The fall of the Berlin Wall, 30 years later

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PLEASE NOTE: This guide was originally written in French. If you are using the English version of our site, you will see an automatic translation. You can change the language from the menu in the site header or see our English language guides here.

On the night of November 9-10, 1989, Germany was the center of attention around the world. Indeed, it was that night that the 3-meter-high and 155-km-long wall that had divided the city of Berlin for 28 years was destroyed. Look at a product of the Cold War and a symbol of the division of the world into two blocks.
 

On the night of November 9-10, 1989, Germany was the center of attention around the world. Indeed, it was that night that the 3-meter-high and 155-km-long wall that had divided the city of Berlin for 28 years was destroyed. The fall of the wall was therefore orchestrated, during major demonstrations, by the Germans in the eastern part.

It should be understood that after the defeat of Germany in WWII, the winners took possession of the country, which ended up being divided into two sections: the West, occupied by the United States and the East, by the Soviet Union. A wall was erected in 1961 to prevent people in the East, wanting to escape poor conditions, from going to the West where life was better. And November 9, 1989 marked the end of this divide, which is still a very strong symbol today.

"The fall of the Wall and the Iron Curtain which divided post-war Europe had given rise, at the time, to hope for an era of detente and unity, of disarmament, the extension everywhere of the model of liberal democracies. . But the tide seems to have turned today. "

Source: La Presse, November 4, 2019

The construction of the Berlin Wall took place in the context of the Cold War by opposing the blocks of the East (United States) and the West (USSR). The United States and the USSR, after their post-war alliance, have opposing ideologies. So for 40 years, on both sides, there is a threat of nuclear attack. The fall of the Berlin Wall comes as the USSR breaks up and the political, economic and military institutions of the East disappear.

“The disappearance of the Eastern bloc cannot be explained solely by the coming to power of Gorbachev and the reforms he instituted. The transformation of the balance of power throughout the period of the Cold War, from the Marshall Plan to the resignation of Gorbachev, must be taken into account in order to understand the speed with which the Berlin Wall is falling. "

Source: PFEQ, History of the 20th century

Take a look at this infographic from Journal of Montreal with the students who informs us about the protection devices of the wall and how the flight of illegal immigrants was orchestrated.

Click on the picture to zoom

Also watch this video which demonstrates in 5 key moments the events leading up to the construction and subsequent fall of the Berlin Wall.

Your challenge

Watch this update capsule which popularizes information on the fall of the Berlin Wall. Then answer these questions:

  • Why a wall?
  • How was the fall of the wall orchestrated?
 

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