East to West Zone: Too ma-ny, "Farewell"
JFK said "WTF? OK": East Berlin turned into Hell 
Millions go from Eastern Zone and harm economy 
Some were never heard from, e'er again; The Wall, a shame to see 
What a stink! Reds wanna seal it tight
Yet, the best come over. How?
By boring, running, flying over Barbed-Wire Wall 
Who ever cared ... to be locked up inside?
Escapees: an embarrassment; wounding Russian pride 
Many running; shooting, scary; gladly, life, they'd give
Tunnel, wing it; though a crime; risk all to freely, live 
Cut a link in fence, and flee from fright
West: You're "in the clover" now
But mourning: some, and pining: lost to Reds' Berlin Wall
Now Gorby's in the cast; regime about to fall 
More rights to Russians, give; GNP: speed up from crawl 
The Marxist-Lenin line they took was coming to an end
The talks: the ticket: lessen fears; with Reagan, made a friend 
In a wink, ol' Ronnie of the Right
Says, "Mikhail, come over now!
"Reform, you want? Show sign: good faith, and tear down this wall!" 
Oh. oh, oh
One blink: The Wall is out of sight
Once, accursed; it's over now
The Germans: one united nation; So-viets fall! 
 Actually, it was the date on which the Gate was opened, allowing unrestricted travel between East Berlin and West Berlin, but ecstatic Berliners on both sides immediately began chipping away at the Wall, with no opposition from the guards. The German military officially started demolishing what was left on June 13, 1990.
 The US knew of the plans to build the Wall, and a tank battalion was lined up, ready to knock it down as fast as it could be built, with Presidential authority. At one minute before midnight, when construction was scheduled to commence, then-President John F. Kennedy called and rescinded the order, allowing the Wall to be built.
On June 26, 1963, JFK visited the Wall that he had allowed to be built, giving his famous speech line, "Ich bin ein Berliner" (I am a Berliner). He was hailed as some kind of hero, presumably for making the trip. Hey, if he'd *truly* had any empathy for the Berliners, wouldn't he have stuck to the original plan?
Kennedy would later write a book, "Profiles In Courage". Whatever happened to his autobiography, "Profiles In Cowardice"?
(Note to Kennedy-worshipers: Don't worry; we understand that you don't let facts get in the way of your delusions.)
 When Berlin was partitioned among the Soviets (East) and the Allies (West), more than three million fled from East to West, especially the best and brightest. This caused serious problems for the economy of East Berlin, both a shortage of labor and a shortage of the best minds. Hence, the Wall. (People always work their hardest and do their best thinking in prison, right?)
 Guards had strict orders to shoot to kill on sight anyone attempting to escape. The "to kill" part was officially denied by East German officials, although being shot by a high-powered military weapon rarely tickles. There were 136 confirmed deaths, but since such incidents hardly reflected favorably on the Socialist Worker's Paradise, many are believed to have been covered up. Unofficial estimates exceed 200 casualties among escapees.
If an escapee was wounded in a crossing attempt and lay on the death strip, no matter how close they were to the Western wall, they could not be rescued for fear of triggering engaging fire from the East Berlin border guards. The guards often let fugitives bleed to death in the middle of this ground, as in the most notorious failed attempt, that of Peter Fechter (aged 18). He was shot and bled to death in full view of the Western media, on August 17, 1962. Fechter's death created negative publicity worldwide that led the leaders of East Berlin to place more restrictions on shooting in public places. Just shoot them at night, or in less visible areas, apparently.
 About 5,000 people escaped successfully. Each successful escape resulted in more fortifications: Higher and stronger reinforced concrete walls, barbed wire, guard dogs, electrified fences, and even land mines. (The mines were designed not to kill you, but to blow your foot off at the ankle. Nice touch.) As escape on foot became less practical, other methods evolved. Numerous tunnels were dug, often from the West side, and many escaped this way before the method was discovered. Others escaped through the sewer system before that, too, was sealed off.
At least one border guard escaped successfully by jumping the barbed-wire fence, before the additional death traps were set. West-siders would eagerly help anyone struggling over the barbed wire.
Those living in high-rises near the Wall sometimes just jumped. To end that, all buildings close to the Wall were demolished, and the width of the barren, sterile area continually increased. One escapee shot a cable from his high-rise apartment to another on the West. When it was securely anchored, he rode a pulley across, just like in all those phony Hollywood movies, except that this was the real thing.
One man removed the gasoline tank from his VW Beetle, put a one-gallon can in its place, drove in from the West, and smuggled his fiancé out where the gas tank would have been. Eventually, border guards learned to stick a long, flexible snake-stick into the filler opening to detect this.
Two families made a hot-air balloon, which crashed in a forest on the East side on the first attempt. However, they were able to flee back home before the balloon was discovered. They started on a second balloon, but this time had to be much more careful, buying the needed 10,000 square feet of fabric (about 930 square meters) in bits and pieces so as not to arouse suspicion. The second attempt succeeded.
A West Berliner taught himself to fly an ultra-light aircraft, flew into a park in East Berlin where his cousin was waiting by pre-arrangement, picked him up, and flew back. He had painted red stars (symbol of Soviet aircraft) on the wings and tail so that the guards would not dare to shoot without consulting a superior. Given the typical inefficiency of that regime, by the time the orders were received, the plane was safely in the West.
 As Alfred E. Neuman of Mad Magazine™ once asked, "If Communism is so great, why didn't they build a picture window instead of a wall?"
 Those who were caught trying to escape, and weren't killed in the process, were imprisoned as criminals. Of course, the Worker's Paradise would give no figures on how many were in jail for trying to flee Paradise.
 In March 1985, Mikhail Gorbachev became General Secretary of the Communist Party, and hence, de facto ruler of the Soviet Empire. He had previously met with Canadian Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau and British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, and understood from his travels in the West that only a loosening of Government dictatorship could revive the stagnant and struggling Soviet economy. This went even so far as greater freedom of speech and dissent, formerly prohibited in the U.S.S.R.
 "GNP" = Gross National Product, a measure of a country's economy. Gorbachev's reforms included private ownership of businesses in certain sectors for the first time since Lenin. As a result, the GNP of the formerly-stagnant USSR grew by 66% in five years.
Surprise! -- "Freedom works".
 On November 19, 1985, U.S. president Ronald Reagan and Soviet premier Mikhail Gorbachev met for the first time, in Geneva. On October 11, 1986, Gorbachev and Reagan met in Reykjavík, Iceland, to discuss reducing intermediate-range nuclear weapons in Europe. To the immense surprise of both men's advisers, the two agreed in principle to removing INF systems from Europe and to equal global limits of 100 INF missile warheads. They also essentially agreed in principle to eliminate all nuclear weapons in 10 years (by 1996), instead of by the year 2000 as in Gorbachev's original outline. Reagan and Gorbachev actually struck up a friendship. Gorbachev would later fly about 5,000 miles, or about 8,000 km, to attend Reagan's funeral on June 11, 2004.
 In a speech at the Brandenburg Gate commemorating the 750th anniversary of Berlin on June 12, 1987, Ronald Reagan challenged Mikhail Gorbachev to tear down The Wall as a symbol of increasing freedom in the Eastern Bloc:
"We welcome change and openness; for we believe that freedom and security go together, that the advance of human liberty can only strengthen the cause of world peace. There is one sign the Soviets can make that would be unmistakable, that would advance dramatically the cause of freedom and peace. General Secretary Gorbachev, if you seek peace, if you seek prosperity for the Soviet Union and eastern Europe, if you seek liberalization, come here to this gate. Mr. Gorbachev, open this gate. Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall!"
Former West German Chancellor Helmut Kohl said he would never forget standing near Reagan when he challenged Gorbachev to tear down the Berlin Wall. "He was a stroke of luck for the world, especially for Europe", said Kohl.
 The reunification of East and West Germany was formally concluded on October 3, 1990. As the spirit of freedom spread throughout the Eastern Bloc, there were massive protests, demonstrations, and even declarations of secession from the USSR. By the end of 1991 -- two years after The Fall Of The Wall -- the Soviet Union had collapsed and died.