Fifty years ago today, on August 13, 1961, the Soviet Union reacted to a wave of defections from Berlin's eastern sector to the west by starting construction on a wall that would divide the city for nearly three decades.
Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev insisted that the wall was built to keep westerners out, but the dozens of people who were killed trying to flee the Communist state would have disagreed.
Above is a collection of Stars and Stripes photos from the first four months of life in the shadow of the Berlin Wall.
Were you there? Tell us about it.