Germany is one of the world's most industrialised countries, located in central-western Europe. It is bordered to the north by the North Sea, Denmark, and the Baltic Sea, to the south by Austria and Switzerland, to the west by France, Belgium, the Netherlands and Luxembourg, and to the east by Poland and the Czech Republic.
Germany is a democratic federal parliamentary republic, containing 16 federal states (Bundesländer), which in certain spheres act independently of the Federation or "Bund".
Germany is a developed country with a very high standard of living, and it maintains a comprehensive social security, a universal health care system and diverse environmental protection laws. It is a global leader in several industrial and technological sectors.
The Federal Republic of Germany is a member state of the United Nations, NATO, the G8 nations, and a founding member of the European Union. More...
The inner German border (German: innerdeutsche Grenze or deutsch-deutsche Grenze; initially also Zonengrenze) was the border between the German Democratic Republic (GDR, East Germany) and the Federal Republic of Germany (FRG, West Germany) from 1949 to 1990. Not including the similar but physically separate Berlin Wall, the border was 1,393 kilometres (866 mi) long and ran from the Baltic Sea to Czechoslovakia.
It was formally established on 1 July 1945 as the boundary between the Western and Soviet occupation zones of former Nazi Germany. On the eastern side, it was made one of the world's most heavily fortified frontiers, defined by a continuous line of high metal fences and walls, barbed wire, alarms, anti-vehicle ditches, watchtowers, automatic booby traps and minefields. It was patrolled by 50,000 armed GDR guards who faced tens of thousands of West German, British and US guards and soldiers. In the hinterlands behind the border were more than a million North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO) and Warsaw Pact troops. More...