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History of Germany
Great Wall of China
Berlin Wall

In what country was the Berlin Wall located?

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August 10, 2010 6:37PM

It separated East and West Germany

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It separated, more exactly, East from West Berlin, the latter having been an enclave in what was previously East Germany. The much longer border between West and East Germany was also closely watched but it stretched over hundreds of kilometres and was not marked by a long wall.

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Strictly speaking, West Berlin was not "an enclave in what was previously East Germany," since East Germany did not exist at the time the enclave was established. At the end of World War 2, Germany (which lost the war) was divided into four sectors, with responsibility for each given to one of the war's victors (USA, UK, France and the USSR). Berlin, the former German capital, was similarly divided into four sectors. In 1949, the US, French and British sectors were combined to form West Germany, with the corresponding sectors of Berlin (which were completely surrounded by the USSR-led sector of Germany) combining to form West Berlin. The Russian sector, including the Russian sector of Berlin, became East Germany.

Contrary to what might have been expected, the Berlin Wall was not a defensive wall (i.e., it was not built by a defender to keep a potential invader out). Rather, it was more akin to a prison wall; it was built by East Germany to prevent East Germans from escaping to the West German enclave of West Berlin (a problem that had plagued the East German government prior to the Wall's construction), and was actually located completely within East German territory (although in most cases mere feet from the actual border).