A Brief History
Amazingly, the escapees had been plotting their flight for over 18 months and had failed in a previous attempt. Lucky for them the authorities were unable to identify the would-be aeronauts. The successful balloon was the third balloon constructed by the determined Germans.
Germany had been separated into Soviet and other Allied zones after the end of World War II in Europe, with East Germany dominated by the communist Soviet Union and the West becoming West Germany, united under the auspices of the Western Allies. West Germany was considerably wealthier and freer than East Germany. Germans fleeing East Germany became an embarrassment for the communists.
The escape plan was hatched by a 37 year old and his 24 year pal, who brought their families with them.
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For more information, please see…
Funder, Anna. Stasiland: Stories from Behind the Berlin Wall. Harper Perennial, 2011.
Krassner, Barbara. Escaping East Germany. Momentum, 2018.
The featured image in this article, a diagram of the inner German border fortification system circa 1984, is a work of a U.S. Army soldier or employee, taken or made as part of that person’s official duties. As a work of the U.S. federal government, it is in the public domain in the United States.
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