History Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for historians and history buffs. Join them; it only takes a minute:

Sign up
Here's how it works:
  1. Anybody can ask a question
  2. Anybody can answer
  3. The best answers are voted up and rise to the top

How did "Checkpoint Charlie" become known as the border crossing between East and West Berlin? Out of the countless border checkpoints, what set Checkpoint Charlie apart from the rest for defectors?

share|improve this question
The Stand-off between US and Soviet tanks was probably quite famous. But it wouldn't be significant for defectors. – Lev Oct 15 '11 at 15:42
I would agree with Lev. When Berlin was governed by the four occupying powers, in theory members of the armed services of all the four powers could go to any other sector when in uniform through any of the . In practise, they used Charlie because it was the only one open 24/7.The last time I crossed from East Germany into Berlin I used the French crossing at Berlin-Heiligensee and as it was Saturday it was officially closed. – ExpatEgghead Oct 15 '11 at 22:03
up vote 14 down vote accepted

There weren't "countless" border crossings between East and West. The checkpoints Alpha, Bravo and Charlie were the designated checkpoints for use by allied forces personnel (there were others which only West Berlin citizens could use).

Alpha and Bravo are less famous because Alpha was the main crossing for the "inner German border" dividing East and West Germany proper, while Bravo was in the south-west of Berlin. Alpha and Bravo were used for transiting between West Germany and West Berlin (crossing East German territory but nothing to do with East Berlin). So these crossing points were rather mundane compared to Charlie which was in the heart of the city and was used to transit between East and West Berlin.

share|improve this answer

Your Answer


By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.