The starkest symbol of the Cold War, the Berlin Wall was built in 1961 to keep western cultural influences out and maintain eastern, Soviet ideals and citizens within. The city was divided physically with the wall and security checkpoints, and also culturally, through media that inhibited easy communication between people on both sides, such as different available radio stations and telephone connections. Over the years, thousands of East Germans, who were unable to emigrate before the wall was built, tried to cross the border into the West through dangerous methods, such as flying a  hot air balloon, digging subterranean tunnels, and jumping from high story windows hoping to land on the other side. Many died in these attempts owing significantly to the fact that East German guards were cleared to shoot at people actively attempting to defect. While the exact number remains unknown, it is estimated that over 140 people died attempting to cross into the West.

The wall famously came down on November 9th, 1989 as Eastern Germans crossed the border into West Germany, after many months of political instability across the Eastern bloc.