The Cold War, Berlin Wall and Checkpoint Charlie

This week has been a funny one for me, seeing places that I learned about as I was growing up, when the Cold War was a reality, and the news was alsways full of paranoia about the power of the Soviet Union.  I was 26 when the wall came down, I remember hearing about it on the news and there was so much excitement and optimism.  I really wish I had gone to Berlin then and seen history being made.  My parents crossed through Checkpoint Charlie only a few months before all the silliness ended.

Here is a picture of Checkpoint Charlie I found on Wikipedia from 1977

and above and below are how Checkpoint Charlie looked last week, with all of us there, and a guy pretending to be a soldier that you stand beside and have your photo taken..for 1 Euro.

We saw the tracks on the pavements where the wall used to be, and the tiny fragment that remains, but that does not come close to giving an understanding as to how it really was before the wall came down.  Now the small amount of wall that remains has to protected from us naughty tourists who might want to swipe a bit as a souvenir.  Below is a photo I have found from a family blog of the Pacheco family from when they were in Berlin in 1984..5 years before it came down.

and here is the Brandenberg Gate taken by me last week, and below how it used to be before the wall came down:


2 thoughts on “The Cold War, Berlin Wall and Checkpoint Charlie

  1. Dear Carrie —

    That old picture of the Berlin Wall (berlin20wall.jpg) — I would like to use it in a webpage that I’m making for a tiny publishing company starting in New York. May I have your permission or know whom to contact to get permission?


    Harry Wyatt

  2. Great blog that considers what it was like before. I also went through Checkpoint Charlie before Glasnost and te wall coming down and it was not a nice experience – East Berlin was a grey place, both in colour and atmosphere. The people we met looked downtrodden and nobody had a smile on their faces. Very young people in uniforms were controlling access to sightseeing spots like the TV tower and were forceful and rude. They looked and acted like people with power and no potential for reproach. All quite scary. West Berlin was a mad house but great fun. Lots of great music bars made night life great. It was all a little anarchic in atmosphere. Quite the opposite of East Berlin.

    We were quite glad when we eventually got back to West Germany.

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