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West Berlin

Political enclave that existed between 1948 and 1990 / From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

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West Berlin (German: Berlin (West) or West-Berlin, German pronunciation: [ˈvɛstbɛʁˌliːn] ) was a political enclave which comprised the western part of Berlin from 1948 until 1990, during the Cold War. Although West Berlin lacked any sovereignty and was under military occupation until German reunification in 1990, the territory was claimed by the Federal Republic of Germany (FRG), despite being entirely surrounded by East Germany (GDR). The legality of this claim was contested by the Soviet Union and other Eastern Bloc countries. However, West Berlin de facto aligned itself politically with the FRG from May 1949 and was thereafter treated as a de facto city-state of that country. After 1949, it was directly or indirectly represented in the institutions of the FRG, and most of its residents were citizens of the FRG.

Quick facts: West BerlinWest-Berlin Berlin-Ouest Berlin (W...
West Berlin
Berlin (West)
West Berlin (red)
West Berlin (red)
StatusWestern Allies–occupied sectors of Berlin
Free city (De facto territory of the Federal Republic of Germany)
Official languagesGerman
Governing Mayor 
 1948–1953 (first)
Ernst Reuter (SPD)
 1989–1990 (last)
Walter Momper (SPD)
Historical eraCold War
 Soviet-backed coup against the elected government of Berlin
November 1948
3 October 1990
CurrencyDeutsche Mark (official)
United States dollar (also widely used)
Preceded by
Succeeded by
Merchant_flag_of_Germany_%281946%E2%80%931949%29.svg Allied-occupied Germany
Germany Flag_of_Germany.svg
Berlin Flag_of_Berlin.svg
Today part ofGermany

West Berlin was formally controlled by the Western Allies and entirely surrounded by East Berlin and East Germany. West Berlin had great symbolic significance during the Cold War, as it was widely considered by westerners an "island of freedom".[1] It was heavily subsidised by West Germany as a "showcase of the West".[2] A wealthy city, West Berlin was noted for its distinctly cosmopolitan character, and as a centre of education, research and culture. With about two million inhabitants, West Berlin had the largest population of any city in Germany during the Cold War era.[3]

West Berlin was 160 km (100 mi) east and north of the Inner German border and only accessible by land from West Germany by narrow rail and highway corridors. It consisted of the American, British, and French occupation sectors established in 1945. The Berlin Wall, built in 1961, physically separated West Berlin from its East Berlin and East German surroundings until it fell in 1989.[4] On 3 October 1990, the day Germany was officially reunified, East and West Berlin united, joined the Federal Republic as a Stadtstaat (city-state) and, eventually, again became the capital of Germany.

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