President Kennedy, though profoundly hostile towards the construction of the Berlin Wall, did not directly challenge the Soviets. In truth, he couldn't, because the potential consequences of armed conflict would have been catastrophic. In some respects, the building of the wall worked to the benefit of the United States and its allies. For one thing, the Berlin Wall was a huge propaganda gift. For almost forty years, it stood as a symbol of the evil of communist tyranny, a monument to an inhumane ideology that separated families and friends, and brutally cut down anyone trying to seek a better life. On a geopolitical level, the construction of the Berlin Wall took the sting out of East-West tensions, representing, as it did, a tacit acceptance, on the part of the Soviets, of a recognizable Western sphere of influence in Europe.