East v. West During the Cold War: Guns of the Berlin Wall
By Chris Eger
A West German border guard standing just over the line from an East German border guard, the latter armed with a PPsh-41 and a desire to enforce the rules of the People’s Republic. (Photo: Library of Congress)
With the 30th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall this week, we look at some of the guns that held the line between East and West.
In the last days of World War II, the victorious American, British, French and Soviet allies occupied Germany in 1945 and separated the country into four zones. By 1949, with the Cold War setting in, the western part of the country occupied by the U.S., Britain and France became the Federal Republic of Germany, better known as West Germany, while the Russians reciprocated by forming the German Democratic Republic, or East Germany, the latter a Communist puppet state of Moscow. This division included the historical German capital city of Berlin, with the NATO allies keeping the Western part supplied initially via an airlift, resulting in an isolated enclave inside East Germany that endured for more than 40 years.
As the “Iron Curtain” descended across Europe, the tensions along the border between the two new Germanys escalated until 1961