Rivalry between the United States and the Soviet Union (USSR) sparked the Cold War during the aftermath of World War II. It officially ended when the Soviet Union dissolved in 1991. Throughout the Cold War, the Berlin Wall was a symbol of the physical and political divisions between the USA and USSR. The wall was eventually dismantled in 1989.

When World War II ended, Germany was divided between the allied countries. Joseph Stalin, as leader of the USSR, took control of Eastern Germany. Although the German capital Berlin was situated in the east, the allies divided the city up between themselves, with the USSR taking control of the eastern half. Eventually, Stalin spread his Communist power across Eastern Europe, creating a metaphysical divide known as the 'Iron Curtain'.

In response to the Iron Curtain, the US began sending economic aid to Western European countries devastated by World War II but were barred from sending aid to Eastern Europe. People from Eastern Berlin tried to flee to the west, prompting the USSR to erect a physical blockade in 1961: the Berlin Wall.

The Berlin Wall prevented anyone from leaving Eastern Berlin. Those who tried were often shot or arrested. The Berlin Wall stood until the Soviet Union started to collapse in 1989. This marked the beginning of the end of the Cold War, which finally came to a close two years later. The physical wall was gradually removed between 9th November 1989 and 1994.

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