The Berlin Wall - 20 Years Later

 

November 9, 2009 marks the 20th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall. It was an event that led to the collapse of Communism all over Eastern Europe.

The Berlin Wall was a barrier that separated East and West Germany and also split Berlin into two parts.  At the end of World War II Germany was divided into four zones that were controlled by the Allies: Great Britain, France, the United States and the Soviet Union. After the war Communist influence spread throughout Eastern Europe and in 1949 the three western powers put their zones together to form West Germany .The Soviet Union created East Germany. Although Berlin was completely inside the Soviet zone it was also divided into a democratic West Berlin and a communist East Berlin.

As years passed by West Berlin became economically richer and stronger while the people of East Berlin lived in poverty. More and more East Berliners decided to escape to the western part of the city where they hoped for a better life.

The East German had to stop thousands of their own citizens from leaving the country. In 1961 the Communist Party of East Germany constructed a 150 km long wall that led through the city.  In the following decades the wall became a symbol of the Iron Curtain – the line that separated free Europe from the communist satellite states.

On November 9, 1989 the Communist government in East Germany announced that East German citizens could travel to the west without restrictions. At once thousands began to gather at the Brandenburg Gate to celebrate a historic moment. East Berliners stormed through the gate to catch their first glimpse of freedom. During the next few weeks the wall was torn down.

Almost a year later, in October 1990 East and West Germany reunited and became one country again.

 

Germans Standing on the Berlin Wall

Germans standing on the Berlin Wall - in November 1989

 

Related Topics

Words

  • Allies = the countries that defeated Germany in World War II , above all Great Britain, France, The United States and the Soviet Union
  • although = while
  • anniversary = the date on which something important happened years ago
  • announce = to say officially
  • barrier = fence, wall, blockade
  • celebrate = to have fun, have a good time, to enjoy yourself
  • citizen = a person who live sin a country and has rights there
  • collapse = to break down
  • construct = build
  • decade = a period of ten years
  • divide = separate
  • escape = to get away from a dangerous place
  • form = make, create
  • freedom = liberty
  • gather = get together
  • glimpse = a quick view
  • influence = power, control
  • mark = to be a sign of
  • poverty = to be poor
  • restriction =limit
  • reunite = to come together again
  • separate = divide
  • spread = to move from one place to another
  • throughout = all over