Today, Berlin is one of & # 39; the world's trendiest, most prosperous cities – a cultural powerhouse and a mecca for party animals.
But just over 30 years ago it was a city torn in two, separated by a wall of 91 miles. Capitalist was West Berlin on the one hand, communist East Berlin on the other. Everyone who tried to get over it was shot.
On the occasion of the fall of the Berlin Wall Radio Free Europe, photographer Amos Chapple visited the precise locations of 14 striking photos taken when the city was split – in the 1950s, 60s and 70s – and took 2019 versions of those scenes. And the contrasts – or the lack thereof – are fascinating.
The Reichstag Building, pictured on the left in 1962, seen from behind a ragged barbed wire fence that would become the Berlin Wall. It is shown on the current day. Before the wall was built in 1961, around 3.5 million people – 20 percent of the population of East-German-controlled East Germany – had fled to the West
A woman poses in the center of East Berlin in 1974. The eastern half of Berlin was ruled by a communist government from 1949 to 1990. Shown on the right is the same scene in the present time, where many of the buildings still look the same
A five meter high statue of Josef Stalin, pictured on the left, in 1958, on the street that was then known as Stalinallee. Amos writes on the Radio Free Europe / Radio Liberty site and explains: & # 39; As part of the Soviet de-Stalinization campaign, the statue was removed and broken into pieces in a covert night operation by the communist authorities in 1961. A bronze The ear of the Soviet dictator was separated and can now be seen in a nearby café. & # 39; Pictured on the right is the same place today, which is now called Karl-Marx-Allee
A postman on the Karl-Marx-Allee in 1961, pictured left. Amos explains: & # 39; Public mailboxes like this were a favorite stalking area for the Communist secret police, who secretly shot photos at such sites to help them track who posted what, and for whom. & # 39 ; Pictured on the right today is the same street – but without the letterbox
Recognizable locations of the then and now recordings include the Brandenburg Gate, the Reichstag Building and Alexanderplatz.
But trying to align a shot in exactly the same place as a previous photo sometimes proved too difficult.
Amos told MailOnline Travel: & # 39; Only about half of the photos I wanted to photograph were possible. Many sites that I found were blocked by trees or billboards or I had to be in the middle of a busy road, so I'm a bit happy with everything I have.
& # 39; Choosing the old photo & # 39; s is always a balance – you need a kind of architectural anchor that connects the scene with the historic photo today. But in some places in Berlin, architecture has remained unchanged since the Communist period, so there is no contrast that will surprise people.
& # 39; So I think the best old photos are those that give a good taste of time – people's clothing style, or the appearance of the car & # 39; s or a statue of Stalin – while they of course still stay exactly at the same location.
The Brandenburg Gate is covered in fog on the left, while a man looks over the newly erected Berlin wall to the eastern part of the divided city in November 1961. The wall was reinforced with barbed wire to prevent people from climbing over it and walked 91 miles, completely West Berlin cut off from the rest of East Germany. To the right stands the Brandenburg Gate today, which is considered a symbol of a reunited Germany
On the left is an image of the Rotes Rathaus (Red Town Hall) seen from the viewing platform of the East Berlin television tower in 1970. The view today is depicted on the right. Amos says this is his favorite photo because it shows how much the city has been built up since the destruction by war & # 39;
A shooting communist & # 39; combat group & # 39; pictured on the left closes a border between East and West Berlin in preparation for the construction of the Berlin Wall in August 1961. Pictured on the right are pedestrians and cyclists who are exactly in the same place walk and cycle
& # 39; I think the photo of the church taken from the television tower is the most interesting. To see how much the city has been built up since the destruction by war is amazing.
& # 39; It gives you an idea of how the elderly in the city should feel, looking at all these new buildings that the rest of us pass by. They remember the debris that once stood in place, sometimes the people they knew who were killed in it. & # 39;
Looking at his completed project, Amos says it & # 39; deeply educational & # 39; used to be.
He added: & # 39; Looking at those old photos & # 39; s only reinforces my feeling that the government should never be given too much power. Whether politics is right, left, fascist, communist or centrist, it doesn't matter. Every government consists of people – it's just people. Even if they have good intentions, people make stupid mistakes and judgments. I do, you do, all of us.
& # 39; So when I look at that row of filthy communist militants standing there thinking that they will improve the world by stopping the freedom of movement of people, when I watch the Stasi videos of agents passing through the apartments of people are crawling, looking for evidence that they were thinking the wrong way … I find it frightening and it's a lesson. & # 39;
The separation of Berlin began in 1945 when Germany was split into East and West Germany.
The view from the Berlin television tower, looking east on Karl-Marx-Allee in 1970, pictured left. Amos says: & # 39; The area was almost completely rebuilt in the Stalinist style after it was destroyed in the Second World War by Allied bombing. & # 39; On the right a picture has been taken of the exact same place, showing that part of the Stalinist architecture still exists in the city
A 19-meter-high statue of Bolshevik leader Vladimir Lenin on a square in East Berlin in 1973, pictured left. In 1991 the pink granite monument was demolished, cut into pieces and buried in a forest on the outskirts of the city. The head of the statue was dug up in 2015 and given a home in a Berlin museum. Pictured on the right today is the same square
A mural adorns the side of a building at Alexanderplatz in 1974, pictured left. The square is named after the Russian tsar Alexander I. On the current photo of the square on the right, exactly the same mural can still be seen on the wall
A youth rally dedicated to the 30th anniversary of the liberation of fascism at the Soviet war monument in Treptower Park in 1975 in East Berlin. The memorial commemorates some of the 80,000 Soviet soldiers who died in the Battle of Berlin in 1945. In the photo on the right, the same memorial is nowadays
Berlin (located in the east) was also split with the west controlled by the US, the UK and France, and the east by the Soviets.
Initially, thousands of people were able to move freely between the areas controlled by the Soviet and Western territories.
But the differences between the two areas eventually became great, with West Berlin rapidly developing into a showcase for the capitalist way of life.
In the east, however, the economic situation was not as prosperous as people living there with a shortage of food and housing and with the restriction of individual liberties.
To stop people from east to west, the communist government in East Berlin decided in 1961 to build a wall – a physical barrier against defects.
The wall was reinforced with barbed wire to prevent people from climbing over it. It completely separated West Berlin from the rest of East Germany.
The palace of the republic in 1977, pictured left, with the iconic Berlin television tower in the background. Amos writes: & # 39; The low-hanging building was once the parliament of the communist regime of East Germany. In 2003 the German Bundestag voted to demolish the structure. & # 39; Today, work is underway on the construction of a replica of a 15th-century building that once stood on the site. It will be opened later this year
The world clock on Alexanderplatz in 1974, pictured left. Amos says: & # 39; The clock, which displays time in cities around the world, has become a famous meeting place since its completion in 1969. On November 4, 1989, a crowd of more than half a million people set the clock protest against the communist regime of East Germany. Five days later, the Berlin wall fell. & # 39; To the right is the clock of today, which has been declared a historically and culturally important monument by the German government
A group of tourists speckled with rain pose next to the early construction of the Berlin Wall, a few meters east of the Reichstag, depicted on the left in 1962. Amos writes: & # 39; The historic building, which housed the German parliament from 1894 to 1933, was in ruins after the Second World War and was rebuilding this photo. & # 39; On the right you can see a couple of cyclists riding past the Reichstag building today. Since 1999 it has been home to the Bundestag – united German federal parliament. It underwent a complete reconstruction in the 1990s, which was carried out by the British architect Norman Foster. It is now one of the most popular tourist attractions in Germany
Soldiers were ordered to patrol the wall to prevent anyone from crossing and shooting at those who tried to escape.
It is believed that at least 260 people died trying to escape from east to west.
Some people were allowed to cross over to West Berlin, but should do so at checkpoints.
The most famous was Checkpoint Charlie, which is now a museum in the city.
The Berlin Wall remained in place from 1961 to 1989 when, after months of increasing tension in East Germany, the Berlin Wall erupted on November 9.
Thousands rushed to border crossings immediately after a communist East German government leader told a press conference that travel to the West was permitted.
Huge numbers of East Berliners gathered at checkpoints who demanded to be left and the huge number of guards surpassed realized that they had no choice but to let them pass.
East and West Germany were finally reunited 11 months later in 1990. The demolition of the wall was completed in 1992.
. (TagsToTranslate) Dailymail (t) travelers (t) travel_news (t) Berlin