Initial portions of the wall, such as this one shown on Aug. 13, 1961, were constructed not of concrete but of barbed wire. The objective of the wall was to keep East Berliners from defecting to West Berlin.
West Berliners protest an East German border blockade two days after construction of the wall began. President Kennedy approached the situation with a passive attitude, saying, "A wall is not nice, but it's a helluva lot better than a war."
The Berlin Wall did not only divide a city; in many cases it split families. In this photo taken on Aug. 14, 1961, two children in a West Berlin street speak with their grandparents through their window in East Berlin.
Checkpoint Charlie shown in June 1968 (left) and October 2009 (right). During the Cold War, it was the main border crossing between East and West Berlin; today the historic site is a popular shopping district and tourist attraction.
Birgit Kinder works on her painting Trabi on a portion of the Berlin Wall known as the East Side Gallery, on July 8, 2009. Ninety-one international artists gathered to repaint their original creations on the concrete slabs.