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Photo gallery: A wall goes up in Berlin, 1961

West Berliners cheer as a 1,500-man U.S. Army convoy from the 1st Battle Group rolls past the ruins of the Kaiser Wilhelm Church in August, 1961. The troops were sent to join the 11,000-man garrison already in the beleaguered city by President John F. Kennedy in a show of solidarity; they were greeted near the newly constructed Berlin Wall by Vice President Lyndon B. Johnson.

GUS SCHUETTLER/STARS AND STRIPES

By STARS AND STRIPES Published: August 13, 2011

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.

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