The Berlin Wall came tumbling down on November 9, 1989, reuniting East and West Germany, and foreshadowing the fall of the Soviet Union.
It stood for 28 years to separate the two sides of Berlin and the two sides of Germany.
The night it fell — by accident — people stormed from East to West Berlin, and photos from that night show gleeful reunions and celebrations.
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The Berlin Wall was built in 1961 to divide East and West Berlin. Constructed by the eastern, Soviet-ruled portion of the city, the wall was meant to keep Western “fascists” from invading the East — but it also served as a barricade to those Easterners attempting to migrate to the West, capitalist territory.
The barbed-wire-topped wall divided families and took away basic human rights, keeping the population of East Berlin trapped inside Soviet territory. At 12 feet tall and 4 feet wide, the wall and its surrounding security systems were known as “The Death Strip,” as nearly 100 people were killed in their attempt to cross its miles of trenches and trip-wire machine guns.
On November 9, 1989, it was announced by the East German Communist Party that citizens of the German Democratic Republic, or East Germany, could cross the border whenever they pleased. That night, mayhem ensued at the border. Many who lived in the East crossed freely to the West for the first time in nearly 30 years, and citizens even began chipping away at the wall.
We’ve compiled Reuters images from that infamous night and the nights that followed as the Berlin Wall finally came crashing down.
SEE ALSO: The Berlin Wall fell 30 years ago. Here’s how people who were there in 1989 remember the historic ‘Mauerfall’ today.
DON’T MISS: The Berlin Wall has been gone longer than it stood. Here’s how the 28-mile blockade looks today compared to 1989.
AND THEN: Pictures show all the surprising places the Berlin Wall ended up around the world
East German soldiers act as a barricade, blocking West Berliners waiting to welcome East Berlin citizens at the Allied guardhouse “Checkpoint Charlie” November 9, 1989.
When the clock struck midnight, all the checkpoints along the wall opened.
Berliners carried hammers and chisels to begin chipping away at the wall.
Both East and West German citizens celebrated as they climbed the wall at the Brandenburg Gate.
While in the past those trying to cross the border would resort to digging tunnels, leaping out of buildings that lined the border, or attempting to drive through, on November 9, West German citizens climbed freely atop the Berlin Wall.
East Germans celebrated as they climbed the Berlin Wall at the Brandenburg Gate.
West Germans applauded as East Berlin citizens traveled through Checkpoint Charlie on the following day, November 10.
There was plenty of celebration as West Berlin citizens welcomed East Germans as they passed the border checkpoint.
People embraced friends they hadn’t seen in years.
West Berlin citizens continued to stand atop the Berlin Wall at the Brandenburg Gate November 10.
Looking out onto a sea of thousands, …read more
Source:: Business Insider – Politics