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Posts Tagged ‘Berlin Wall’

Still Looking for Public Domain Images of the Berlin Wall

Posted by Laurie Frost on August 23, 2010

The Berlin Wall keeps coming up among the search terms that bring people to this blog. I posted images of the wall back in November 2009, but I thought I’d have another look around. Pre-unification (11/9/89) images are surprisingly hard to find, but I found a few more that don’t repeat what is in the November post.

This first image from the Library of Congress  is chilling. The photographer, Toni Frisell, was a high society fashion photographer when World War II broke out. She volunteered her services to the Red Cross, the Air Force, and the Women’s Army Corp, staying on after the war’s end to document its aftermath. When you just glance at the picture, what you see is a smiling, seeming relaxed young man. But look up and to the right and you see he has a gun pointed at his head.

 [Berlin Wall]

Summary from LoC: West Berliner in uniform in front of Berlin Wall; soldier pointing gun over wall.  Toni Frissell Collection [LC-USZC4-4334]

[Berlin, October 1961]

Man carrying cross on street, Berlin, West Germany.  Toni Frissell Collection [LC-USZC4-4333]

These are not tagged “Berlin Wall” but are related to the Berlin airlift, and so may be of interest. The first from the National Museum of the US Air Force is rather unusual:

DAYTON, Ohio -- Berlin Airlift dog parachute on display at the National Museum of the United States Air Force. (U.S. Air Force photo)

Berlin Airlift SCR-658 Radio Receiver on display at the National Museum of the United States Air Force. (U.S. Air Force photo

I found this on this on the CIA’s website in a document titled “Turning a Cold War Scheme into Reality: Engineering the Berlin Tunnel”, a formerly classified account of the construction of a secret tunnel “in a rural area of the American Sector southwest of Berlin known as Altglienecke” to tap into Soviet communications lines. It operated until 1956 when East German telephone repairmen accidentally came across it. Or so it was believed at the time.


The next images are from the National Archives‘ German Reunification Day Exhibit :

President Nixon views the Berlin Wall from a platform

Photograph of President Reagan giving a speech at the Berlin Wall, Brandenburg Gate, Federal Republic of Germany, 06/12/1987 - 06/12/1987

Photograph of President Reagan giving a speech at the Berlin Wall, Brandenburg Gate, Federal Republic of Germany, 06/12/1987 – 06/12/1987. ARC Identifier 198585

And here’s a post-unification one from the US Army:

Fireworks illuminate Berlin’s Brandenburg Gate as thousands celebrate the 20th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall, Nov. 9, 2009. 

Photo Credit: Richard Bumgardner (U.S. Army Europe)

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It Was 20 Years Ago Today: Berlin Wall

Posted by Laurie Frost on November 8, 2009

Although the official dismantling of the Berlin Wall occurred between June and November of 1990, November 9, 1989, is remembered as the day the Berlin Wall effectively came down. New travel policies allowing East Berliners to travel to the West were drafted to take effect November 17, 1989, but when the announcement was made, that had not been made clear, and the assumption was that travel could begin immediately. As huge crowds came to the wall, the handful of  guards at the checkpoints realized that the most sensible policy was to move that date forward a bit.

I’m adding a new source for public domain images in this post: the US Army. Here is its policy:

US Army Images

“Images on the Army Web site are cleared for release and are considered in the public domain. Request credit be given as “Photo Courtesy of U.S. Army” and credit to individual photographer whenever possible.”


“A U.S. tank crew stands guard at Checkpoint Charlie in West Berlin in 1961 during one of several standoffs between U.S. personnel and East German police that year. The sign in the upper right of the photo bears the famous remark made by Walter Ulbricht, General Secretary of the Socialist Unity Party of Germany on June 15, 1961: ‘Niemand hat die Absicht, eine Mauer zu errichten — Nobody has any intention of building a wall.’ Two months later construction on the Berlin Wall began.” [US Army]

“Soldiers from the U.S. Army Berlin Command face off against police from the former East Germany during one of several standoffs at Checkpoint Charlie in 1961. On several occasions that year, a U.S. quick reaction force of tanks and infantry Soldiers stood watch as armed military policemen escorted U.S. personnel across the border into East Berlin.” [US Army]

The Wall Goes Up

“East German construction workers building the Berlin Wall, November 20, 1961.”

Photo/Caption Credit: National Archives

Aerial view of Berlin with yellow line denoting location of Berlin Wall. [NASA]

President John F. Kennedy mounts platform overlooking Berlin Wall.  06/26/1963 [ARC 194226]

The Wall Comes Down

A preserved portion of the Berlin Wall.  [CIA W Fb]

The US Army Checkpoint (Checkpoint Charlie); the former crossing point between East and West Berlin. [CIA W Fb]

Sections of the Berlin Wall on display at the US Air Force Museum. [USAF]


Note: Arc= National Archives, CIA W Fb=CIA World Factbook

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