By the 1970s not even a tank can get through the Wall; and the Stasi secret police have long infiltrated the tunnel-building teams. For the eastern regime, the Wall has worked. East Germans start getting washing machines, TVs, even some cars.
East and West come to an agreement: East Germany promises human rights and in exchange its borders are recognized by the West. Neither side means it. the East keeps on building up the Wall. Soon they are planning an electronic ‘hi-tech’ Wall, so advanced and impenetrable it won’t even need guns!
But some people still can’t take the lack of freedom - freedom of thought, and freedom of movement. And they prove it in spectacular ways. The Strelzyk and Wetzel families fly across the border in a home-made hot air balloon, and Holger Bethke swings over the Wall in the centre of Berlin, hanging from a makeshift pulley! Later he will fly across the Wall in a microlight aircraft to rescue his brother Egbert.
The Wall works but Communism is crumbling behind it. If the Soviet Union refuses to prop up its East German satellite, the East German state cannot survive. Then, with a slip of the tongue at a press conference, the borders are open.
The date is 9th November, 1989