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Albert the Bear, who, despite his moniker, was not actually a bear, begins building what would later be known as the city of Berlin.
Albert the Bear's grandson officially founds Berlin while his bro founds Cölln next door. These villages eventually merge into what we now know as Berlin.
Brandenburg-Prussia happens, and Berlin is its capital city.
King Frederick William I builds the Berlin Customs Wall in his city. Its purpose was to defend Berlin against its enemies, monitor and tax stuff coming into the city, and prevent soldiers from deserting the King's army.
Just like its 20th-century counterpart, this wall has towers, armed guards, and a nasty reputation for violence.
After three years, construction on the neoclassical monument known as the Brandenburg Gate is complete. King Frederick William II, who commissioned the gate, is stoked. The Brandenburg Gate was one of the original eighteen gates in King FW I's Customs Wall, but it had never looked this awesome back then. It's fancy now.
Napoleon and his troops ride into Berlin after soundly defeating Prussian troops elsewhere in the country. He and his men rode their horses right through the Brandenburg Gate, which his troops looted soon after.
The people of Berlin get their uprise on, eventually getting King Frederick William IV to agree to cool democratic stuff like parliamentary elections, free press, and a constitution. He also promised that Prussia and Germany would become one, which made many Berliners all kinds of happy.
They'd had it with this whole Prussian monarchy thing; they'd been putting up with it for, like, a century.
King FW IV dissolves the elected assembly and calls his troops back to Berlin. He'd had it with this whole democracy-and-freedom thing; he'd been putting up with it for, like, nine months.
The last of that pesky Berlin Customs Wall is taken down, and Berlin is a walled city no more.
Germany officially unifies into one country (or empire, depending on who's telling the story) and immediately begins practicing for its upcoming role as the world's Big Bad.
Future POTUS Ronald Wilson Reagan is born in Tampico, Illinois.
Austrian Archduke Franz Ferdinand and his wife are gunned down by Serbian radicals. Kaiser Wilhelm II, Germany's neurotic leader, gives Austria the okay to get their war on with Serbia, and thus begins World War I.
The Allies, led by Britain (the U.S. wasn't involved in the war yet), begin what is known as the Blockade of Germany. Basically, no food and no supplies were allowed into Germany. This blockade lasted until the end of the war, and it's estimated that upwards of 400,000 Germans died from starvation and disease.
It wasn't pretty, but it definitely helped the Allies win the war.
World War I is officially in the books, and Germany and its buddies are the losers. But this doesn't stop them from starting another war less than twenty years later.
Mikhail Gorbachev is born into hard times in Stavrapol Krai in the Soviet Union.
Adolf Hitler is elected as Germany's new chancellor. Good move, Germany.
Shortly thereafter, all heck breaks loose all over the world. Not just in Germany, but also in Italy, Japan, and…well, pretty much everywhere.
Hitler's troops invade Czechoslovakia, the first of many military maneuvers that eventually lead to World War II.
Britain, France, Australia, and New Zealand officially declare war on Germany after its latest invasion, this time of Poland.
The U.S. officially joins the war after Japan bombs the American naval base at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii.
World War II didn't really work out for the Germans, and Hitler probably knew he was going to be in bi-i-i-ig trouble once the Allies got hold of him. Hitler commits suicide in his bunker by swallowing some cyanide and then shooting himself in the head.
Germany is defeated. The Allies break up the country into occupation zones, with American, French, and British zones on the western side of the country and Soviet zones on the east side. Berlin was similarly divided into four sectors.
Japan officially surrenders after having not one, but two atomic bombs dropped on it, courtesy of the United States. Stick a fork in this war; it's done.
The Soviet military moves in to "safeguard" the demarcation line between the Eastern and Western parts of Germany.
A thirty-day Interzonenpass is now required to travel between the different sectors of Germany.
George Marshall delivers European Recovery Act address at Harvard. Read the speech here.
The city of Berlin is divided into two different currency zones: the Deutschmark in the West and the Reichsmark in the East.
The Soviet Union blocks all rail, road, and water access to West Berlin in protest of the whole Deutschmark thing.
The West wastes no time responding to the blockade. They begin airlifting supplies into the beleaguered city in what's known as the Berlin Airlift.
The Soviets finally admit their whole "blockade" thing isn't really working out, so they call it quits.
The Federal Republic of Germany, otherwise known as West Germany, officially comes into existence.
Though the blockade has been over for a while, the West continues to airlift supplies into Berlin for several more months.
Not to be outdone by the West Germans, the German Democratic Republic, otherwise known as East Germany, officially comes into existence.
The idea of requiring passes for travel between Eastern and Western zones is floated at a meeting in Moscow.
The border between East and West Germany is officially closed. Only the border crossing between East and West Berlin remains open.
The West waives the need for an Interzonenpass to travel to the East…but the Soviets do no such thing for those wishing to travel to the West.
East Germans are officially forbidden from traveling to West Germany and a prison sentence of up to three years is established for violators.
GDR bigwig Walter Ulbricht assures peeps that no one is planning on building any sort of wall anywhere.
In English, that translates to "Barbed-Wire Sunday," the day construction of the Berlin Wall begins. So much for Ulbricht's assurances, eh?
The Brandenburg Gate officially closes, thus eliminating the last crossing point between East and West Germany.
President Kennedy visits West Berlin and gives his famous "Ich bin ein Berliner" speech, condemning communism and the Berlin Wall, which is still being expanded and fortified.
An agreement is reached between East and West that allows people from the West to visit their families in East Germany…but only on a very limited basis and for short periods of time.
The Four Power Agreement is reached, detailing how East and West Germans—and their international sponsors—can interact with each other, and how Berlin is going to be managed.
Ronald Reagan is officially sworn in as the 40th President of the United States.
Mikhail Gorbachev is elected as General Secretary of the Communist Party and the leader of the Soviet Union. He is the youngest person to be sworn into that office.
Gorbachev reveals his glasnost and perestroika reforms—among others—at the 27th Congress of the Communist Party in Moscow. His plans are met with mixed reviews.
President Reagan visits West Berlin, stands in front of the Brandenburg Gate and Berlin Wall, and urges General Secretary Gorbachev to tear down the wall.
Reagan hands the POTUS baton to his veep, George H.W. Bush.
Communist Hungary opens its previously-closed border with non-communist Austria. This is the beginning of the end for walls and closed borders everywhere.
Hungary allows East Germans to cross through their country en route to Austria, and more than 13,000 East Germans go ahead and take advantage of that opportunity.
More than a million peeps gather to protest East Germany in the name of democracy…and the GDR government resigns.
An announcement is made that travel between East and West Germany will be allowed once more…and people immediately begin pouring over the wall and tearing it down as they go.
The Brandenburg Gate is officially reopened. Crowds cheer. Bratwurst is no doubt consumed in great quantities.
Germany is officially reunified into one country.
Gorbachev is awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for his role in ending the Cold War.
Gorbachev officially resigns his post as President of the Soviet Union.
The Soviet Union is officially dissolved.