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Thread: Fall of the Berlin Wall

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    Fall of the Berlin Wall

    Who here were alive when the Berlin Wall fell? How did you receive this big Event? Were you happy, or sad, or confused? Were you too little to remember? Did you predict a German Reunification? When the Berlin Wall fell I was only 3 Years old. I didn't understand much then. Years later I was glad for a Reunificated Germany.



    On August 23, 1989, communist Hungary removed its border restrictions with Austria, and in September more than 13,000 East German tourists in Hungary escaped to Austria. Mass demonstrations against the government in East Germany began in October 1989. The long-time leader of East Germany, Erich Honecker, resigned on October 18, 1989, and was replaced by Egon Krenz a few days later. Honecker had predicted in January of that year that the wall would stand for a "hundred more years" if the conditions which had caused its construction did not change.
    Protest demonstrations broke out all over East Germany in September 1989. Initially, they were of people wanting to leave to the West, chanting "Wir wollen raus!" ("We want out!"). Then protestors began to chant "Wir bleiben hier", ("We're staying here!"). This was the start of what East Germans generally call the "Peaceful Revolution" of late 1989. The protestors wanted to create "socialism with a human face," and by November 4, 1989, the protests had swelled significantly, with a million people gathered that day in Alexanderplatz in East Berlin[citation needed].
    Meanwhile the wave of refugees leaving East Germany for the West had increased and had found its way through Czechoslovakia, tolerated by the new Krenz government and in agreement with the communist Czechoslovak government. In order to ease the complications, the politburo led by Krenz decided on November 9, 1989, to allow refugees to exit directly through crossing points between East Germany and West Germany, including West Berlin. On the same day, the ministerial administration modified the proposal to include private travel. The new regulations were to take effect on November 10. Günter Schabowski, the East German Minister of Propaganda, had the task of announcing this; however he had been on vacation prior to this decision and had not been fully updated. Shortly before a press conference on November 9, 1989, he was handed a note that said that East Berliners would be allowed to cross the border with proper permission but given no further instructions on how to handle the information. These regulations had only been completed a few hours earlier and were to take effect the following day, so as to allow time to inform the border guards. However, nobody had informed Schabowski. He read the note out loud at the end of the conference and when asked when the regulations would come into effect, he assumed it would be the same day based on the wording of the note and replied "As far as I know effective immediately, without delay". After further questions from journalists he confirmed that the regulations included the border crossings towards West Berlin, which he had not mentioned until then.
    Tens of thousands of East Berliners heard Schabowski's statement live on East German television and flooded the checkpoints in the Wall demanding entry into West Berlin. The surprised and overwhelmed border guards made many hectic telephone calls to their superiors, but it became clear that there was no one among the East German authorities who would dare to take personal responsibility for issuing orders to use lethal force, so there was no way for the vastly outnumbered soldiers to hold back the huge crowd of East German citizens. In face of the growing crowd, the guards finally yielded, opening the checkpoints and allowing people through with little or no identity checking. Ecstatic East Berliners were soon greeted by West Berliners on the other side in a celebratory atmosphere. November 9 is thus considered the date the Wall fell. In the days and weeks that followed, people came to the wall with sledgehammers in order to chip off souvenirs, demolishing lengthy parts of it in the process. These people were nicknamed "Mauerspechte" (wall woodpeckers).

    The East German regime announced the opening of ten new border crossings the following weekend, including some in symbolic locations (Potsdamer Platz, Glienicker Brücke, Bernauer Straße). Crowds on both sides waited there for hours, cheering at the bulldozers who took parts of the Wall away to reinstate old roads. Photos and television footage of these events is sometimes mislabelled "dismantling of the Wall", even though it was merely the construction of new crossings. New border crossings continued to be opened through summer 1990, including the Brandenburg Gate on December 22, 1989.
    West Germans and West Berliners were allowed visa-free travel starting December 23, 1989. Until then they could only visit East Germany and East Berlin under restrictive conditions that involved application for a visa several days or weeks in advance, and obligatory exchange of at least 25 DM per day of their planned stay, all of which hindered spontaneous visits. Thus, in the weeks between November 9 and December 23, East Germans could travel "more freely" than Westerners.

    Technically the Wall remained guarded for some time after November 9, though at a decreasing intensity. In the first months, the East German military even tried to repair some of the damages done by the "wall peckers". Gradually these attempts ceased, and guards became more lax, tolerating the increasing demolitions and "unauthorised" border crossing through the holes. On June 13, 1990, the official dismantling of the Wall by the East German military began in Bernauer Straße. On July 1, the day East Germany adopted the West German currency, all border controls ceased, although the inter-German border had become meaningless for some time before that. The dismantling continued to be carried out by military units (after unification under the Bundeswehr) and lasted until November 1991. Only a few short sections and watchtowers were left standing as memorials.
    The fall of the Wall was the first step toward German reunification, which was formally concluded on October 3, 1990.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Berlin_...e_Fall.2C_1989



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    Confused. The Cold War came to a sudden end. I knew Germans had been fleeing the country via Hungary & there were demonstrations against the government in East Germany - something odd. But it was unexpected. The DDR decided to open their border with the West & within a few months communist fell everywhere except in the Soviet Union. The other shoe dropped in the late summer of 1991 when the Soviet military attempted a coup against Gorbachev, taking him & his family captive at their Black Sea villa. Boris Yeltsin lead a counter-movement in Moscow, the coup collapsed & the Soviet Union came to an end. One of the oddest events in my lifetime.

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    I was born a few days after it fell, so it interests me greatly.
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    I was doing German studies in high school in 1979, and we knew the country as FRG and GDR. Who would've thought only 10 years later they would bring the Berlin wall down, Pink Floyd would play there etc? I was 25 at the time, and I was always troubled by the divide - especially for those on the East side who tried to escape - and hopeful for a reunification of Germany.
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    Good to see German history interests people on this site.

    I was 13 and leaving in East Berlin. First I was happy. Then I was p*ssed off because many foreigners came to see the event. It was bloody chaos. Traffic jam. Crowds. Drunken idiots. Noise. Fireworks. No thorough checking for documents. The East German currency became worthless. The West Germans gave us money to survive. Oh well. People got rid of all East German products, even the good ones because of their exaggerated paranoia. It was the start of a new beginning. I was happy cause the hell was over but soon another hell would begin. This Federal Republic which betrays all German principles.

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    i was only 6 months old when it came down so never realy saw anything myself, heard alot about it from my parents and familly but cant realy get a feeling about it as i never saw it live with my own eyes..

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    Even though, I have never left North America, I remember the big media circus surrounding the "Fall of the Berlin Wall" & I believe that Pink Floyd's Roger Waters performed at the sight a year later, playing "The Wall" album in it's entirety, as well as all of the interviews with Ronald Reagan, George H. Bush, Mikhail Gorbachev, Jimmy Carter, and Margaret Thatcher all over CNN.

    Berlin Wall History: Escape Attempts to the West

    In 1946, one year after the end of the World War II the Soviet Military administration begun to safeguard the demarcation lines of the Soviet sectors to the West.

    Traveling between all sectors of Germany was restricted and an "Interzonenpass" (Inter-zone passport) was required to travel from one sector to another. The Interzonenpass was 30 days valid and travellers had to apply for that pass at the authorities which could refuse the application. Crossing the border between East and West Germany without permission was possible but became more and more dangerous.
    Thousands of East German citizen had escaped to the West over the borders between East and West Germany, East Germany and Berlin and within Berlin.

    On May 26, 1952 the East German government decided to close the border and to build up a frontier area between East and West Germany and between West Berlin and East Germany.
    After May 26, 1952 there was only one quite safe way to escape to the West: Berlin.
    Although many border crossing points were closed in Berlin and controls at the border happened, it was quite easy to leave the Eastern sector of Berlin to the Western sector. Many East German citizen went to Berlin, bought a S-Bahn (suburban train) or U-Bahn (subway) ticket and left East Berlin.

    On August 13, 1961 the East German government decided to close the 'last gap' in the border to West Berlin and the Berlin Wall was build up.
    East German citizen were not allowed to leave the country without permission.
    However, during the first days many people could escape through the border but day by day it became more dangerous.
    At the beginning people tried to climb over the Wall or the fences, they jumped out of the houses which were in the border area or tunnels were build to escape. During the first days several people lost their live or were killed by the Eastern border guard .
    Günter Litwin was the first victim who was shot down by East German border guard in Berlin on August 24, 1961.

    171 people were killed or died attempting to escape at the Berlin Wall between August 13, 1961 and November 9, 1989.

    Retrieved From:http://www.dailysoft.com/berlinwall/history/escape.htm


    The Tenth Anniversary Of The Fall
    Berlin Red City Hall 1999
    From left to right:
    Helmut Kohl, George Bush, Eberhard Diepgen, Michael Gorbachev




    http://www.dailysoft.com/berlinwall/...1999_en-07.htm
    Attached Images Attached Images  
    Last edited by frippardthree; Friday, February 19th, 2010 at 06:28 AM. Reason: Added Two More Images!

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    I was 43 at the time, and as an Englishman and a National Socialist I was delighted. Many years before, I had gone through "Checkpoint Charlie" on a coach for a day tour of East Berlin and thus was able to see at first hand the remarkable contrast between the two halves of the city.

    I am glad that it is a united city once more, but I am really sad that it now has so many non-Germans. On my most recent visit, in 2002, I was accosted by a young girl in Alexander Platz who pushed a small card, with a message in German written on it, into my face. I pretended that I did not understand German, but she immediately flipped the card over to reveal the same message written in English and which was that she was a refugee from Bosnia and had a large family to support. Needless to say, I just walked away from her.

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    I remember little of it. Alto one thing I remember from all surrounding it, was the return of a cosmonaut that went up before the fall of the wall and came back after it. Or maybe that was in relation with the fall of the USSR. Do not remember precisely anymore.
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