Checkpoint Charlie, Berlin, Germany
Checkpoint Charlie (or "Checkpoint C") was the name given by the Western Allies to the best-known Berlin Wall crossing point between East Berlin and West Berlin during the Cold War.
The Soviet Union prompted the construction of the Berlin Wall in 1961 to stop Eastern Bloc emigration westward through the Soviet border system, preventing escape across the city sector border from East Berlin to West Berlin. Checkpoint Charlie became a symbol of the Cold War, representing the separation of east and west. Soviet and American tanks briefly faced each other at the location during the Berlin Crisis of 1961.
On 17 August 1962, a teenaged East German, Peter Fechter, was shot in the pelvis by East German guards while trying to escape from East Berlin. His body lay tangled in a barbed wire fence, bleeding to death, in full view of the world’s media. American soldiers could not rescue him because he was a few yards inside the Soviet sector. East German border guards were reluctant to approach him for fear of provoking Western soldiers, one of whom had shot an East German border guard just days earlier. More than an hour later Fechter’s body was removed by the East German guards. A spontaneous demonstration formed on the American side of the checkpoint, protesting the action of the East and the inaction of the West. A few days later, the crowd stoned Soviet buses driving towards the Soviet War Memorial, located in the Tiergarten in the British sector. The Soviets tried to escort the buses with Armored Personnel Carriers (APCs). Thereafter, the Soviets were only allowed to cross via the Sandkrug Bridge crossing (which was the nearest to Tiergarten) and were prohibited from bringing APCs. Western units were deployed in the middle of the night in early September with live armaments and vehicles, in order to enforce the ban.
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