Checkpoint Charlie: The Cold War, the Berlin Wall and the most dangerous place on Earth

'Checkpoint Charlie' book cover

Marking the 30th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall, Iain MacGregor discusses his ground-breaking new history of Checkpoint Charlie.

In the early 1960s, East Germany committed a billion dollars to the construction of the Berlin Wall. This 11-foot-high barrier between East and West Berlin consisted of 79 miles of fencing, 300 watchtowers, 250 guard dog runs, 20 bunkers, and was operated around the clock by guards who shot to kill. 

In November 1989, the East German leadership buckled in the face of a civil revolt. Half a million East Berliners demanded an end to the ban on free movement. The world’s media flocked to capture the moment which, perhaps more than any other, signalled the end of the Cold War. 

In this talk, author Iain MacGregor will capture the essence of the mistrust, oppression, paranoia and fear that gripped the world throughout this period. He will highlight the nerve-wracking confrontation between the West and the USSR, highlighting important global figures of the period. 

He will explore the role of the Berlin Infantry Brigade. And he will look at the untold stories of men who built and dismantled the Wall; children who crossed it; people who lost loved ones trying to escape over it; and those who guarded Checkpoint Charlie, the famous military gateway between East and West.

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"First time @NAM_London today. Thoroughly enjoyed it. Thought the presentation & interpretation made the subject accessible..."