- The Berlin Wall was built in 1961 and separated East and West Berlin.
- The wall divided families and took away basic human rights.
- On November 9, 1989, people gathered at the wall to begin tearing it down after it was announced by the East German Communist Party that citizens of the German Democratic Republic could cross the border whenever they pleased.
This week marks the 29th anniversary of the destruction of the Berlin Wall.
Built in 1961, the wall divided 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.
Ahead, see photos from that infamous night and the nights that followed.
(Editor’s Note: Sarah Jacobs contributed to the original version of this report)
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 were forced to open.
Berliners carried hammers and chisels to begin chipping away at the wall.
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Source: Business insider