I meant to post this yesterday, but Germany celebrated 24 years since the fall of the Berlin Wall yesterday!
One of the more poignant and recognizable features of Berlin, and the Berlin Wall, is the Brandenburg Gate. I’ve had the opportunity to go to Berlin a few times in the past 5 years and I always take a new picture of the Brandenburg Gate. The Berlin Wall ran right next to the Brandenburg Gate and divided the city of Berlin for almost 30 years. During the fall of the wall, the gate was one of the more iconic images on the news. JFK and Reagan both gave famous political speeches in front of the Brandenburg Gate.
I always get chills when reading about the fall of the Berlin Wall because it happened by accident. Facing heightened protests and pressures from outside countries, the East German government agreed to relax the travel restrictions and slowly open the checkpoints between East and West Germany to allow movement between the two countries. However, this was supposed to be a slow process and wasn’t meant to reunify the countries: the two countries were still meant to be separate with an opening of borders.
Unfortunately, the East German government rushed to get the proposals in place and the spokesperson who was meant to give the address wasn’t fully briefed. He received a note that outlined the changes but gave no additional information. They changes were supposed to take effect the next day in order to give the border guards time to hear of the changes. However, when the spokesperson was asked at the press conference when the changes would go into effect, he stated, “immediately…without delay.” Once this news reached the East German citizens, they began flooding to the gates in Berlin and the border guards were overwhelmed with the vast amounts of people. That evening, around 10:45 pm, the checkpoints were open and the citizens of East and West Germany were reunited.
24 years later and it is amazing to see the world power that Germany has become in less than a quarter of a century. Also, the rebuilding of Berlin as a city has been amazing to watch. Every time I go to the city, I feel like I am visiting someplace new! If you’ve never been to Berlin, I would HIGHLY recommend it. The amount of culture, history, architecture, etc all in one city is breath-taking.