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5 - The fall

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  The opening of the Wall

Meanwhile, the pace had hotted up. In response to a call by the Artists’ Union and Neue Forum, a demonstration on 4th November on the Alexanderplatz brought out nearly a million people, who whistled at the SED representatives and called for basic freedoms. Four days later, the party leaders resigned en bloc. But they tried to avoid the collapse of East Germany, by satisfying one of the demonstrators’ main demands, the right to move around freely.

For this reason, on 9th November, at 18.57 hours, GŁnter Schabowski, head of the Berlin SED and an influential member of the outgoing Politburo, announced to bemused journalists that the Council of Ministers had just decided to allow East Germans to move freely into West Germany. And he added that the measure was to take effect " immediately ". The news spread like wildfire throughout the city and the country. In the following hours, East German citizens in their thousands flocked to the crossing points between the two Berlins. Not having received precise instructions, the guards let them through. After 10 315 days in existence, the Wall had virtually come down, even though it would take another few months to remove it physically. The blows from picks at the Wall, the symbol of the division of Europe into two contending blocs, heralded the final collapse of communism which took place two years later with the break-up of the Soviet Union.

 

The crossing points taken by storm
The crossing points taken by storm

The Wall had virtually come down
The Wall had virtually come down

The Wall comes down
The Wall comes down

 

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