20 Years: The Fall of the Berlin Wall

Discussion in 'OFF-Topic / Misc.' started by DerAdlerIstGelandet, Nov 9, 2009.

  1. DerAdlerIstGelandet

    DerAdlerIstGelandet Der Crew Chief
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    Been watching this live on TV today. Big festivities going on with live music, politicians from all over the world, and hundreds of thousands of people from all over the world. Pretty neat actually. I really liked the thousands of "wall" domino's that they have been toppling all around the city. I wish I could have made it up to Berlin for this.

    Leaders hail Wall fall, vow to topple new barriers

    By Knut Engelmann Knut Engelmann – 3 mins ago

    BERLIN (Reuters) – Chancellor Angela Merkel and other leaders hailed the human courage that toppled the Berlin Wall, saying the historic events of 20 years ago showed the world could tackle new challenges, from poverty to climate change.

    Merkel and fellow leaders from Britain, France and Russia spoke to tens of thousands gathered at the Brandenburg Gate to celebrate the anniversary of the collapse of the Wall, which ended the Cold War and paved the way for German reunification.

    "Together we brought down the Iron Curtain and I am convinced this can give us the strength for the 21st century," said Merkel, who grew up behind the Wall herself in communist East Germany.

    "Our good fortune obliges us to take on the challenges of our time," she added, mentioning security, economic well-being and protection of the environment as key tasks confronting the world.

    The spirit of celebration was dampened somewhat Monday by a steady downpour, which forced spectators gathered around the illuminated Brandenburg Gate to cover themselves with plastic rain coats and umbrellas.

    French President Nicolas Sarkozy said the fall of the Wall was a liberation, but also a call to nations to "fight against repression, to fight against the walls that still exist in our world and which still divide cities, regions and nations."

    His Russian counterpart Dmitry Medvedev said the confrontation of the Cold War was in the past and urged the building of a "new, better world" and a common battle against economic crisis, crime, terrorism and poverty.

    After the leaders spoke, they watched the symbolic toppling of a chain of giant brightly colored dominoes set up along a 1.5 km (0.9 mile) stretch where the Wall once stood and where Berliners from East and West celebrated on November 9, 1989.

    DEADLY BARRIER

    Backed by the Soviet Union, the East German government began erecting its "anti-fascist protection barrier" in the early hours of August 13, 1961, to end a mass flight of its citizens into capitalist West Berlin.

    Initially a makeshift fence of barbed wire, it was gradually built up into an imposing 156-km (97-mile) barrier that encircled the three western sectors of the city and was patrolled by guards who were ordered to shoot anyone who tried to escape.

    According to a study published this year, at least 136 people were killed at the Berlin Wall between 1961 and 1989 while trying to flee.

    But not a single shot was fired when the Wall fell and the night turned into a giant city-wide party with easterners roaming the streets of West Berlin in disbelief and residents from both sides of the Wall embracing each other impulsively.

    (Writing by Noah Barkin, editing by Mark Trevelyan)


    Leaders hail Wall fall, vow to topple new barriers - Yahoo! News

    Clinton praises Germany on Berlin Wall tour

    By MATTHEW LEE, Associated Press Writer Matthew Lee, Associated Press Writer – Mon Nov 9, 7:24 am ET

    BERLIN – U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton congratulated Germans on the 20-year anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall at a meeting Monday with Angela Merkel, Germany's first chancellor from the former communist East.

    "I am delighted to be here in Berlin, the city that meant so much, not only to the German people, but to the European and the American people and the world," Clinton said at the Chancellory.

    "I congratulate the chancellor, not only on the very well deserved occasion here, but on the work that she and her government are doing here. It is an honor to be representing the United States."

    At the U.S. Embassy next to the Brandenburg Gate, Clinton told embassy staffers, "It is such a great personal privilege to be joined with the German people and people throughout Europe and the world to celebrate this occasion."

    "Now, we have to turn our attention to the challenges of the 21st century," she said. "A wall, a physical wall, may have come down but there are other walls that exist that we have to overcome and we will be working together to accomplish that."

    Later, Clinton walked through the historic gate to inspect one of a thousand giant Styrofoam dominos that have been set up along the route of the wall to be toppled in a giant chain later Monday, symbolizing the collapse of the East-West division.

    Clinton met with students from a high school located in what was once East Berlin who created the domino with help from the U.S. Embassy. She looked on approvingly as the students explained the meaning of the painted design, a pile of packed luggage behind an old East German Trabant car heading out of darkness toward sunshine and a rainbow with a white dove overhead.

    "It's a new beginning," one student told her.

    "I think it's very clever, with the packed bags, the baggage ... very impressive," Clinton replied. "The light breaking through the dark."

    The secretary, however, was able to admire only one side of the domino.

    U.S. officials had discretely placed a sign declaring the embassy's sponsorship of the project in front of the domino's other side, which featured the ample, naked back side of a female "Angel of Hope."

    Crowds gathered at the gate in the dreary weather clamored for a glimpse of Clinton who smiled and waved as she toured another dozen or so dominos set up along the route of the former wall.

    Twenty years after the collapse of the wall that divided East and West Berlin, Clinton said Sunday at an earlier event, the hard work that went into ending the Cold War must be channeled to meet fresh challenges, including the fights against extremism and climate change.

    As the Obama administration looks to often reluctant European allies to bolster their NATO forces in Afghanistan, Clinton said Monday's commemoration of Nov. 9, 1989, the night "when history pierced the concrete and concertina wire," must look forward and not back.

    "Our history did not end the night the wall came down, it began anew," she told a group of U.S. and European dignitaries while accepting a Freedom Award on behalf of the American people from The Atlantic Council, a group that promotes trans-Atlantic ties.

    Clinton praised U.S.-European collaboration on ending the world financial crisis as well as steps to cooperate on global warming. She also hailed NATO security operations, from Afghanistan to fighting piracy off the coast of Somalia.

    But she said the spirit of the Berlin Wall's destruction — the symbolic end to the Cold War — had to be reinforced.


    Clinton praises Germany on Berlin Wall tour - Yahoo! News
     
  2. DerAdlerIstGelandet

    DerAdlerIstGelandet Der Crew Chief
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    Merkel thanks Gorbachev on Berlin Wall anniversary

    By KIRSTEN GRIESHABER, Associated Press Writer Kirsten Grieshaber, Associated Press Writer – 2 hrs 23 mins ago

    BERLIN – Chancellor Angela Merkel and former Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev crossed a former fortified border on Monday to cheers of "Gorby! Gorby!" as a throng of grateful Germans recalled the night 20 years ago that the Berlin Wall gave way to their desire for freedom and unity.

    Within hours of a confused announcement on Nov. 9, 1989 that East Germany was lifting travel restrictions, hundreds of people streamed into the enclave that was West Berlin, marking a pivotal moment in the collapse of communism in Europe.

    Merkel, who grew up in East Germany and was one of thousands to cross that night, recalled that "before the joy of freedom came, many people suffered."

    She lauded Gorbachev, with whom she shared an umbrella amid a crush of hundreds, eager for a glimpse of the man many still consider a hero for his role in pushing reform in the Soviet Union.

    "We always knew that something had to happen there so that more could change here," she said.

    "You made this possible — you courageously let things happen, and that was much more than we could expect," she told Gorbachev in front of several hundred people gathered in light drizzle on the bridge over railway lines.

    Tears sprang to the eyes of Uwe Kross, a 65-year-old retiree, who recalled seeing the start of the drama on Nov. 9, 1989 from his home, a block away from the bridge.

    "That night, you couldn't stop people," Kross said. "They lifted the barrier and everyone poured through.

    "We saw it first on TV, normally it was very quiet up here, but that night we could hear the footsteps of those crossing, tap, tap, tap."

    Kross was among those who crossed early on — so early that nobody was yet waiting on the other side when they reached the West. He recalled hopping on the first subway to then-West Berlin's main boulevard, the Kurfuerstendamm.

    "All hell was breaking loose there," Kross said.

    Merkel also welcomed Poland's 1980s pro-democracy leader, Lech Walesa, to the former crossing Monday, saying that his Solidarity movement provided "incredible encouragement" to East Germans.

    The leaders were joined by prominent former East Germans such as Joachim Gauck, an ex-pastor who later oversaw the archives of East Germany's secret police, the Stasi.

    "Those in government thought they were opening a valve, but once it was open much more happened," Gauck said of the border opening. "A collapse followed."

    The bridge crossing was one of a series of events marking Monday's anniversary of the border's opening after the wall kept East German citizens penned in for 28 years.

    Music from Bon Jovi and Beethoven was to recall the joy of the border's opening, which led to German reunification less than a year later and the swift demolition of most of the wall — which snaked for 96 miles (155 kilometers) around West Berlin, a capitalist enclave deep inside East Germany.

    Memorials were held for the 136 people killed trying to cross the border. Candles were lit and 1,000 towering plastic foam dominoes placed along the wall's route to be tipped over later Monday, much like the collapse of communism in the wake of the Berlin Wall's opening.

    The organizer of the dominoes, Moritz van Duelmen, director of Kulturprojekte Berlin, said the idea was to "make history according to the domino theory."

    Also in Berlin for the ceremonies were the leaders of all 27 European Union countries and Russian President Dmitry Medvedev.

    The wall's opening came hours after a botched announcement by a senior communist official on a cold, wet night in 1989.

    At the end of a plodding news conference, Politburo spokesman Guenter Schabowski offhandedly said East Germany was lifting restrictions on travel across its border with West Germany.

    Pressed on when the regulation would take effect, he looked down at his notes and stammered: "As far as I know, this enters into force ... this is immediately, without delay."

    Schabowski has said he didn't know that the change wasn't supposed to be announced until the following morning.

    East Berliners streamed toward border crossings. Facing huge crowds and lacking instructions from above, border guards opened the gates — and the wall was on its way into history.

    Merkel said she was among the East Germans who, hearing Schabowski's words, thought "something might happen on the evening of Nov. 9." Like many others, she made her way across.

    By the Brandenburg Gate, the symbol of Germany's division and then of its reunification, which for nearly three decades stood just behind the wall in no man's land, Dieter Mohnka, 74, and his wife Helga, 71, shared a bowl of French fries on Monday afternoon and recalled the night the wall was opened.

    "We were shocked when we heard that announced, simply astounded," said Helga. "The next morning we went straight to visit my aunt in the West."

    Dieter, a high school teacher at the time, said he had long been fascinated with West Germany.

    "I was born in East Germany, I went to school in East Germany. I was supposed to teach the kids about the wonderfulness of the East, when I was secretly watching TV from the West," he said.

    "This is not just a day of celebration for Germans," Merkel said. "This is a day of celebration for the whole of Europe; this is a day of celebration for all those people who have more freedom."


    Merkel thanks Gorbachev on Berlin Wall anniversary - Yahoo! News
     
  3. v2

    v2 Well-Known Member

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    was a great day... 20 years ago... realy great! :salute:
     
  4. comiso90

    comiso90 Active Member

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    Amazing time
     
  5. DerAdlerIstGelandet

    DerAdlerIstGelandet Der Crew Chief
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    I was there when the wall fell. That was an amazing time.
     
  6. Gnomey

    Gnomey World Travelling Doctor
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    Amazing time, does not seem like it was 20 years ago (at least to me).
     
  7. ToughOmbre

    ToughOmbre Active Member

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    I must be getting old. I remember when the wall went up!

    TO
     
  8. Trebor

    Trebor Well-Known Member

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    so was I (I was only 3 at the time, and not in Berlin) but that truly is one of the greatest days in history :)
     
  9. pbfoot

    pbfoot Active Member

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    Ditto
     
  10. wheelsup_cavu

    wheelsup_cavu Well-Known Member

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    The Berlin wall coming down was one of those things you thought you would never see in your lifetime.
    The wall was there and it was always going to be there, or so it seemed.


    Wheels
     
  11. Erich

    Erich the old Sage
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    I remember when the stupid thing was put up and east German guards in position thinking no way anyone would be silly enough to try and climb or get through the wall...........pretty shakey days back then, still are. some triumph now at this; we need more of this. think of the German youth involved in the festivities knowing really absolutely nothing of the past except via b/w pics and horror stories from Dad/Mom, better yet Opa/Oma...........

    characteristic of most of us interested in Ww2.
     
  12. DerAdlerIstGelandet

    DerAdlerIstGelandet Der Crew Chief
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    You are correct there Erich.

    On a side note, I remember going to East Berlin on several occasions years before the wall came down. I still have my old passport with the Check Point Charlie and the DDR stamps in them. It really was like crossing into another world. It is amazing how a city could be split like that and have two totally different identities, but still be the same people. I remember waking up on the Duty Train taking us though East Germany on the way to Berlin, getting to the border crossing (West Germany to East Germany) and seeing the Russian and East German soldiers. This stuff I will always remember.

    [​IMG]

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    [​IMG]
     
  13. Amsel

    Amsel Active Member

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    It was one of the greatest events in recent history. I will always remember those days before and after the wall came down. I still have a piece of the East German wall on a plaque.

    "Gorbachev, tear down this wall!"
     
  14. DerAdlerIstGelandet

    DerAdlerIstGelandet Der Crew Chief
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    #14 DerAdlerIstGelandet, Nov 9, 2009
    Last edited: Nov 9, 2009
    Probably the most famous speech Reagan ever did. I remember watching it live.


    View: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YtYdjbpBk6A

    And the news flash announcing the fall of the wall.


    View: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jnCPdLlUgvo

    Other video:


    View: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=snsdDb7KDkg


    View: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3dUw0TXDCus


    View: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OyaaqwUs90E

    Here is video of part of the celebrations that happened tonight.


    View: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YARS8033gp0
     
  15. Vassili Zaitzev

    Vassili Zaitzev Well-Known Member

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    I wasn't alive during the Berlin Wall, but I'm sure it was amazing when it was taken down!
     
  16. RabidAlien

    RabidAlien Active Member

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    I remember the speech and the Wall coming down. I was only 15 at the time, so I didn't pay much attention, although I did get the feeling that something historic had happened. Man....its been that long already???
     
  17. vikingBerserker

    vikingBerserker Well-Known Member

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    That was pretty cool and I rmember it well. There is a German Plant in my town that has 2 slabs from the wall on display in ftont of thier facility.
     
  18. drgondog

    drgondog Well-Known Member

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    It was all grand - and Merkel payed zero respect to Reagan.. and Obama inflicted Hillary on Germany for this grand day.
     
  19. Lucky13

    Lucky13 Forum Mascot

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    Remember it like yesterday, was 20 then....so wish that I was there I remember as well!
     
  20. DerAdlerIstGelandet

    DerAdlerIstGelandet Der Crew Chief
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    Actually she did. She personally flew to the United States and spoke to the US people in front of Congress. She personally thanked the American people and said that her country will always be greatful and never forget the the United States contribution to the fall of the wall. In her speech in Berlin she also personally mentioined the American people as well. If Reagan were alive, he certainly would have been invited and been there.

    I do however agree that Hillary should not have been there. Obama should have been there instead.
     
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