The Iron Curtain: Five Things To Know
Paris, Sept 23 (UrduPoint / Pakistan Point News - 23rd Sep, 2019 ) :The Iron Curtain was an ideological and physical separation of communist Eastern Europe from the West from the 1940s, after World War II.
His comments were seen as an opening salvo in the Cold War which pitted the Soviet Union and the West against each other for more than four decades.
The term had been coined earlier. Russian writer Vasily Rozanov, in his 1918 book "The Apocalypse of Our Time", wrote "an iron curtain is being lowered, creaking and squeaking, at the end of Russian history." - A physical frontier - The ideological barrier between Soviet-controlled Eastern Europe and the West gradually became a physical one spanning thousands of kilometres (miles).
To stop their citizens from fleeing to the West, the Soviet-dominated Eastern countries began erecting various forms of barriers using barbed wire, ditches and concrete walls.
The separations were controlled by alarms, watchtowers, mines and soldiers.
To stop this important loss of manpower, East Germany in 1961 began constructing a wall.
Made of reinforced concrete and wire mesh, the Berlin Wall stretched for 155 kilometres.
- Escape attempts - Eastern European citizens were only allowed to visit the West under strict conditions and those who tried to cross over without permission did so at great risk.
Around 5,000 people made it out, however, often using innovative means.
Others escaped by swimming across Berlin's Spree River, via tunnels, or by hot air balloon.
On August 19 the frontier was to be symbolically opened for a few hours for a Pan-European Picnic.
Soon afterwards Eastern Europe's communist regimes started to tumble.
Thousands flocked to the wall, and disoriented border guards opened the checkpoints.
Through the night euphoric Berliners celebrated, perched on the wall. They used pickaxes to knock out chunks.
Within two years the Soviet Union had imploded, the Iron Curtain falling with it.