In 1945, after World War II, Germany was divided by the victors into two countries. East Germany was controlled by the communist regime of the Soviet Union. West Germany was a democracy supported by the U.S. The former capital city of Berlin, although it was entirely within East German borders, was also partitioned in two. In 1961, the East Germans erected a 103-mile barrier to separate East Berlin from West Berlin. The Berlin Wall blocked free access in both directions for twenty-eight years. In November 1989, the Wall was opened, and East German citizens could once again travel without restriction to the West.
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