East Germany proceeds with the perfection of the border system. Meanwhile the West remains passive.Until 1989, almost 5000 escapes are attempted. Among those, 3000 lead to injury and arrest and 239 result in death.


June 21th 1963 ______________________________

Border Area


The East German government establishes a 100-yard border zone between East Germany and West Berlin.East German citizens need a special permit to enter this zone.Foreign nationals are prohibited from entering the zone.


June 21th 1963 _______________________________

John F. Kennedy Visit


The US President, John F. Kennedy, receives a triumphal welcome by the citizens of West Berlin.However, the hopes to see a change for the divided city are not fulfilled.


December 17th 1963 _________________________

Special permit




1966 ________________________________________



East German border guards begin the construction of watchtowers to better control the death zone and stop the escape attempts.


December 1966 ____________________________

Toughened border


Negotiations on further permit regulations break down. Visitor traffic slows down.


1968 _________________________________________

the 3rd generation


East German border guards begin the installation of additional Wall segment made of concrete and topped with pipe-shaped elements, making any escape attempts nearly impossible.


1971 ________________________________________

Border fence


A new fence made of closed knit barbered wire is added.


February 1971 _______________________________

Restructuring of
the Border Units


In order to increase effectiveness, the East German border guards are restructured.


May 3rd 1971 _________________________________

Honecker becomes the new
Head of the Communist Party


Erich Honecker replaces Ulbricht as head of the Communist Party. However, the hopes of reforms under the new leadership are soon doomed. Honecker strengthens both the ideology of the SED regime and the border system (1974 - 1976).


December 17th 1971 _________________________

Transit Agreement


The Treaty for Transit between East and West Germany is signed.


June 3rd 1972 ________________________________

Four Powers Agreement


The Four Powers Agreement becomes effective. The status of Berlin remains unchanged.


December 21th 1972 _________________________

Basic Treaty


East and West Germany sign the Basic Treaty. This represents the de facto recognition of East Germany by the West German Government.


1974 - 1976 _________________________________

Further perfection


Installation of the second wall, deeper into East German territory takes place. It includes a touch-sensitive, self-firing fence. The first Watchtowers become operational one year later.In 1976, the construction of Generation 4 of the Wall begins. (Grenzmauer 75) The Wall becomes harder to penetrate. Nevertheless, the chain of escape attempts does not end. The East Germans have an untamed desire for freedom and are constantly devising new, smart plans to escape. As a result, East German authorities increase their control of the border structures. The drowning incident of two young West Berliner kids in the Spree River shows the ruthlessness of the East German border guards. At first, the prevent West German rescuers from saving the children. Eventually they make their own efforts to help them, but it is too late.


October 7th 1977 ____________________________



East Germans do not back the policy and measures of the SED - Regime.Especially among the younger adults, there is increasing opposition. On October 7, 1977 - the National Holiday - heavy clashes are reported between younger attendants and the Police Forces.The crowd demands: "Down with the Wall!" To subdue the crowd, however, the police force responds with lethal force. Three teenagers die.


October 13th 1980 ___________________________

Mandatory currency exchange
at the border


East Germany's economic situation is more difficult than ever. Hard currency is needed to pay for vital raw materials and consumer goods from the West. In order to fill the empty treasury, the Eastern government alters the currency exchange and increases it to an artificially high rateIn turn, he visitors stop coming.