In commemoration of the fiftieth anniversary of the building of the Berlin Wall, separating East and West Berlin and heightening Cold War tensions, a documentary produced by CBS News and narrated by Daniel Schorr.
August 13, 2011

Making the Cold War colder with every brick.

It was fifty years ago today that the world learned a new phrase; "Berlin Wall". It remained a symbol of East-West tensions until it finally came down in 1989. And during those years it was witness to countless attempts, some successful and many unsuccessful, by East Berliners to escape to the West. It narrowly avoided being a flash-point for armed confrontations and it was often predicted as the place where World War 3, and the end of the world as we knew it, would get started.

It's gone now. Vague remembrances and memorials to those who died trying. Parks now take over expanses of what used to be no-man's land. The era of the Soviet Union has become some distant memory.

But at the time it was one more thing to add to our nervous society, another element for sleepless nights, another reason for tranquilizers, another pitcher of Martinis. And shortly after the Wall was built, CBS News produced Berlin: Wall Of Shame as an attempt to shed some light on yet another Cold War reminder.

Narrated by the late Daniel Schorr, it strives to give a history of the division between East and West, why Berlin was the boiling-point and what was in store for the future.

If it seems familiar, I ran it as a tribute last year when Daniel Schorr passed. Today it's serving as a reminder of history and a time we were all very worried.

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