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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.
Note: Former Eastern Bloc and Warsaw Pact nation, established as a republic in 1949; formed out of land in the zone of Germany occupied by the Soviet Union after World War II.
Note: The Berlin Wall was erected in 1961 to keep East Germans from defecting to the West.
Note: Although high for a communist nation, the East German living standard lagged far behind that of western Europe. Popular protests for democracy forced the communist government to open the Berlin Wall in 1989 and allow its citizens to migrate to West Germany. Unable to resist the tide of reform sweeping across communist states, the East German government agreed in 1990 to the reunification of Germany under the leadership of West Germany.
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.