A powerful, fascinating, and groundbreaking history of Checkpoint Charlie, the famous military gate on the border of East and West Berlin where the US confronted the USSR during the Cold War.
East Germany committed a billion dollars to the creation of the Berlin Wall in the early 1960s, an 11-foot-high barrier that consisted of 79 miles of fencing, 300 watchtowers, 250 guard dog runs, and 20 bunkers and was operated around the clock by guards who shot to kill. Over the next 28 years, at least 5,000 people attempted to smash through it, swim across it, tunnel under it, or fly over it.
In November 1989, the East German leadership buckled in the face of a civil revolt that culminated in half a million East Berliners demanding an end to the ban on free movement. The worlds media flocked to capture the moment that, perhaps more than any other, signaled the end of the Cold War. Checkpoint Charlie had been the epicenter of global conflict for nearly three decades.
As the 30th anniversary of the fall of the wall approaches in 2019, Iain MacGregor captures the essence of the mistrust, oppression, paranoia, and fear that gripped the world throughout this period. Checkpoint Charlie is about the nerve-wracking confrontation between the West and USSR, highlighting such important global figures as Eisenhower, Stalin, JFK, Nikita Khrushchev, Mao Zedung, Nixon, Reagan, and other politicians of the period. He also includes never-before-heard interviews with the men who built and dismantled the wall; children who crossed it; relatives and friends who lost loved ones trying to escape over it; military policemen and soldiers who guarded the checkpoints; CIA, MI6, and Stasi operatives who oversaw operations across its borders; politicians whose ambitions shaped it; journalists who recorded its story; and many more whose living memories contributed to the full story of Checkpoint Charlie.
Narrator: Dugald Bruce Lockhart
Duration: 10 hours 4 minutes
Released: 19 May 2011
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Audio