Germany marks 25th anniversary of fall of the Berlin Wall
Today Germany celebrated the 25th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall. Formal festivities began with a trumpet call this morning, and will continue with the release of 8,000 white balloons into the sky. In addition to these events, chancellor Angela Merkel attended a service for the victims of the communist East German regime, and there will be countless parties held throughout the capital.
Chancellor Angela Merkel lights a candle at the Berlin Wall Memorial at Bernauer Strasse on the 25th anniversary of the fall of the Wall.
[caption width=”290″ caption=”Chancellor Angela Merkel lights a candle at the Berlin Wall Memorial at Bernauer Strasse on the 25th anniversary of the fall of the Wall.
Merkel and other officials laid roses in one of the remaining sections of the wall. Yesterday over 100,000 Berliners and tourists walked along a 15km route in the city centre where the wall once stood, but today was illuminated with thousands of helium balloons perched atop 3.6 metre poles, representing the height of the wall.
The wall was built in 1961 to stop the people of eastern Germany fleeing the communist regime under the Soviet Union to western Germany. At least 136 people were killed trying to flee to West Berlin and many others were imprisoned.
On 9th November 1989, the East German government buckled to the fight for freedom by East Germans against the communist regime, allowing them to finally cross into western Germany. Crowds of Germans from both sides crossed and climbed the wall that day, and over the weeks that followed. People chipped away parts of the wall to create souvenirs to commemorate this triumph of freedom.
Merkel reflected on that day in 1989, recalling an “incredible feeling of happiness” as she celebrated with eastern and western Germans alike, and commented: “It was a night I’ll never forget.”
Mikhail Gorbachev, the former Soviet leader, mentioned in his speech in Berlin yesterday that the tensions over the Ukraine crisis are not dissimilar to those in the era before the wall fell, claiming that “the world is on the brink of a new Cold War”.