Saturday, June 22, 2013
June 22 - Checkpoint Charlie
On June 22, 1990, the notorious crossing point between East Berlin and West Berlin known as Checkpoint Charlie was dismantled. It marked an end point in the Cold War and a visible sign of the collapse of Communist regimes that dominated Eastern Europe after World War II. "Checkpoint C" was created when the Soviets began constructing the Berlin Wall in August 1961. It was the most important of various crossing points into the city’s Allied sector from the Soviet-occupied sector. The Wall had been built to stop a massive outflow of East Germans to the freedom of the West, which accelerated in 1961. The checkpoint, whose name “Charlie” came from the letter C in the NATO phonetic alphabet, was the site of a tense diplomatic standoff between U.S. and Soviet tanks during the Berlin Crisis of October 1961. Numerous escape attempts occurred there, all dangerous, some fatal. The checkpoint became an icon in spy movies and novels, signifying the border between capitalism and socialism, freedom and totalitarianism.