What was Checkpoint Charlie?


Checkpoint Charlie was the name given to the main border crossing for diplomats, journalists and non-German visitors to enter Soviet -controlled East Berlin from West Berlin. Part of the Berlin Wall, visitors were vetted by guards on other side before entering and, even then, were only allowed to enter East Berlin on a one-day visa.

In October 1961, a standoff occurred at the checkpoint between US and Soviet forces. A dispute over whether East German guards had the right to examine the travel documents of a US diplomat escalated until ten tanks faced off 100 metres apart on either side of the barrier. Though some feared the beginning of World War Three, it ended peacefully after six days.

To discover the answer to more burning history questions, pick up a copy of All About History today.