This map plots the settings and references in The Spy Who Came in From the Cold

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Berlin Wall with barbed wire
Creative Commons Attribution Share AlikeBerlin Wall with barbed wire - Credit: Ludwig Wegmann


In the early 1960s, Berlin still bore the scars of war damage. After the building of the Berlin Wall by the GDR in 1961, crossing from East to West was strictly controlled and potentially lethal to those without the correct papers. Upon leaving the eastern sector, travellers would read the message: Let us work together for peace and understanding!  The German Peace Treaty restrains the West German warmongering.

The first chapter is set in the western sector, at a checkpoint crossing into the eastern side of the city.  This is probably Checkpoint Charlie, as this was the only crossing point open both ways to civilians with the correct papers. 


Checkpoint Charlie
Creative Commons Attribution Share AlikeCheckpoint Charlie - Credit: Deutsches Bundesarchiv


The strip of land running alongside the Wall later became known as the 'death strip' as it was patrolled by East German border guards with orders to shoot to kill.  Even after the wall had come down, evidence of the death strip remained.


East Berlin showing remains of former Death Strip
Public DomainEast Berlin showing remains of former Death Strip
Credit: Beek100


For a factual account of East Berlin under communist rule, read Stasiland by Anna Funder.

Stasiland on Book Drum