Ivan Ivanovich-Unsung Space “Hero”


I know what you are thinking when you look at the picture”That looks like a dummy” and you would be right because  Ivan Ivanovich was a dummy. Weeks before Yuri Gagarin made a successful orbit of the Earth, a Soviet mannequin named Ivan Ivanovich (the Russian equivalent of John Doe) tested the dangers of spaceflight and reentry.


Ivan Ivanovich’s first space exploration was on Korabl-Sputnik 4 on 9 March 1961, accompanied by a dog named Chernushka, various reptiles, and 80 mice and guinea pigs, some of which were placed inside his body.


Ivan was ejected out of the capsule during re-entry and made a soft landing using a parachute. Chernushka was recovered unharmed inside the capsule.

To test the spacecraft’s communication systems, an automatic recording of a choir was placed in Ivanovich’s body – this way, any radio stations who heard the recording would understand it was not a real person. Ivan was also used to test the landing system upon return to Earth, when he was successfully ejected from the capsule and parachuted to the ground.

Because no human being had ever been to space, the test dummy was designed to test as many unknowns as possible on a real human form. And because the Korabl-Sputnik capsule he traveled on wasn’t designed to make a soft landing, Ivan’s trip tested a human passenger’s ability to bail from the capsule during descent and parachute safely to ground.

Ivan’s  second space exploration was aboard the , Korabl-Sputnik 5,  March 26 1961, was similar – he was again accompanied by a dog, Zvyozdochka, and other animals, he had a recording of a choir and also a recipe for cabbage soup to confuse any listeners inside him, and he safely returned to Earth.Ivan_ivanowich


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Who needs the Moon anyway- when the US wanted to nuke the Moon.


Project A119 was the designated name by the US Air Force to detonate a nuclear bomb on the moon.

The project was called “A Study of Lunar Research Flights” aka ” Project A119 and was developed by the U.S. Air Force in the late 1950s.


The aim was to intimidate the Soviet Union, who at that time were winning the space race, by seeing the nuclear flash from Earth.

The explosion would of course be best on the dark side of the moon for the best possible effect.

One of the leaders of the project, physicist Leonard Reiffel, figured  hitting the moon with an intercontinental ballistic missile would have been relatively easy to accomplish, including hitting the target with an accuracy of approximately two miles.  The accuracy would have been particularly important as the Air Force wanted the resulting explosion to be clearly visible from Earth.

The Soviet Union had successfully launched the Sputnik 1 on October 4th 1957, and the US was in need of some morale boost.


Project A119, was cancelled though in  1959 for fears that a failed explosion on the moon might have might have adverse effects on Earth.

Thankfully the used a different approach by sending the first man to moon , a decade later,



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That time the US nuked Greenland


On 21 January 1968, an aircraft accident (sometimes known as the Thule affair or Thule accident  involving a United States Air Force (USAF) B-52 bomber occurred near Thule Air Base in the Danish territory of Greenland.


The aircraft was carrying four hydrogen bombs on a Cold War “Chrome Dome” alert mission over Baffin Bay when a cabin fire forced the crew to abandon the aircraft before they could carry out an emergency landing at Thule Air Base. Six crew members ejected safely, but one who did not have an ejection seat was killed while trying to bail out. The bomber crashed onto sea ice in North Star Bay, Greenland, causing the conventional explosives aboard to detonate and the nuclear payload to rupture and disperse, which resulted in radioactive contamination.

The United States and Denmark launched an intensive clean-up and recovery operation, but the secondary stage of one of the nuclear weapons could not be accounted for after the operation completed. USAF Strategic Air Command “Chrome Dome” operations were discontinued immediately after the accident, which highlighted the safety and political risks of the missions. Safety procedures were reviewed and more stable explosives were developed for use in nuclear weapons.

In 1995, a political scandal resulted in Denmark after a report revealed the government had given tacit permission for nuclear weapons to be located in Greenland, in contravention of Denmark’s 1957 nuclear-free zone policy. Workers involved in the clean-up program have been campaigning for compensation for radiation-related illnesses they experienced in the years after the accident.




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Explorer 1


Explorer 1 was the first satellite of the United States, launched as part of its participation in the International Geophysical Year. The mission followed the first two satellites the previous year; the Soviet Union’s Sputnik 1 and 2, beginning the Cold War Space Race between the two nations.

Explorer 1 was launched on January 31, 1958 at 22:48 Eastern Time (February 1, 03:48 UTC) atop the first Juno booster from LC-26 at the Cape Canaveral Missile Annex, Florida. It was the first spacecraft to detect the Van Allen radiation belt, returning data until its batteries were exhausted after nearly four months. It remained in orbit until 1970, and has been followed by more than 90 scientific spacecraft in the Explorer series.

Explorer 1 was given Satellite Catalog Number 4, and the Harvard designation 1958 Alpha 1,the forerunner to the modern International Designator.


The first two jolts came courtesy of the Soviet Union, which launched the first-ever artificial satellite, Sputnik 1, on Oct. 4, 1957, and followed that up a month later by lofting a dog named Laika to orbit, aboard the Sputnik 2 craft.


The United States tried to answer on Dec. 6, 1957, with a satellite launch of its own. But the rocket carrying the nation’s first would-be spacecraft, the 3.5-lb. (1.6 kilograms) Vanguard Test Vehicle 3, burst into flames shortly after liftoff, live on national TV.

But the 30.7-lb. (13.9 kg) Explorer 1 was not just a space-race publicity stunt; the satellite performed groundbreaking science work as it orbited Earth. It spotted fewer high-energy cosmic rays than expected, leading Explorer 1 principal investigator James Van Allen to suggest that the satellite’s detector had been overwhelmed by charged particles trapped in Earth’s magnetic field. [Space Race: Could the U.S. Have Beaten the Soviets into Space?]

Van Allen was right. The Explorer 3 spacecraft, which launched on March 26, 1958, confirmed the existence of these bands of radiation, which are now known as the Van Allen belts. (Explorer 2 had launched three weeks earlier but failed to reach orbit because of a rocket malfunction.)

The satellite was designed and built by engineers at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) in Pasadena, California. Today, JPL is one of NASA’s flagship centers, but NASA didn’t even exist when Explorer 1 lifted off; the space agency was officially established six months later, on July 29, 1958, and began operations on Oct. 1 of that year.



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Checkpoint Charlie


Checkpoint Charlie was first set up in August 1961, when communist East Germany erected the Berlin Wall to prevent its citizens from fleeing to the democratic West. While it was only one of several crossings in and around Berlin—there was also a Checkpoint Alpha and Bravo—Charlie was notable for its location on Friedrichstrasse, a historic street in the American-occupied city center. Even more important was that it was the only gateway where East Germany allowed Allied diplomats, military personnel and foreign tourists to pass into Berlin’s Soviet sector. In response, the United States, France and Britain stationed military police at Checkpoint Charlie to ensure their officials had ready access to the border. The Allied guards spent most of their time monitoring diplomatic and military traffic, but they were also on hand to register and provide information to travelers before they ventured beyond the Wall.


In February 1962, Checkpoint Charlie played a supporting role in one of the most famous prisoner exchanges of the Cold War. The main swap took place at the nearby Glienicke Bridge, where captured American U-2 spy plane pilot Francis Gary Powers was traded for Rudolf Abel, 9f35beb531f97202853c706e36a65438a Soviet who had been arrested in New York and convicted of espionage. As Powers and Abel were crossing the bridge, Soviet officials at Checkpoint Charlie also released Frederic Pryor, an American student who had been arrested by the East German Stasi and mistakenly branded a spy. Checkpoint Charlie was later used for a few other prisoner swaps, and its role as a Cold War trading post became a popular motif in spy novels and films. One of the most famous depictions came in the 1965 film version of author John le Carré’s “The Spy Who Came in from the Cold,” which opens with a British agent being gunned down as he tries to cross the checkpoint.


Since Checkpoint Charlie was one of the few gaps in the maze of barriers, barbed wire and guard towers that made up the Berlin Wall, it attracted many desperate East Germans looking to flee to the West. In April 1962, an Austrian named Heinz Meixner snuck his East German girlfriend and her mother across the border by lowering the windshield on a rented Austin-Healey convertible and speeding underneath the checkpoint’s vehicle barrier.


Another man later repeated the stunt before the East Germans added steel bars to the crossing. In another famous getaway, photographer Horst Beyer set up a photo shoot at Checkpoint Charlie and then hopped across the border while pretending to snap pictures. U.S. military personnel were officially forbidden to give aid to escapees, but shortly before the Berlin Wall fell in 1989, an American serviceman named Eric Yaw successfully smuggled an East German father and daughter through Checkpoint Charlie in the trunk of his car.



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The Space Shuttle-Well kind of

Building of the Soviet Buran spacecraft, 1982

During the Cold War, the USSR built a look-alike space shuttle to compete with the U.S. program.

The development of the “Buran” began in the early 1970s as a response to the U.S. Space Shuttle program. Soviet officials were concerned about a perceived military threat posed by the U.S. Space Shuttle.


In their opinion, the Shuttle’s 30-ton payload-to-orbit capacity and, more significantly, its 15-ton payload return capacity, were a clear indication that one of its main objectives would be to place massive experimental laser weapons into orbit that could destroy enemy missiles from a distance of several thousands of kilometers. Their reasoning was that such weapons could only be effectively tested in actual space conditions and that to cut their development time and save costs it would be necessary to regularly bring them back to Earth for modifications and fine-tuning.[7] Soviet officials were also concerned that the U.S. Space Shuttle could make a sudden dive into the atmosphere to drop bombs on Moscow.

Moscow lead-xlarge

The construction of the Buran-class space shuttle orbiters began in 1980, and by 1984 the first full-scale orbiter was rolled out. Construction of a second orbiter (OK-1K2, informally known as Ptichka) started in 1988. The Buran programme ended in 1993.


The first launch attempt on October 29, 1988, ended with a mechanical failure; a platform next to the rocket took so long to retract that the rocket’s computer cancelled the countdown.

The only orbital launch of a Buran-class orbiter occurred at 03:00:02 UTC on 15 November 1988 from Baikonur Cosmodrome launch pad 110/37.Buran wasBuran lifted into space, on an unmanned mission, by the specially designed Energia rocket. The automated launch sequence performed as specified, and the Energia rocket lifted the vehicle into a temporary orbit before the orbiter separated as programmed. After boosting itself to a higher orbit and completing two orbits around the Earth, the ODU  engines fired automatically to begin the descent into the atmosphere, return to the launch site, and horizontal landing on a runway.

After making an automated approach to Site 251 (known as Yubileyniy Airfield), Buran touched down under its own control at 06:24:42 UTC and came to a stop at 06:25:24, 206 minutes after launch.

In 1989, it was projected that OK-1K1 would have an unmanned second flight by 1993, with a duration of 15–20 days. Although the Buran programme was never officially cancelled, the dissolution of the Soviet Union led to funding drying up and this never took place.





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Flight 19-The Lost squadron


The Bermuda Triangle’s reputation as a boat and plane-devouring chasm was first sealed in December 1945, when a group of five U.S. Navy Avenger torpedo bombers known as “Flight 19” vanished in the Atlantic off the coast of Florida. No sign of the Avengers was ever found, and a Navy seaplane sent to rescue them also disappeared without a trace.



At 2:10 p.m., five U.S. Navy Avenger torpedo-bombers comprising Flight 19 take off from the Ft. Lauderdale Naval Air Station in Florida on a routine three-hour training mission. Flight 19 was scheduled to take them due east for 120 miles, north for 73 miles, and then back over a final 120-mile leg that would return them to the naval base. They never returned.


Flight 19 was a training flight with five TBM Avengers or Torpedo Bombers and was led by Commander Charles Taylor. Each was a 3-seater plane, very robust, safe and US Navy’s best bombing planes to destroy enemy submarines. It could carry up to 2,000 pounds of bombing ammunitions and had a range of 1,000 miles.

Other than Taylor, there were 13 others in the flight (in different planes) but were all trainees. Taylor was the only experienced pilot. On December 5, 1945 at 2:10 p.m., the five Avengers of Flight 19 took off one after the other from the Naval Air Station (NAS) of Fort Lauderdale at Florida for a routine training session. It was a clear day.

At first, Flight 19’s hop proceeded just as smoothly as the previous 18 that day. Taylor and his pilots buzzed over Hens and Chickens Shoals around 2:30 p.m. and dropped their practice bombs without incident.
But shortly after the patrol turned north for the second leg of its journey, something very strange happened.
For reasons that are still unclear, Taylor became convinced that his Avenger’s compass was malfunctioning and that his planes had been flying in the wrong direction.
The troubles only mounted after a front blew in and brought rain, gusting winds and heavy cloud cover. Flight 19 became hopelessly disoriented. “I don’t know where we are,” one of the pilots said over the radio. “We must have got lost after that last turn.”

As the weather deteriorated, radio contact became intermittent, and it was believed that the five aircraft were actually by that time more than 200 nmi (230 mi; 370 km) out to sea east of the Florida peninsula. Taylor radioed “We’ll fly 270 degrees west until landfall or running out of gas” and requested a weather check at 17:24. By 17:50 several land-based radio stations had triangulated Flight 19’s position as being within a 100 nmi (120 mi; 190 km) radius of 29°N 79°W; Flight 19 was north of the Bahamas and well off the coast of central Florida, but nobody transmitted this information on an open, repetitive basis.

At 18:04, Taylor radioed to his flight “Holding 270, we didn’t fly far enough east, we may as well just turn around and fly east again”. By that time, the weather had deteriorated even more and the sun had since set. Around 18:20, Taylor’s last message was received. (It has also been reported that Taylor’s last message was received at 19:04.)He was heard saying “All planes close up tight … we’ll have to ditch unless landfall … when the first plane drops below 10 gallons, we all go down together.


As it became obvious the flight was lost, air bases, aircraft, and merchant ships were alerted. A Consolidated PBY Catalina departed after 18:00 to search for Flight 19 and guide them back if they could be located. After dark, two Martin PBM Mariner flying boats originally scheduled for their own training flights were diverted to perform square pattern searches in the area west of 29°N 79°W. US Navy Squadron Training No. 49 PBM-5 BuNo 59225 took off at 19:27 from Naval Air Station Banana River (now Patrick Air Force Base), called in a routine radio message at 19:30 and was never heard from again.


At 21.15, the tanker SS Gaines Mills reported it had observed flames from an apparent explosion leaping 100 ft (30 m) high and burning for 10 minutes, at position 28.59°N 80.25°W.

Captain Shonna Stanley reported unsuccessfully searching for survivors through a pool of oil and aviation gasoline. The escort carrier USS Solomons also reported losing radar contact with an aircraft at the same position and time.


The disappearance of the 14 men of Flight 19 and the 13 men of the Mariner led to one of the largest air and seas searches to that date, and hundreds of ships and aircraft combed thousands of square miles of the Atlantic Ocean, the Gulf of Mexico, and remote locations within the interior of Florida.

No trace of the bodies or aircraft was ever found.

Although naval officials maintained that the remains of the six aircraft and 27 men were not found because stormy weather destroyed the evidence, the story of the “Lost Squadron” helped cement the legend of the Bermuda Triangle, an area of the Atlantic Ocean where ships and aircraft are said to disappear without a trace.

The Bermuda Triangle is said to stretch from the southern U.S. coast across to Bermuda and down to the Atlantic coast of Cuba and Santo Domingo.



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MiG 21 crash into a apartment block.


There you are having your minding your own and before you know it there is a MiG 21 parked in your living room. This is what happened to some inhabitants of  the Plattenbau” building, Cottbus, East Germany.

On January 14th, 1975, Major Peter Makowicka, 33, wass on a training mission with his Mikoyan-Gurevich MiG 21 SPS „849“. During approach on the military airbase Cottbus, German Democratic Republic (Eastern Germany), a cover latch on the engine compressor section, which has been insufficiently secured by a maintenance technician, opens. The engine draws air and switches off. He receives the order to deploy the ejection seat to save himself and let the plane go down.


Immediately after the distress, the military control center ordered the pilot to deploy the ejection seat to save himself and to let the plane go down. But Major Makovicka disobeyed, instead he pulled up to prevent the plane from crashing into the TKC (Textile Combinate Cottbus) with its thousands of workers, intending to let the plane crash into an empty field instead. There was no time to get that far away. In the residential area behind the factory site, the aircraft grazed the roof of a building and at 10.15 am pierced a “Plattenbau” (a 5-story large-panel system building) across the street. Mackovicka and five women were killed on the spot.


The plane had hit the second floor of the apartment block. The fire had spread from the basement to the 4th floor. It was unknown whether the plane carried ammo. However the fire chief correctly deduced acute danger from explosions. It was decided to attack the fire with from the street side and to evacuate the other entries. The decisions later prove to be right. The firefighters discovered that the plane still carried more than 800 liters of fuel. Upon impact, all four tanks had ruptured and the entire fuel escaped instantaneously, explaining the intensive burn and multiple, deflagration-like flare-ups on the 1st to 4th floors.

One hour and 15 minutes after the crash, the fire was, by and large, extinguished. All in all, 200-300 firefighters, police, medics and NVA soldiers were on the scene. Sixteen residents suffered severe injuries, many had jumped out of the windows in panic. One woman died in hospital, raising the death toll of the accident to 7.

The area was sealed off hermetically. Two days later, only a patch in the wall remained as evidence for what happened. The official news agency ADN reported only that a plane crashed, killing six people U5dsRS1mAr8A7hdECmsVVGrDmMTbwbo_1680x8400— and that an official commission has been tasked with the investigation.


The technician who failed to close the latch properly was sentenced to five years in jail. Major Peter Makowicka, likely the only NVA (National People’s Army) hero ever to disobey an order, posthumously received the Kampforden für Verdienste um Volk und Vaterland in Gold (Combat medal for the merits for the People and Fatherland) and other awards.


The building, Schmellwitzer Straße 2, Cottbus, stands to this day.



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I am passionate about my site and I know a you all like reading my blogs. I have been doing this at no cost and will continue to do so. All I ask is for a voluntary donation of €2 ,however if you are not in a position to do so I can fully understand, maybe next time then. Thanks


Vietnam War


It is often though that the Vietnam war started in the 60s, but in fact it dates back much further then that.

It really started on the 19th of December 1946. In February Ho Chi Minh had already sent a telegram  to U.S. President Harry S. Truman requesting support for independence.


The First Indochina War (December 1946 to August 1954) saw the Viet Minh and French colonial forces battle for control of Vietnam. In the West this conflict is called the First Indochina War; in Vietnam it is referred to as the Anti-French War.


The Second Indochina War which is more commonly referred to as the Vietnam War began in 1955 and lasted until 1975 when the North Vietnamese conquered South Vietnam. The United States, which had supported France during the first Indochina war, backed the South Vietnam government in opposition to the National Liberation Front and the Communist-allied NVA. The North benefited from military and financial support from China and the Soviet Union, members of the Communist bloc.

Following are pictures of the Vietnam war.

Hovering U.S. Army helicopters pour machine gun fire into a tree line to cover the advance of South Vietnamese ground troops in an attack on a Viet Cong camp 18 miles north of Tay Ninh, near the Cambodian border, in March of 1965.

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An American officer serving with the South Vietnam forces poses with group of Montagnards in front of one of their provisionary huts in a military camp in central Vietnam on November 17, 1962. They were brought in by government troops from a village where they were used as labor force by communist Viet Cong forces. The Montagnards, dark-skinned tribesmen numbering about 700,000, live in the highlands of central Vietnam. The government was trying to win their alliance in its war with the Viet Cong.

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U.S. President Lyndon B. Johnson listens to a tape recording from his son-in-law Captain Charles Robb at the White House on July 31, 1968. Robb was a U.S. Marine Corps company commander in Vietnam at the time.

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Smoke rises from the southwestern part of Saigon on May 7, 1968, as residents stream across the bridge leaving into the capital to escape heavy fighting between the Viet Cong and South Vietnamese soldiers

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Flying low over the jungle, an A-1 Skyraider drops 500-pound bombs on a Viet Cong position below as smoke rises from a previous pass at the target, on December 26, 1964.

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FBI agents carry Vietnam War draft resister Robert Whittington Eaton, 25, from a dwelling in Philadelphia on April 17, 1969, where Eaton had chained himself to 13 young men and women. The agent leading the way pushed one of the group who tried to block path to the sidewalk. At least six young persons were taken away with Easton.

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A trooper of the 101st Airborne Division attempts to save the life of a buddy at Dong Ap Bia Mountain, near South Vietnam’s A Shau Valley on May 19, 1969. The man was seriously wounded in the last of repeated attempts by U.S. forces to capture enemy positions there.

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Vietnamese and Cambodian refugees crowd a U.S. helicopter which evacuated them from immediate combat zone of the U.S.-Vietnamese incursion into Cambodia on May 5, 1970. They were taken to a refugee reception center at the Katum Special Forces camp in South Vietnam, six miles from the Cambodian border.

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A father holds the body of his child as South Vietnamese Army Rangers look down from their armored vehicle on March 19, 1964. The child was killed as government forces pursued guerrillas into a village near the Cambodian border.

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With the persuasion of a Viet Cong-made spear pressed against his throat, a captured Viet Cong guerrilla decided to talk to interrogators, telling them of a cache of Chinese grenades on March 28, 1965. He was captured with 13 other guerrillas and 17 suspects when two Vietnamese battalions overran a Viet Cong camp about 15 miles southwest of Da Nang air force base.

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Flag-draped coffins of eight American Servicemen killed in attacks on U.S. military installations in South Vietnam, on February 7, are placed in transport plane at Saigon, February 9, 1965, for return flight to the United States. Funeral services were held at the Saigon Airport with U.S. Ambassador Maxwell D. Taylor and Vietnamese officials attending.

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A Vietnamese battalion commander, Captain Thach Quyen, left, interrogates a captured Viet Cong suspect on Tan Dinh Island, Mekong Delta, in 1965.

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A Vietnamese litter bearer wears a face mask to keep out the smell as he passes the bodies of U.S. and Vietnamese soldiers killed in fighting against the Viet Cong at the Michelin rubber plantation, about 45 miles northeast of Saigon, on November 27, 1965.

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The released prisoner of war Lieutenant Colonel Robert L. Stirm is greeted by his family at Travis Air Force Base in Fairfield, California, as he returns home from the Vietnam War, March 17, 1973. In the lead is Stirm’s daughter Lori, 15; followed by son Robert, 14; daughter Cynthia, 11; wife Loretta and son Roger, 12. This famous photo, also called “Burst of Joy,” won a Pulitzer Prize in 1974. The happy scene depicted here was not to last, however. Stirm, after spending five years in captivity, had received a “Dear John” letter from his wife Loretta, just three days before returning home. They divorced in 1974

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Shot for trying to go to another part of the City.

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Erected in the dead of night on August 13, 1961, the Berlin Wall (known as Berliner Mauer in German) was a physical division between West Berlin and East Germany. Its purpose was to keep disaffected East Germans from fleeing to the West.

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When the Berlin Wall fell on November 9, 1989, its destruction was nearly as instantaneous as its creation. For 28 years, the Berlin Wall had been a symbol of the Cold War and the Iron Curtain between Soviet-led Communism and the democracies of the West. When it fell, it was celebrated around the world.

During 1961 and 1989 many people were killed for trying to escape to West Berlin. The exact number of casualties is unknown, because some were categorized as “suicide”

Below are some pictures of some of those who didn’t make it or were wounded.

A refugee runs during an attempt to escape from the East German part of Berlin to West Berlin by climbing over the Berlin Wall on October 16, 1961.I don’t know  if he survived

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East German border guards carry away a refugee who was wounded by East German machine gun fire as he dashed through communist border installations toward the Berlin Wall in 1971.

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Dying Peter Fechter is carried away by East German border guards who shot him down when he tried to flee to the west in this August 17, 1962 photo. Fechter was lying 50 minutes in no-man’s land before he was taken to a hospital where he died shortly after arrival.

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East German border guards carry away a 50 year old refugee, who was shot three times by East German border police on September 4, 1962, as he dashed through communist border installations and tried to climb the Berlin wall in the cemetery of the Sophien Church.

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West Berlin’s regulatory authorities gave fugitives covering fire if they were being fired at by GDR border guards. This resulted in at least one lethal incident on 23 May 1962, when the border guard Peter Göring was shot dead by a West Berlin policeman.

Newspaper story about Peter Göring