Timeline - The rise and fall of the Berlin Wall

Wed Aug 10, 2011 8:05am EDT
 
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(Reuters) - The Berlin Wall was breached on November 9, 1989. Here are some key dates in the history of the Wall.

June 15, 1961 - As a growing number of East Germans stream into West Berlin amid worsening conditions and fears the border could be closed, Communist East German leader Walter Ulbricht declares: "Nobody intends to build a wall." Thousands read between the lines and the exodus accelerates.

August 13, 1961 - After midnight, East German troops begin erecting what Ulbricht calls an "anti-fascist protection barrier."

August 15, 1961 - In an enduring image, East German soldier Conrad Schumann is photographed leaping over a barbed wire section of the divide into the West.

August 19, 1961 - Wall claims first life as man falls to his death trying to climb down from his top-floor apartment in the Bernauerstrasse in the East to the pavement below in the West.

August 24, 1961 - Date of what is generally accepted as the first killing by border guards after the Wall went up. Guenter Litfin, 24, was believed shot dead as he swam across the river Spree.

August 17, 1962 - Eighteen-year-old Peter Fechter bleeds to death in no man's land after being shot trying to escape. Western cameramen record the scene for nearly an hour before guards take his body away.

June 26, 1963 - U.S. President John Kennedy rides in an open-top limousine through West Berlin. "Ich bin ein Berliner" (I am a Berliner) he declares in a pledge of solidarity.

March 26, 1970 - Four-power talks on status of Berlin open at ambassadorial level.   Continued...

 
<p>A man waves the German flag during celebrations to mark the 20th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall in Berlin November 9, 2009. REUTERS/Thomas Peter</p>