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    The Border Mission
 
The East German population was consistently told that the expensive and extensive border barrier system was to protect the safety and security of the socialist state and the struggle of the common worker against capitalism.  I have collected several DDR border related training manuals, recruiting folders and information booklets published in the 1970's and 80's and a photograph of the actual barrier fence is not found in any source.  The towers are shown on occasion; the vast majority of the photographs and text cover the heroic actions of the Border Troops to defend against  possible Western incursion. Interestingly, the West German Border Service, the BGS, is often shown as a potential threat.  The more military related publications make note of both the US forces as well as NATO to include information of unit composition and capability but this is done in neutral terms.  The recruiting documents show enlistment and a career in the Border Troops as a vital, heroic and necessary occupation in service of the state and the population. 
 
The reality was that barrier system  stretching over  1393 kilometers was designed to insure that unauthorized crossing from East to West would be virtually impossible and in  45 years of  existence, efficiency and effectiveness steadily improved.  In the 1950's,  control of the border areas began to increasingly become a state priority; 1961 was the point when the deeply echeloned, extensively patrolled barrier system featuring towers, mined areas, and a 'shoot to kill' policy truly began. The East German population may  well have wondered what was going on along their western and southern borders.  In a country with a vast and powerful internal state security service,  tight regulation of careers and professions  as well as governmental control of virtually all  media and education, if citizens had opinions, they were best kept silent.