The Hungarian Revolution (counter-revolution from the communist-bloc perspective) lasted from 23 October to 10 November 1956. It was a spontaneous revolt against Moscow rule and was ruthlessly suppressed by armed Soviet intervention. An estimated 2,500 Hungarians and 700 Soviet troops died. More than 200,000 Hungarians fled the country before the border with Austria was reinforced. Imre Nagy, the Hungarian Prime Minister, was executed.
In his savage diatribe against the world of espionage that he is so much a part of, Leamas makes it clear that both 'sides' employ the same methods, and the same sort of people. These are not the glamorous characters that populate the world of 007. The first James Bond film, Dr No, was released in 1962, three years before the film of The Spy Who Came in From the Cold. The contrast between the two portrayals of spies could not be greater. It is unimaginable that James Bond would deliver such negative opinions to the very glamorous women he meets as Leamas does to his lover, a librarian described as ungainly with large facial features.
The Brandenburg Gate, one of Berlin's most famous features, was built between 1788 and 1791. Until the erection of the Berlin Wall in 1961, vehicles and pedestrians could pass through it. The wall effectively closed the Gate off to both West and East Berlin.