On the drive to Berlin we stop off at Checkpoint Alpha, the former Cold War east/west border crossing. My research into settlements (as in villages, towns and cities) inevitably overlaps with issues of boundaries and borders. The division of Germany during that period continues to hold a powerful resonance, and never more than now with the Russian invasion of Ukraine.
The Cold War division of Germany1
Originally opened in 1945 between the British and Soviet zones at Helmstedt/Marienborn, Checkpoint Alpha was in use until 1990. It marked the start of the 170km/110m fenced corridor section of the A2 autobahn (the blue line on the map above) which was the only permissable road approach through East Germany between West Germany and West Berlin.
Its checkpoint inspections were reportedly gruelling, after which travellers would continue along the sealed-off autobahn to Checkpoint Bravo at the outer edge of West Berlin. And if they arrived in under two hours they received a speeding ticket - an early form of the average speed check2.
1Map from the Memorial to the Division of Germany in Marienborn at Checkpoint Alpha.
2In case you were wondering... we complete the journey between Checkpoints Alpha and Bravo in 75mins.