Checkpoint Charlie is the most famous border crossing in Berlin, from the time when Germany was divided into East and West. The border crossing was between the American and Soviet sectors.
In 1961, Checkpoint Charlie was the site of a drama that could develop Cold War into something very violent. The East German regime tried to degrade the Western Allied rights in Berlin, which ended with both sides placed tanks with live ammunition facing each other at the border crossing.
Any shots were never fired, but the rest of the world hold the breath for a few days.
Several spectacular escape attempt also took place at the scene. The goal of most German refugees was to get from east to west, to get a better life. Best known is Peter Fechters attempt to get over the wall. He was shot by East German guards in front of the eyes of West Berliners, American soldiers, and other civilians.
Peter Fechter bled to death on the so-called Death Strip (Todesstreifen), an area between the wall and the western border. No one was permitted to enter the area and Peter Fechter died a slow death.
The case was widely reported and highlighted the situation in East Germany.
East Germans were of course forbidden to cross the border. Any attempt was illegal and many were shot by East German guards.
The restrictions led to the amazing inventions that would promote the escape. People tried to escape sewn into car seats and in hot air balloons.
On the site, there is also a museum about the Berlin Wall. Expect it to be crowded during the summer months at both the museum and the border crossing which is located just outside.
Many market stalls on site trying to peddle a lot of newly made copies of Soviet things, as well as the opportunity to be photographed together with people dressed in old uniforms – for a fee, of course.
Checkpoint Charlie in Berlin is a must worth a visit anyway. Few places have the same historical tension and not far from Checkpoint Charlie, you can take the opportunity to see a piece of the Berlin Wall preserved.