May 7, 1945, Germany surrenders to the Allied Forces. The
European conflict of World War II is over. Adolf Hitler is dead. The Third
Reich has fallen, and Hitler’s brutal war atrocities are exposed. The city of Berlin—although technically in Soviet-occupied East Germany—is in rubble, broken and divided into four sectors: American, British, French, and the Soviet zone. The eastern side of Berlin is under complete Russian Communist control, and friendly relations with the Allies turn hostile.
June 1948, the Soviet Union blocks Western Berlin road access from food, water, and supplies. In response, a massive Allied airlift is executed. Fuel and food is received by aircraft until the blockade is lifted in May 1949.
In the 1950s, East and West Berlin function as different countries, governed under very different leadership and laws and even issued their own currency. The Soviet zone of East Berlin finds they stand alone in their politics; a satellite occupation far from its mother country and facing what they believe to be a rebellion from the Allied forces. Their grip on the residents of East Berlin tightens as more and more people flee. By 1961, it is estimated two to three million people had already deserted the eastern side for better opportunities in the west.
As August 1961 approaches, nearly a thousand educated professionals, skilled laborers, and families make an exodus westward each day. East Berlin is hemorrhaging, now on the verge of total ruin. Leadership panics and Nikita Khrushchev gives the Deutsche Democratic Republic the official approval to seal off the western side of Berlin from all of East Germany. While it appeared as though the wall was to keep the Allies detained, its only purpose was to keep the East German residents from reaching Democratic freedom.
Used with Permission from http://www.berlin-germanyfanclub.com/berlin-wall-map.html
The German language is intertwined often in conversation throughout the story and although the author attempted to make it simple enough for the reader to understand the context, a German glossary can be found at the back of the book.