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 The Fall of the Berlin Wall


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   Heiko Burkhardt
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Fall of the Berlin WallThe fall of the Berlin Wall had begun with the building of the Wall in 1961.
However it took about three decades until the Wall was torn down.
Several times people in the Communist countries rised up against the Communist system but they failed.
The victims of  the uprisings against the Communist dictatorship in Berlin 1953, Budapest 1956 or Prague 1968 will never been forgotten.
In 1989 the first free labor union was founded in the communist Poland. The end of the communist system had begun.
The Soviet Union could control their satellites yet but with the new leader Gorbatshov their politics changed in 1984.
Gorbatshov's reforms, Perestroika and Glasnost should renew the stalinistic system in the Soviet Union but not replace the communist system.
The reforms in the Soviet Union also had its effects on the other communist countries, especially in Poland and Hungary.
On August 23, 1989 Hungary opened the iron curtain to Austria.
Months before East German tourists used their chance to escape to Austria from Hungary  and in September 1989 more than 13 000 East German escaped via Hungary within three days. It was the first mass exodus of East Germans after the erection of the Berlin Wall in 1961.
Mass demonstrations against the government and the system in East Germany begun at the end of September and took until November 1989.
Erich Honecker, East Germany's head of state, had to resign on October 18, 1989.
The new governement prepared a new law to lift the travel restrictions for East German citizen.
At 06.53 pm on November 9, 1989 a member of the new East German government was asked at a press conference when the new East German travel law comes into force.
He answered: "Well, as far as I can see, ... straightaway, immediately."
Thousands of East Berliners  went to the border crossings. At Bornholmer Strasse the people demanded to open the border and at 10.30 pm the border was opened there.
That moment meant the end of the Berlin Wall.
Soon other border crossing points opened the gates to the West
In that night the deadly border was opened by East Germans peacefully.

Bibliography:
The Cold War by Jeremy Isaacs and Taylor Downing
The Berlin Wall by Thomas Fleming
Leipziger Demotagebuch by Wolfgang Schneider
  
External sites:  
  
Chronik der Wende - Chronical about the Fall of the Berlin Wall
  
The Cold War - CNN Interactive's COLD WAR Web site 
 
Ten Years after -The Fall of Communism - Radio Free Europe
 
Fall of Berlin Wall - The Russia Journal

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