Today, Germans marked a minute's silence to observe the building of the Berlin Wall, which began today in 1961 and divided the city for 28 years. Between 136 and 700 people died trying to cross the Wall in the city. Parts of it were still up around Berlin until the mid-1990s. Some even argue in favour of rebuilding portions of it, so that people understand what the divided city was like and what it meant.
The Wall symbolized a punishing occupation inflicted by the victorious Allies, the growing intransigent stand-off between left- and right-wing political ideologies, and a terrible national defeat and failure, preserved in stasis for an entire generation. It overshadowed a lost Cold War era of painful debate and broken introspection. With time, novels like The Spy Who Came in from the Cold (1963) and its masterful 1965 film version (including a critical scene at the Wall) demonstrated that that pain extended throughout the western world, perpetuating an unspoken but deep-seated sense that things had gone terribly wrong. See my post on the dismantling of the Wall in 1989 here.
Image Source: Tabloid Edition.