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The Fall of the Berlin Wall

The Fall of the Berlin Wall - How Did it Actually Happen?

The Berlin Wall was a symbol of the Cold War, and moreover of the suppression of human rights by the Eastern bloc. What caused the Berlin Wall to fall? When did it fall? Read on to find the answers.
Historyplex Staff
Last Updated: Sep 29, 2018
Berlin wall Germany
The Berlin Wall divided West Berlin from the German Democratic Republic. It was a barrier between the eastern and western Germany for 28 years and one day.
Berlin destroyed wall
Through the 28 years, it stood as a symbol of the Iron Curtain, a conceptual as well as physical boundary that divided Europe. It stood there from the end of the Second World War up to the end of the Cold War. Why did the Berlin Wall fall and when?
The year 1989 witnessed the fall of the Berlin Wall. It was on August 23, 1989 that Hungary removed its border restrictions with Austria. In September, thousands of tourists from East Germany moved to Austria. In October 1989, people started demonstrating against the government of East Germany.
Erich Honecker who was leading East Germany for a long time till then, resigned on October 18, 1989. Soon, there was an increase in the number of protesters who wanted to move to West Germany. There was also a significant rise in the number of refugees leaving for the West.
Egon Krenz, who had taken Erich Honecker's position after his resignation, decided that the refugees be allowed to exit through the crossing points between East and West Germany. The ministry decided to permit private travel between East and West Germany. The new rules were going to be implemented from November 10, 1989.
Gunter Schabowski, the minister of propaganda of East Germany, who was to announce the new regulations, was out on a holiday during the period of the creation of new rules. On November 9, 1989, the day of the conference in which he was supposed to declare the new rules, he was handed a note.
It said that the new regulations should be put into effect from the day that would follow. However, Schabowski proclaimed that the new rules would be put into effect immediately.
On listening to Schabowski's announcement over media, huge crowds began to gather at the checkpoints of the wall to enter into West Berlin. Unable to take any action against the swarms of East Germans, the border guards opened the checkpoints, allowing the migrants to enter West Germany.
Long Berlin Wall
November 9, 1989 was the day the Berlin wall fell, giving way for the reunification of Germany.