Thousands of Berlin Wall Documents Declassified

Historians: Docs reveal struggle and resolve of the human spirit for freedom

Daniel Wiser
The Washington Free Beacon
1/14/2014

Thousands of newly declassified documents about the Berlin Wall reveal the struggle and resolve of the human spirit for freedom, archivists and historians said on Tuesday.

The National Archives’ National Declassification Center (NDC) has released 11,000 pages of previously classified documents on activities in Berlin from 1962 to 1987—the years Presidents John F. Kennedy and Ronald Reagan delivered iconic speeches in the divided German city. The collection, culled from documents circulated by the U.S. Army, NATO, and U.S. government agencies, details the construction of the Berlin Wall and attempts by East Germans to escape to the democratic West.

The barrier, first erected between East and West Berlin on Aug. 13, 1961, originally consisted of just barbed wire and East German guards. It later evolved into a fully fortified 96-mile-long wall and accompanying “death strip” over the 1960s, including wire fences, more than 40,000 reinforced concrete slabs, trip wires, trenches, tank traps, guard dogs, and more than 100 watchtowers. East German guards had orders to shoot escapees on sight.

The wall was originally built by East German authorities to stanch a massive “brain drain” of the Soviet-backed state’s most educated and skilled workers, said Neil Carmichael, an NDC director, at a symposium on the declassified documents…

 

 

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Related:   If You Think Communism Is Bad For People, Check Out What It Did To The Environment.  And it’s not a coincidence or accident of history.

 

 

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