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West Berlin

East Germany

Germany, facts and history in brief

West Berlin
Excerpted from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.

West Berlin was the name given to the western part of Berlin between 1949 and 1990.
It consisted of the American, British, and French occupation sectors that were established in 1945.
The Soviet sector became East Berlin, part of East Germany.
Officially West Berlin was called Berlin (West) by West Germany while the East German government referred to West Berlin as Westberlin.
(East Berlin was officially called Berlin Hauptstadt der DDR - "Berlin capital of the GDR" - by East Germany.)

The Potsdam Agreement established the legal framework for the occupation of Germany in the wake of World War II.
According to the agreement, Germany would be formally under the sovereignty of the four major wartime allies -- the United States, the United Kingdom, France, and the Soviet Union -- until a German government acceptable to them all could be reconstituted.
Germany would be divided into four sectors, each administered by one of the allies.
Berlin, though surrounded by the Soviet sector, would be similarly divided, with the western allies occupying an enclave consisting of the western parts of the city.
According to the agreement, the occupation of Berlin would only end as a result of a four-power agreement. (This clause did not apply to Germany as a whole.)
The western allies were guaranteed an air corridor to their sectors of Berlin, and the Soviets also informally allowed road and rail access between West Berlin and the western parts of Germany.
At first, this arrangement was officially a temporary administrative expedient, and all parties declared that Germany and Berlin would soon be reunited.
However, as the relations between the western allies and the Soviet Union soured and the cold war began, the joint administration of Germany and Berlin broke down.
Soon Soviet-occupied Berlin and western-occupied Berlin had entirely separate city administrations.
In 1948, the Soviets tried to force the issue and expel the western allies from Berlin by imposing a land blockade on the western sectors.
The west responded by using its guaranteed air corridors to resupply the city in what became known as the Berlin Airlift.
In May 1949, the Soviets lifted their blockade, and the future of West Berlin as a separate jurisdiction was ensured.
By the end of that year, two new states had been created out of occupied Germany - the Federal Republic of Germany (West Germany) in the West and the German Democratic Republic (East Germany) in the East - with West Berlin an enclave surrounded by, but not part of, the latter.

Occupied Berlin West Berlin Boroughs

For a more information about West_Berlin see Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

This page was retrieved and condensed from (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/West_Berlin) December 2005
All text is available under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License (see Copyrights for details).
About Wikipedia

This information was correct in December 2005. E. & O.E.

Sarolta and I visited West Berlin during 1978.

It was some experience to get into West Berlin at the time.

Sarolta, my daughter and I spent some time exploring Europe in 1978.

We had a 3 months Eurail Pass that we used in countries that were part of the system at the time and we've visited some countries before and after the duration of our Pass. We visited the British Isles and the Irish Republic before using the Brit Rail Pass also Hungary and Romania afterwards.

Travelling to West Berlin added that little extra to our experiences.

Our Eurail Pass only got us to the East German border and we had to buy additional tickets to get us into the heart of East Germany, where 'West' Berlin was.

After passing the border we were instructed to keep away from the windows and do not use cameras or they will be confiscated.

We were practically 'prisoners' for the 4 hours our train took to reach 'West Berlin'.

Of course after exploring 'West Berlin' we had an urge to see 'East Berlin' as well.

To get to 'East Berlin' we had to get a certain 'Underground' train which was going on the surface most of the time anyway, change at a certain place to another one to end up at one of the official 'Checkpoint' at the Friedrichstrasse Raiway Station.

Getting a temporary visa was another typical communist bureaucratic experience especially for me a former Hungarian political refugee.

It was muck like entering a 'Lion's Den' during the 'hey-day' of the 'Cold War'.

Leaving East Berlin by the way we came was another memorable experience as we were interrogated at length as on our entering about the purpose and length of our visit.
Especially questioning the brevity, (about 15-16 hours) of our visit.

The contrast between the two Berlins were astounding, the solemnity or drabness of the 'east' pitted against the vibrancy of the 'west'.

Frankly I couldn't get out of the place fast enough, I was shaking in my boots or shoes to be more precise most of the time and felt like somebody was watching us everywhere.

In hindsight, with the anxiety behind and mostly forgotten, it was a memorable experience, vividly remembered to this day.

During our departure we were questioned about what we were taking out and trying to anticipate and avoid any trouble, we were travelling very light, but I did get a bit nervous and trying not to show it, when I was asked about if I was taking out any East German money which had to be exchanged at 'their' rate or confiscated, they especially mentioned coins as well.

I was carrying a good handful of different coins in my pocket and being a coin collector, I was hoping to keep and add to my collection.

You can click on these photos for an enlargement.


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