The Fall of the Berlin Wall
By Patrick Mondout
In July 1989, hundreds of East Germans sought refuge at the West German
embassy in Hungary. Hungary allowed these refugees to depart for West
Germany. In October, train loads of East German refugees from West German
embassies in Prague and Warsaw were permitted to pass through East Germany
to the West. Starting in Leipzig, pro-democracy demonstrations spread
throughout East Germany, and East German leader, Erich Honecker, resigned.
The Berlin Wall August 1961) was torn down on November 9, 1989.
Many Communist governments in Eastern Europe collapsed in 1989 and
1990. In December 1989, pro-democracy demonstrations in Czechoslovakia
caused Communist Party leaders to resign, Former dissident Vaclav Havel
became President. At the same time, Romanian leader Nicolae Ceausecu was
overthrown, and on December 25,1989 he was executed by the new government.
The Romanian Communist Party dissolved in 1990. In Poland, the communist
party dissolved in 1990, and Solidarity (a Polish trade union organization
formed in 1980) Leader Lech Walesa became President. In 1990, Hungary held
its first free elections since 1945.
During a conference in Germany entitled On the Front Lines of the
Cold War: The Intelligence War in Berlin, former Ambassador to Germany
(1989-91) Vernon Walters had these words to say. "I had lunch with
the Soviet Ambassador…[on November 1st], here in Berlin, and I said to
him, ‘You want to try and win over the Germans, and you built that wall
that keep husband and wife, and father and mother and children apart.’
He said, ‘That wall serves a useful purpose, and it will be here in a
hundred years.’ I said, ‘Mr. Ambassador, if you really believe that,
you’ve lost contact with reality.’ By this time, there were millions
of people fleeing the DDR [the German Democratic Republic, or East
Germany], coming out through Hungary. The Embassies in Prague and Warsaw
and everywhere else were filled with people. I said, ‘You know, your
party song, the Internationale, says, "the volcano is thundering in
its crater. The final eruption is at hand."’ I said, ‘It is, but
it’s not the one you’re looking for!’"
The 10th Anniversary of the Fall of the Berlin Wall was celebrated in
both Germany and the United States. On November 9, 1999, the U.S. Congress
marked anniversary of with the introduction of a resolution to establish
an international “Freedom Day.” Senator Joe Lieberman (D-CT) announced
the plan from the Senate floor. “The fall of the wall was a transcendent
moment in the struggle against totalitarianism and for democracy, a
smashing victory for the human spirit and the cause of human rights,”
Lieberman said. “So it is only fitting that we choose the anniversary of
this epochal triumph to honor and celebrate freedom's march of progress
across the planet.” The Resolution, in part, read:
Resolved by the House of Representatives (the Senate concurring), That
it is the sense of the Congress that- 1) a Freedom Day should be
celebrated each year in the United States; and (2) the United States
should join with other nations, specifically including those which
liberated themselves to help end the Cold War, to help establish a global
holiday called “Freedom Day.”
the wall comes tumbling down...
East meets West: A crowd
gathers on the West German side of the Berlin Wall
at Potsdamer Platz to watch as the structure is
dismantled. November 14, 1989.
Where Are They Today?
Pieces of the original Berlin Wall are in museums and literally all
over the world. You can find both genuine and fake pieces of it at eBay
(check our links to the right and below).