Thirty years ago, the Berlin Wall fell. And with it began the unravelling of a decades-long Cold War and the end of the segregation of the capital of one of the world’s largest economies.
Before it was broken down by East Berliners, the Wall spanned 96 miles, encircling West Berlin for three decades. Today, bits of it have found their way to over 237 locations in more than 40 countries. Some chunks were bought, some gifted, most memorialised, and all cherished.
Why Was 9 November 1989 Significant?: The Berlin Wall was always more than just a concrete barrier. It was also an ideological division between two world-views that differed on everything from politics to economics.
When the Wall fell in 1989, it united a long-partitioned city. In the months that followed, all of Germany was reunited, communist dictatorships across Eastern Europe fell, the Soviet Union collapsed, and the “Iron Curtain” that for so long threatened the peace of a continent – and the world – disappeared.
Don’t Forget to Remember: After the remarkable events of 1989, people began to talk about the “final victory” of democracy and freedom over totalitarianism, of “the end of history”. That view of history has more less proved to be outdated, or at the very least premature. There remain many autocratic states around the world, and only a little more than half the world population lives in a democracy.
This is why the story of the construction and demolition of the Berlin Wall remains - and should remain - enshrined in collective memory and conscience. And why it’s crucial to never forget what the Wall stood for not too long ago.
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