Fall of the Berlin Wall


Peaceful Revolution

As a new man at the head of the Soviet Union, Mikhail Gorbachev initiated decisive reforms in 1985 with Glasnost (openness) and Perestroika (reconstruction). Encouraged by the changes and disappointed by the immobility of their own leadership, more and more GDR citizens sought refuge in the German embassy in Prague in the summer of 1989 - until the GDR finally allowed a total of 17,000 people to leave. Many more fled via Hungary. In the GDR, opposition movements such as the New Forum emerged to reform the country. At the Monday demonstrations in Leipzig, the slogan "Wir sind das Volk" (We are the people) was used to create a call for freedom. When the SED politician Günter Schabowski announced a new travel regulation on the 9th of November 1989, crowds of people flocked to the border crossings to West Berlin. The overburdened border guards allowed them to pass, the wall had fallen.