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This Day in History

World History

Wednesday, June 13, 1990. :   Official demolition of the Berlin Wall begins.

     The Berlin Wall, which stood as a symbol of the Cold War for nearly thirty years, was originally erected overnight on 13 August 1961, when the Eastern and Western halves of Berlin were separated by barbed wire fences up to 1.83 metres high. The barbed wire was gradually replaced with permanent concrete blocks, reaching up to 3.6m high. Ultimately, the wall included over 300 watchtowers, 106km of concrete and 66.5km of wire fencing completely surrounding West Berlin and preventing any access from East Germany.

The wall remained as a barrier between East and West until 1989, when the collapse of communism led to its fall. On 9 November 1989, an international press conference began in East Berlin. Huge demonstrations against political repression had been continuing for months. At the conclusion of the peace conference, greater freedom of travel was announced for people of the German Democratic Republic. At midnight, the East German government allowed gates along the Wall to be opened after hundreds of people converged on crossing points. In the ensuing weeks, many people then took to the wall with hammers and chisels, dismantling it piece by piece.

The official demolition of the Berlin wall began on 13 June 1990, and was undertaken by former East German border guards under a democratically elected government.

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