Checkpoint Charlie was the name given by the Western Allies to the best-known Berlin Wall crossing point between East Berlin and West Berlin during the Cold War (1947–1991).
Checkpoint Charlie became a symbol of the Cold War, representing the separation of East and West. Soviet and American tanks briefly faced each other at the location during the Berlin Crisis of 1961.
After the dissolution of the Eastern Bloc and the reunification of Germany, the building at Checkpoint Charlie became a tourist attraction. It is now located in the Allied Museum in the Dahlem neighborhood of Berlin.
The original wall, built of barbed wire and cinder blocks, was subsequently replaced by a series of concrete walls (up to 15 feet [5 metres] high) that were topped with barbed wire and guarded with watchtowers, gun emplacements, and mines.
By the 1980s that system of walls, electrified fences, and fortifications extended 28 miles (45 km) through Berlin, dividing the two parts of the city, and extended a further 75 miles (120 km) around West Berlin, separating it from the rest of East Germany.
East Germany’s communist leadership was forced from power in October 1989. On November 9 the East German government opened the country’s borders with West Germany and openings were made in the Berlin Wall through which East Germans could travel freely to the West.
It was a symbolic end to the Cold War between the West and Soviet Union.