Just started watching a documentary on it and it just seems crazy to me living in the world I live in today!
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The communist bloc didn't want views of the free parts of Berlin to contaminate (read: influence and inspire) those living under their rule. They were especially concerned that all their skilled workers would flee for a better life in the West.
You need to remember that Berlin was 100 miles *inside* East Germany. It was surrounded on all sides by communist territory. The British, American and French sectors of the city were all tiny enclaves of the West in the middle of what amounted to an enemy country (like the Green Zone in Iraq) If you find the wall fascinating, you'd do well to look up the Berlin Airlift, when the Soviets closed all roads and railways into West Berlin and tried to starve the Western powers out. They managed to sustain the city purely with air freight. It's an incredible story.
Why a wall? Being a city, there are myriad ways of getting around without being scene. It's not like open countryside where watch towers and a wide exclusion zone can be built and easily monitored, you need a large physical obstacle.0