Berlin had been politically divided since the end of World War II, with the eastern portion of the city serving as the capitol of German Democratic Republic. The two parts of the city were physically divided in 1961 with the construction of the Berlin Wall, the most visible expression of the Cold War. When the Berlin Wall was opened on November 9, 1989 it marked for many the symbolic end of that war.
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To find the cause of the fall of the Berlin Wall, one must look, not in Germany, but in the Soviet Union. The change began when Mikhail Gorbachev came to power in the Soviet Union in 1985. He tried to make changes in the state bureaucracy and in the Communist party by restructuring the economys production and distribution system, a plan now known as perestroika. In addition, Gorbachev also allowed for the policy of glasnost, or public criticism of the communist party. Gorbachevs reform contributed to the breakup of the centralized structure of the USSR. During this time some states such as Latvia, Estonia and Lithuania declared their independence. In 1989, Gorbachev shifted his policies toward the satellite states of the communist block in Eastern Europe, including Germany. 
In effect, the politics in Germany also began to lead toward the destruction of the wall. In the fall of 1989, there was an antigovernment demonstration in East Germany. In mid-October 1989, the Politburo forced the resignation of Erich Honecker, the leader of the GDR (German Democratic Republic).  In this way, Erich Honecker was ousted from office, and others soon followed. By the first week of November, the entire Politburo and all of the members of the East German cabinet resigned.  The new Prime minister, Hans Modrow, announced plans to decentralize the economy and an easing of travel restrictions.  This allowed the East Germans, from the communist sector, to cross the boarder into the west, the Allied sector.
At this point, East Germany began to reform. Then on November 9, 1989, the leader of the East Berlin communist party, Gunter Schabowski, announced that the boarder with West Berlin would be opened for "private trips abroad." Masses of people started to use hammers and chisels to knock out pieces of the wall. Shortly thereafter, on November 10, 1989 and later on December 22, 1989 checkpoints were opened at Potsdamer Platz and the Brandenberg Gate. On March 18, 1990, free elections in East Germany took place for the first time in 58 years.  By July 1, 1990, the wall tumbled down and Germany was completely united.  As a result, a massive emigration from East to West began, which has left economic and emotional scars that can only be healed by the hard work and understanding of generations to come. But on the day that the wall fell will stand out in all of history, as a day when friends and family and an entire nation were reunited, while tears of joy were being shed by all.
Brothers and Sisters torn apart
Longed for each other with pain in the heart
Mothers in tears held their arms toward the sky
"Where are my children, who took them and why"
A wall stood between them and gave them no rest
The wall in Berlin, between East and West.
Thousands tried passing, were caught and would fall
She claimed her victims, the cursed wall
But their longing and pain was stronger than fear
As they tried to come home year after year.
Their country divided, that's why they tried
And their hope for reunion never died.
East Germans, West Germans all felt the same
Through tunnels and over the Wall they came.
Many were captured, suffered torture and shame
Still they fought that wall again and again.
At Last their pain gave birth to a cry
"Free us! Unite us! before we all die"
Against their oppressors their outrage they hurled
And their plea found an echo all over the world,
Then they marched, like in battle, with tools in their hand,
And attacked the concrete that divided their land.
Each chip that fell, fell toward victories crown
And they never stopped till the wall was down
Through blood and through tears, through sorrow and strife
East Germany kept her dream alive
And today, 1990, October three
There's no East, there's no West, they are one, they are "Free!"
by Ruth Carlson 1
http://www.swlink.net/~ateo/walllinks.html for other sites
http://www.appropriatesoftware.com/BerlinWall/Images8.html AWESOME PICS!
2. Matthews, Roy T. and Platt, F. DeWitt. The Western Humanities. Mayfield Publishing Company. Mountain View, California, 1995 p. 560-562.
4. Orlow, Dietrich. A History of Modern Germany. Prentice-Hall. New Jersey, 1999.
5. Sullivan, Richard E., Sherman, Dennis and Harrison, John B. A Short History of Western Civilization. McGraw-Hill, Inc. New York, 1994, p755-758.
Edited by: Trishia Parker
Researched by: Emily McCarty
Written by: Emily Falk and Trishia Parker
May 8, 1999
Revised April 2, 2001
Updated January 26, 2003
Text copyright 1996-2003 by David W. Koeller. All rights reserved.