Inner German border

borderinner-German borderseparatedfrontierinternal borderacrossdemarcation linedivision of Germanyinternal frontierseparate
The Inner German border (Innerdeutsche Grenze or Deutsch-deutsche Grenze ; initially also Zonengrenze ) was the border between the German Democratic Republic (GDR, East Germany) and the Federal Republic of Germany (FRG, West Germany) from 1949 to 1990.wikipedia
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Berlin Wall

fall of the Berlin WallWallthe wall
Not including the similar and physically separate Berlin Wall, the border was 1393 km long and ran from the Baltic Sea to Czechoslovakia.
Along with the separate and much longer Inner German border (IGB), which demarcated the border between East and West Germany, it came to symbolize physically the "Iron Curtain" that separated Western Europe and the Eastern Bloc during the Cold War.

West Berlin

West-BerlinWestBerlin
The better-known Berlin Wall was a physically separate, less elaborate, and much shorter border barrier surrounding West Berlin, more than 155 km to the east of the inner German border.
West Berlin was 100 mi east and north of the Inner German border and only accessible by land from West Germany by narrow rail and highway corridors.

Fall of the inner German border

opening of borderswas not completely abandoned
The inner German border was not completely abandoned until 1 July 1990, exactly 45 years to the day since its establishment, and only three months before German reunification formally ended Germany's division.
The inner German border rapidly and unexpectedly fell in November 1989, along with the fall of the Berlin Wall.

Museums of the inner German border

Several museums and memorials
Several museums and memorials along the old border commemorate the division and reunification of Germany and, in some places, preserve elements of the fortifications.
Numerous museums of the inner German border are located along the course of the former border between East and West Germany, documenting its story and in some places preserving original elements of the border fortifications.

Allied-occupied Germany

GermanyBritish occupation zoneoccupied Germany
It was formally established on 1 July 1945 as the boundary between the Western and Soviet occupation zones of former Nazi Germany.
The so-called line of contact between Soviet and American forces at the end of hostilities, mostly lying eastward of the July 1945-established inner German border, was temporary.

Protection of Czechoslovak borders during the Cold War

border fortificationsBorder GuardCzech borders
Not including the similar and physically separate Berlin Wall, the border was 1393 km long and ran from the Baltic Sea to Czechoslovakia.
The border system of Czechoslovakia was not as elaborate and fortified as that of the Inner German border or the Berlin Wall, but it was considered difficult to cross the border undetected.

Border Troops of the German Democratic Republic

Border TroopsEast German border guardsEast German Border Troops
The total annual expenditure on GDR border troops rose from 600 million marks per annum in 1970 to nearly 1 billion by 1983.
The Grenztruppen were the primary force guarding the Berlin Wall and the Inner German border, the GDR's international borders between West Berlin and West Germany respectively.

East Germany

East GermanGerman Democratic RepublicGDR
The Inner German border (Innerdeutsche Grenze or Deutsch-deutsche Grenze ; initially also Zonengrenze ) was the border between the German Democratic Republic (GDR, East Germany) and the Federal Republic of Germany (FRG, West Germany) from 1949 to 1990.
The government fortified its western borders and, in 1961, built the Berlin Wall.

Bundesgrenzschutz

Federal Border GuardGerman Border PoliceBorder Guard
The West Germans also stepped up security with the establishment in 1952 of the Federal Border Protection force of 20,000 men – the Bundesgrenzschutz, or BGS; however, Allied troops (the British in the north, the Americans in the south) retained responsibility for the military security of the border.
Although it was not intended to be able to repel a full-scale invasion, the BGS was tasked with dealing with small-scale threats to the security of West Germany's borders, including the international borders as well as the inner German border.

European Green Belt

Its route has been declared part of the European Green Belt linking national parks and nature reserves along the course of the old Iron Curtain from the Arctic Circle to the Black Sea.

SM-70

Michael Gartenschläger
In addition, from 1970 the outer fence was booby-trapped with around 60,000 SM-70 (Splittermine-70) directional anti-personnel mines.
The SM-70 (Splittermine Modell 1970) was an East German directional antipersonnel mine developed specifically to combat Republikflucht (defection) across the Inner German Border (Grenze) into West Germany.

Iron Curtain

the Iron CurtainSinews of PeaceEastern Europe
Its route has been declared part of the European Green Belt linking national parks and nature reserves along the course of the old Iron Curtain from the Arctic Circle to the Black Sea. The border was a physical manifestation of Sir Winston Churchill's metaphorical Iron Curtain that separated the Soviet and Western blocs during the Cold War.
There were some of the most heavily militarised areas in the world, particularly the so-called "inner German border" – commonly known as die Grenze in German – between East and West Germany.

Border barrier

border fenceborder wallbarrier
On the eastern side, it was made one of the world's most heavily fortified frontiers, defined by a continuous line of high metal fences and walls, barbed wire, alarms, anti-vehicle ditches, watchtowers, automatic booby traps, and minefields.
From 1952 onwards, East Germany started to construct a fortified Inner German border to separate it from West Germany.

Mödlareuth

a village
One example was the divided village of Mödlareuth in Bavaria.
The wall separating the two halves of Mödlareuth was built in 1966.

British Frontier Service

The border was also patrolled in the British sector by the British Frontier Service, the smallest of the Western border surveillance organisations.
Its personnel served on Germany's international borders with Denmark, the Netherlands and Belgium before focusing on the inner German border.

Helmstedt–Marienborn border crossing

Checkpoint Alphaborder crossing at Helmstedtcrossed through into East Germany
Codenamed Checkpoint Alpha, this was the first of three Allied checkpoints on the road to Berlin.
The Border checkpoint Helmstedt–Marienborn (Grenzübergang Helmstedt-Marienborn), named Grenzübergangsstelle Marienborn (GÜSt) (border crossing Marienborn) by the German Democratic Republic (GDR), was the largest and most important border crossing on the Inner German border during the division of Germany.

Fall of the Berlin Wall

fallBerlin Wall fellfall of the wall
On 9 November 1989, the East German government announced the opening of the Berlin Wall and the inner German border.
The museum held a Special Exhibition entitled "Wall Patrol – The Western Powers and the Berlin Wall 1961–1990" which focused on the daily patrols deployed by the Western powers to observe the situation along the Berlin Wall and the fortifications on the GDR border.

East German balloon escape

balloon escapeescaped from East GermanyStrelzyk
One of the most spectacular was the balloon escape in September 1979 of eight people from two families in a home-made hot-air balloon.
The Eastern bloc country of East Germany was separated from West Germany by the Inner German border and the Berlin Wall, which were heavily fortified with watchtowers, land mines, armed soldiers, and various other measures to prevent its citizens from escaping to The West.

Helmstedt

Helmstädt
The largest was at Helmstedt-Marienborn on the Hanover–Berlin autobahn (A 2), through which 34.6 million travellers passed between 1985–89.
During the German partition the nearby Bundesautobahn 2 was the site of the Helmstedt–Marienborn border crossing, the most important on the former inner German border as starting point of the shortest land route between West Germany and West Berlin.

Lauenburg

Lauenburg upon ElbeLauenburg/ElbeLauenberg
The border also ran along part of the length of three major rivers of central Germany: the Elbe between Lauenburg and Schnackenburg (around ), the Werra and the Saale.
Between 1945 and 1982 Lauenburg served as West German inner German border crossing for cars travelling along Bundesstraße 5 between the Soviet Zone of occupation in Germany (till 1949), thereafter the East German Democratic Republic, or West Berlin and the British zone of occupation (till 1949) and thereafter the West German Federal Republic of Germany.

Kurt Lichtenstein

On 13 October 1961, Westfälische Rundschau journalist Kurt Lichtenstein was shot on the border near the village of Zicherie after he attempted to speak with East German farm workers.
Kurt Lichtenstein (Born 1 December 1911 Berlin, Died 12 October 1961 inner German border) was a communist journalist, and his death was a notable result of the German Democratic Republic's border control policies.

Priwall Peninsula

PriwallTravemündeErprobungsstelle See
The continuous line of the inner German border ended at the peninsula of Priwall, still belonging to Travemünde, but already on the east side of the Trave.
More famously, it is the northern terminus of the former inner German border, and a few remnants of the border fortifications have been preserved near the beach.

Erich Honecker

HoneckerErich Honneckerthe leadership
In 1974, Erich Honecker, as Chairman of the GDR's National Defence Council, ordered: "Firearms are to be ruthlessly used in the event of attempts to break through the border, and the comrades who have successfully used their firearms are to be commended."
As the Security Secretary of the Party’s Central Committee in the new East Germany, he was the prime organiser of the building of the Berlin Wall in 1961 and, in this function, bore responsibility for the "order to fire" along the Inner German border.

Night Crossing

Disney moviehot air balloon
The incident inspired the film Night Crossing.
The film is based on the true story of the Strelzyk and Wetzel families, who on September 16, 1979, attempted to escape from East Germany to West Germany in a homemade hot air balloon, during the days of the Inner German border-era, when emigration to West Germany was strictly prohibited by the East German government.

Bundesautobahn 2

A 2A2A 2 motorway
The largest was at Helmstedt-Marienborn on the Hanover–Berlin autobahn (A 2), through which 34.6 million travellers passed between 1985–89.
The A 2 starts at the junction with the A3 near the western city of Oberhausen, passes through the north of the Ruhr valley, through the Münsterland and into Ostwestfalen, crossing the former inner German border and continuing through the Magdeburger Börde to merge into the Berliner Ring shortly before reaching Berlin.