deaths at the Zonal Border (August 30, 1961)
Observers on the Western side of the fortified border occasionally witnessed East German flight attempts. Here, a Western newspaper reports on one young man’s dramatic escape attempt and the fatal....
8.   Report on a Successful Flight to the West via an Underground Tunnel (May 19, 1962)
West Berliners were heartened by accounts of unique and successful flight attempts, such as the one....
9.   The Soviet Government’s Explanation of its Berlin Policy (December 24, 1962)
In a letter to Konrad Adenauer, Soviet President Nikita Khrushchev justifies the Berlin Wall, describing it as a defense against....
10.   U.S. Government Declaration of Solidarity with West Berlin (June 26, 1963)
To reassure West Berliners of America’s determination to defend their freedom, President John F. Kennedy visited the city in the summer of 1963. While there,....
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