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Sunday, 12 August, 2001, 13:14 GMT 14:14 UK
Timeline: Berlin Wall
Building the wall
The Berlin Wall went up to stop East Germans escaping
Building work on the Berlin Wall began on 13 August 1961. Designed to prevent East Berliners escaping to the West, the wall became a symbol of the division of Europe. BBC News Online looks back at the main events in its history.

May 1945
The Red Army captures Berlin and the city is divided into a Soviet sector in the east, and US, British and French sectors in the west.

Click here to see Steve Milligan's report on the history of the Berlin Wall.

1949-49 Soviet forces blockade West Berlin, geographically an island in communist-controlled East Germany. The allies supply the city with continuous airlifts.

Building the wall
West Berliners watch the wall being built
1949
The Federal Republic of Germany - West Germany - is founded on 12 May. On the 24 May, the German Democratic Republic - East Germany - is founded.

1953
Building workers in East Berlin riot over working conditions. The Red Army steps in to suppress the protests.

Click here to see the BBC's Gavin Hewitt report from the wall on its 20th anniversary.

13 August 1961
The border between East and West Berlin is closed. Soldiers start to build the wall. What starts as barbed wire and light fencing builds up over the years into a complex series of wall, fortified fences, gun positions and watchtowers heavily guarded and patrolled. More than 200 people die in the years that followed trying to cross the wall.

1963
US President John F Kennedy visits the wall. He declares himself a Berliner and vows to protect the people of West Berlin.

1973
East and West Germany establish formal diplomatic ties.

Click here for a report by the BBC's Mike Donkin on growing pressure to bring down the Berlin Wall.

1987
President Ronald Reagan visits Berlin and urges Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev to tear down the wall.

May to September 1989
The Hungarian Government opens its border with Austria. Thousands of East Germans leave, making their way to West Germany.

Celebrating the end of the Berlin Wall
Berliners celebrate the end of the wall by climbing on it
4 November 1989
A million people attend a pro-democracy demonstration in East Berlin's main square. Within days, the East German Government resigns.

9 November 1989
Thousands of East German protesters go to border crossings demanding they be let through. The border guards stand back as thousands stream into West Berlin. The wall is breached and people begin to pull it down in celebration.

Click here to see the BBC's Brian Hanrahan report on the thousands of celebrating East Berliners streaming across into West Berlin as the guards stand aside.

3 October 1990


East and West Germany are formally reunited.

See also:

22 Mar 01 | Europe
Krenz loses Berlin Wall appeal
09 Nov 99 | Iron Curtain
Ten years on, disillusionment
09 Nov 99 | World
Sights and sounds of 1989
09 Nov 99 | Europe
Memories from the Wall
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