Germany: Fall Of The Berlin Wall

In November, 1989, the Berlin Wall fell, bringing the rise of European democritization.

In November, 1989, East Germany and West Germany met as a single, free nation. Waves of democratization had been sweeping Europe, toppling Communist governments and, where Communism still existed, the governments became distinctly more liberal. In 1990 the bastion of Communism, Russia herself, became the subject of an anti-Communist coup led by Yeltsin.

In 1949, the Soviets closed all roads into Berlin (since Berlin was in East Germany, they had the power to do so) and declared that they would stop any and all convoys into West Germany, forcing the populace into starvation""or forcing the Allies to relinquish control of all Berlin to the Soviets. Truman made the famed decision to send food""by plane. The famous Berlin airdrops fed an entire city""several million people""for several weeks until the Soviets finally gave in and allowed convoys to enter West Berlin. Afterwards, seeing that they couldn't have all of Berlin, the Soviets walled off their sector, building the infamous Berlin Wall and Brandenburg Gate. The Brandenburg Gate was the main gate in the wall and was 25 lanes across. Travel was tightly restricted and all who tried to pass over the wall were shot. Hundreds died trying to breath the air of Liberty.

In the intervening 40 years, the Berlin Wall became a symbol of infamy and hatred. It was also the symbol of a government power's ability to restrict, or annihilate, the freedoms of a populace. Ronald Reagan is famous for saying "Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall!" Nonetheless, it would be several more years before this terrible wall would be torn down.

When Gorbachev came to power in 1985 he initiated the policy of perestroika""a new economic and distribution system. This represented the most liberalization that the Soviets had ever seen. Then the shocker came""glasnost""the allowance for people to criticize the government. It was only a matter of time from here until Communism fell and the Soviet Union was destroyed. Latvia, Estonia, and Lithuania declared their independence. Next it was the turn of the satellites in East Europe. In Poland, Solidarity gained enough power that the Soviets agreed to share power and hold free elections. In April, 1989 Solidarity won 96 of the 100 senate seats.

Eventually Hungary's Communist government also fell. They opened their borders to allow East Germans to cross from East to West. The President of East Germany resigned as did the entire Politburo. The new President promised eased travel restrictions. The Brandenburg gate was abandoned and the millions of people, armed with hammers, picks, cranes, and jackhammers, tore down the Berlin Wall amidst great celebration. West Germany offered 100 D-Marks to all East Germans""three months worth of East German wages. The haunting of the wall and of Communism in general was finally crushed in Europe. Reform moved east and Yeltsin took the reigns of power from Gorbachev in the famous coup of 1990. Finally the world was rid of what Reagan called the "Evil Empire," and freedom and liberty took hold on the world.

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