Fall of the Berlin Wall

By the end of the 1980s, the Soviet Union was beginning to crumble.  Its economy weakened by decades of military spending helped push reforms in the Soviet Union by Mikhail Gorbachev, the Soviet Premier.

RIA Novosti archive, CC-BY-SA 3.0
via Wikimedia Commons
In 1986, Gorbachev introduced two reforms to the Soviet Union: Glasnost and Perestroika. Glasnost meant "openness" and it was a policy that allowed for greater freedoms for people living in the Soviet Union, such as more ability to speak out against the government. Perestroika was a policy of reforms, to bring about changes in the Soviet system.

Soviet satellite states began to push away from Moscow by opening up borders to western Europe for the very first time.

On November 9, 1989, the border between East and West Berlin was open.  Crowds of people took to the wall and began climbing and chipping away at this potent symbol of the Cold War. Soon, tens of thousands of people descended upon the wall and there was nothing that East German authorities could do as the people demanded that the wall come down.


By 1990, the wall was physically demolished and Germany was reunified in October.

The Fall of the Berlin Wall
(Creative Commons 3.0)