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Prosperity and freedom continue to lure more and more GDR citizens to the West. As it is still easiest to cross the border in Berlin, thousands of refugees use this escape route to flee to West Germany.

The GDR government feels compelled to make a move. Walter Ulbricht’s statement made in June – “No one has the intention to erect a wall!“ – turns out to be a downright lie. On 13 August, traffic routes between East and West Berlin are blocked by soldiers and barbed-wire fences. Within a few days only, the wall is erected, completing the division of Germany.

What else happened?

Near the Bavarian municipality of Kahl, the first commercial nuclear power plant begins producing electricity.

In the elections to the Bundestag, the conservative parties CDU and CSU suffer a significant loss in votes and are forced to enter into a coalition with the liberal party FDP.

The Federal Republic of Germany is shocked by the “Contergan“ scandal, the first post-war pharmaceutical scandal in Germany. Thousands of babies are born with severe deformities.

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