Cold War Stories at Checkpoint Charlie
In the history of Germany, Checkpoint Charlie, which separates the east and West Germany is perhaps the best symbol of the Cold war. So many incidents that happened at the Checkpoint Charlie are regarded as proof of the tyranny that once ruled the place. Today, when people look the checkpoint, they remember three incidents that took place many years ago.In 1961, there was a standoff between the US and Soviet tanks on both sides of the checkpoint. The standoff was sparked during there were arguments on whether the East German guards should examine the travel documents of Allan Lightner who wanted to pass through to see an opera at East Germany. The standoff lasted for about 6 days and eventually, it was resolved peacefully. Both parties withdrew their tanks after an agreement.There were also many escape attempts through the checkpoint and through the Berlin wall. Some smashed their cars through the gate while others tried to slip through the barriers.
One particular incident that made the news worldwide was the death of a young boy named Peter Fechter.Peter Fechter was a bricklayer from East Germany. He and a friend named Helmut Kulbeik planned an escape through the gates. They planned to hide at a corner near the Berlin wall and then jump into a watch the guards and waited for the right moment to run for their lives through the gates. Unfortunately, the guards saw them when they reached the wall. Kulbeik made it over the wall, but Fechter, unfortunately was shot at his pelvis. He fell back on the east side and lay on the ground bleeding to death. Nobody, from both the east, and the west dared to help him for fear that it may provoke shooting from either side. During a trial that was held years after, it was concluded that Fechter had no chance of survival even if somebody helped him because the shot he received was fatal.