The Soviets had no intention of letting Germany reunify as a neutral or later pro-Western state and began to close the border down. It was de facto closed off in 1952 and formally sealed off in 1961 to stop the mass exodus of East Germans to West Germany.
The instillation it's self
It was a border wall up to 4 metres (13 ft) in hight made of expanded steel, concrete and razor wire that lasted from 1961 to it's near complete destruction in 1990.
1945–52: the "Green Border"
This was just a usual barbed wire and checkpoint border, but with paranoid Soviet troops manning it.
1952–67: the "Special Regime"
It was formally closed and a major barbed wire fence went up, followed by the mine fields, extra watch towers and extra fences.
The GDR implemented a "special regime on the demarcation line", justified as a measure to keep out "spies, diversionists, terrorists and smugglers", but it was also to stop the GDR's population haemorrhaging out!
1967–89: the "Modern Frontier"
In this era it was mostly a concrete wall backed up with expanded steel fences in more remote places; along with loads of troopers, communist party political commissars, secret policemen, spies, snipers, barracks, pill boxes, bunkers, mine fields and watchtowers along side the whole length of it.
2000-?: Grenze 2000 (English: Border 2000)
A both less costly and noticably less intrusive, modern and efficant hi-tech hell that was first planned out in 1988.
Staff on duty there
- East Germany -National People's Army.
- Up to ~50,000 were noted to be on duty at various times during the Cold War.
- East Germany- Stasi.
- East Germany- Volkspolizei.
- Soviet Union- Army Group of Soviet Forces in Germany.
- Germany- Bundesgrenzschutz.
- Germany- Bundeszollverwaltung.
- Bavaria- Bayerische Grenzpolizei.
- United Kingdom- British Army.
- United Kingdom-- British Frontier Service.
- United States- US Army.
Temporary access across it was allowed, but East Germany almost always spied on visiting Westerners and tried to liquidate those who sucsesfuly fled from the East to the West.
Some of the crossing points were at-
- Berlin Wall
- Checkpoint Charlie
- Eastern Bloc
- Germany's Fulda Gap
- North German Plain
- Berlin airlift
- "Poland is 'toast'!"
- Life under communism
- Exercise Reforger
- Seven days to the River Rhine (1979)
- Iron Curtain