21 years of freedom
On 9 November 1989 Berliners began hacking into the wall that had divided their city since 1961 (erected because, between 1949 and 1961, more than 2.6 million East Germans escaped to West Berlin from a total population of 17 million!) The East German military officially began dismantling the wall in June the following year. On 1 July the Democratic Republic adopted the Federal Republic’s currency, with Unification concluded in October 1990.
Thatcher tries to keep the wall
In September 1989 Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher had pleaded with Soviet President Gorbachov to do all in his power to prevent the wall falling.
"We do not want a united Germany. This would lead to a change to postwar borders and we cannot allow that because such a development would undermine the stability of the whole international situation and could endanger our security".
9 November was chosen as the day demolition would commence because it marked the anniversary of Kristallnacht, in many ways one of historical triggers that would, ultimately, lead to partition between East and West. On November 9 1938 the Nazi Party in Germany orchestrated a pogrom against the Jewish minority, encouraging wholescale looting of Jewish-owned business and burning of synagogues. 91 Jews were lynched and around 30,000 deported to concentration camps (below).