Instead of retreating, however, the United States and its allies supplied their sectors of the city from the air.
Descending down a rusted staircase into the subterranean space, the property’s new owners were amazed to discover what amounted to a time capsule of a bygone era where many Americans believed that a nuclear strike from the USSR was imminent.
In case the family got bored while waiting for the radiation to clear above round, they could play a board game or read a dozen copies of Analog science fiction magazine inside their temporary dwelling.
After the wall was built, it became impossible to get from East to West Berlin except through one of three checkpoints: at Helmstedt (“Checkpoint Alpha” in American military parlance), at Dreilinden (“Checkpoint Bravo”) and in the center of Berlin at Friedrichstrasse (“Checkpoint Charlie”).
(Eventually, the GDR built 12 checkpoints along the wall.) At each of the checkpoints, East German soldiers screened diplomats and other officials before they were allowed to enter or leave.
Before the wall was built, Berliners on both sides of the city could move around fairly freely: They crossed the East-West border to work, to shop, to go to the theater and the movies.