Overnight, the forty-two thousand square miles of the german democratic republic became a prison.
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.