The East German military began constructing the Berlin Wall in 1961 for the purpose of preventing civilians from crossing into West Berlin, which was part of West Germany. The wall began as a line of barbed wire guarded by the military before being built into a lengthy concrete barrier.
The Berlin Wall was 15 feet high and completely surrounded West Berlin. The East Germans fortified the wall with barbed wire, mines and machine guns. The wall remained until 1989, when the East German government failed and civilians were allowed to safely cross the border. Shortly after the borders were opened, the wall was dismantled by East German soldiers and civilians from both sectors.