“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Rapid City in Pennington County, South Dakota — The American Midwest (Upper Plains)

A City Divided

The Berlin Wall Memorial

A City Divided Marker image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Ruth VanSteenwyk, August 10, 2017
1. A City Divided Marker

For 49 years, Berlin, former capital of Adolf Hitler's Nazi Germany, was occupied by the victorious allies of World War II--the United States, Great Britain, France and the Soviet Union. For much of that time an ugly wall divided the city geographically, politically, spiritually and economically. Until masses of people began dismantling it on November 9, 1989, this wall symbolized the "Cold War" that pitted democratic principles against communism.

In 1945, the four allies divided Berlin into four sectors of occupation. The American, British and French sectors quickly became known as Free Berlin. The Western Allies undertook political and economic rehabilitation of the war-ravaged city. Free Berlin was an island surrounded by Soviet-held territory--the only democratic community behind the Iron Curtain.

By 1947, Cold War tensions replaced wartime cooperation. Hoping to stop the development of a democratic West German state, the Soviet Union blockaded land access to Berlin in June, 1948. The Western Allies initiated the Berlin Airlift, delivering food, fuel and hope to more than two million courageous West Berliners
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in 1948 and 1949. The airlift succeeded, but Germany emerged a nation divided. The Federal Republic of Germany (West Germany) developed on democratic principles; the German Democratic Republic (East Germany) became a Communist, centralized and coercive state based on the Soviet model.

Beginning with the airlift, Allied forces protected Berlin against a Communist takeover. Disillusioned and persecuted East German citizens fled to the West through West Berlin, where sector borders remained unguarded through the 1950s. By 1961, 3.5 million people out of a population of 17 million had left; East Germany stood on the brink of economic ruin.

Picture captions:

On the Eastern side, the border strip was closed by a high wire fence with built-in alarm systems, beyond which were "Spanish Horsemen" or tank traps - steel girders welded into three-armed crosses to stop tanks or other vehicles. Two tank traps are part of this display.

Visitors to Berlin were incredulous. "Incomprehensible. Do people know about this thing? Can they really know without witnessing it first-hand? Do they really believe they can keep people separated by a physical wall?"

The wall became a ghastly tourist attraction for West Berlin. Thousands of westerners came to gawk at the East, as though through the bars of a cage.
A City Divided Marker image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Ruth VanSteenwyk, August 10, 2017
2. A City Divided Marker
Topics and series. This memorial is listed in this topic list: War, Cold. In addition, it is included in the Berlin Wall series list.
Location. 44° 5.173′ N, 103° 13.671′ W. Marker is in Rapid City, South Dakota, in Pennington County. Memorial is on Mount Rushmore Road. The memorial is located in Memorial Park. Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 434 N Mt Rushmore Rd, Rapid City SD 57701, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Construction of the Wall (here, next to this marker); Celebrating Victory (here, next to this marker); Confrontation (here, next to this marker); The Berlin Wall Memorial (here, next to this marker); The Cruel Border (a few steps from this marker); The American Commitment (a few steps from this marker); Berlin Wall Segments (a few steps from this marker); Tank Traps (a few steps from this marker). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Rapid City.
Related markers. Click here for a list of markers that are related to this marker.
Also see . . .  The Berlin Wall Memorial. (Submitted on July 9, 2019, by Ruth VanSteenwyk of Aberdeen, South Dakota.)
The Berlin Wall Memorial image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Ruth VanSteenwyk, August 10, 2017
3. The Berlin Wall Memorial
Credits. This page was last revised on July 17, 2019. It was originally submitted on July 9, 2019, by Ruth VanSteenwyk of Aberdeen, South Dakota. This page has been viewed 148 times since then and 7 times this year. Last updated on July 13, 2019, by Ruth VanSteenwyk of Aberdeen, South Dakota. Photos:   1, 2, 3. submitted on July 9, 2019, by Ruth VanSteenwyk of Aberdeen, South Dakota. • Andrew Ruppenstein was the editor who published this page.

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Apr. 21, 2024