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city in Brandenburg, capital of Germany, traditionally by folk-etymology from German Bär "bear," but likely from a Slavic source, cf. Old Polabian berl-, birl- "swamp," in reference to the old city's location on low, marshy ground along the River Spree. A flashpoint city in the Cold War, the Berlin airlift ran from June 28, 1948 to May 12, 1949. The Berlin Wall began to be built Aug. 15, 1961, and was effective until Nov. 9, 1989.
old type of four-wheeled covered carriage, 1690s, so called because it was introduced in Brandenburg, c.1670; see Berlin. Hence berline (from the French form) "automobile with a glass partition behind the driver's seat." In reference to a type of wool and the popular patterns made for it, from 1841.
Capital of reunited Germany, located in the northeastern part of the country.
Note: Formerly the capital of Prussia and then of Germany, Berlin was occupied by American, British, French, and Soviet troops after World War II. Disagreements among the Allies led to the partition of the city, with the Soviet zone becoming East Berlin, and the other zones West Berlin. East Berlin became the capital of the communist German Democratic Republic (East Germany), but West Berlin lost its capital status to Bonn in the Federal Republic of Germany (West Germany).
Note: The Berlin Airlift of 1948–1949 supplied West Berlin by air transport after the Soviet Union set up a land and water blockade in an attempt to gain political control of this noncommunist “island” in the midst of communist East Germany.
Note: The two Berlins were physically separated by the Berlin Wall, a barrier designed to prevent East Germans from crossing into West Berlin, from 1961 to 1989.
Note: With the reunification of the two Germanys in 1990, the reunified city of Berlin was restored to its place as Germany's capital.
Note: Germany was a collection of competing states until it was unified during the second half of the nineteenth century under the leadership of Otto von Bismarck.
Note: Germany's industrial, colonial, and naval expansion was considered a threat by the British and French and was one of the main causes of World War I, in which Germany was badly defeated.
Note: After the defeat of the Nazis in World War II, Germany was divided into four zones occupied by British, French, Soviet, and American forces.
Note: Since reunification Germany has become Europe's leading economic power. (See East Germany and West Germany under “World History since 1550.”)