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30 Years After The Berlin Wall Fell, Here Are Some Of The Most Powerful Moments In Pictures

Its been three decades since the Berlin Wall was dismantled.

The fall of the Berlin Wall was significant for both Germany and the world. It came to symbolise not only the separation of a nation, but the ideological and political differences between the eastern and western spheres of the globe.

The wall came to emphasise the differences between people, but when it came down on November 9, 1989, people across the globe were inspired to hope for a future of unity and peace.

Rise Of The Berlin Wall

German citizens woke on August 13, 1961 to find a makeshift barrier between the east and the west sectors of Berlin and the wider nation.

Following the German loss in the Second World War, both the city of Berlin and Germany as a whole was divided into four sectors that would each be controlled by one of four Allied members. England, France and America bought their democratic rule to their areas, while the Soviet Union enforced their communism.

Between 1945 and 1961, nearly 3.5 million East Germans fled to the West. This became known as the 'brain drain' where primarily young and educated East Germans left seeking more opportunities and freedoms..

The Wall was built to stop East Germans from leaving the Russian sector.

The preliminary parts of the Berlin Wall were erected almost overnight. At about midnight on the 13th o August, army officers from the East rolled kilometres of barbed wire across the city and parts of the countryside. This evening became known as 'Stacheldrahtsonntag' or 'barbed wire Sunday'.

A woman from West Berlin hands something across the wire to the East in 1961. Image: AAP.
Families from West Berlin wave at their relatives in East Berlin at Gleimtunnel in 1961. Image: AAP.
Men from West Berlin look across Berlin Wall in 1964. Image: AAP.
The front section of houses in Bernauer Straße in Berlin. The houses, which were positioned right next to the border between East and West Berlin, were torn down. Image: AAP.
Groups of citizens from West Berlin watch the construction of the Berlin Wall in a street in Berlin-Neukoelln in 1961. Image: AAP.
The Berlin Wall
A car with Soviet officers is insulted by people from West Berlin at the border crossing-point Friedrichstraße. Image: AAP.
Strengthening The Berlin Wall

The initial barbed wire barrier between East and West Berlin was strengthened between 1961 and 1980. The fall was developed into a nearly impregnable concrete structure that encircled West Berlin.

The wall came to feature guard towers, mental mesh fences, light trips, dogs and buckers. A section, known as the 'death strip' had sand and gravel, rendering footprints easy to notice.

The Wall in both Berlin and between the larger border between East and West Germany were heavily guarded by East German border guards, who were authorised to shoot to kill if they noticed anyone trying to escape.

At least 138 people were killed trying to breach the wall between East and West Berlin in the 28 years it stood.

The Berlin Wall
East German government ordered construction work to strengthen the border crossing at Heinrich-Heine-Strasse. Image: Getty Images.
Reinforcing mats with razor-sharp thorns complete the area around the Berlin Wall in 1980. Image: AAP.

U.S. Presidents In BerlinU.S. Presidents John F. Kennedy and Ronald Reagan both visited West Berlin while in office.

Kennedy delivered his famous 'Ich Bin Ein Berliner' address in West Berlin on June 26, 1963. The speech is widely regarded as one of the most iconic Cold War speeches. Kennedy used his address to solidify the U.S. commitment to West Berlin and slam human rights violations by the Russian Government in the East.

Reagan gave his speech, made famous for the line 'Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall' at the Brandenberg Gate on June 12, 1987. Reagan called for the Soviet General Secretary, Mikhail Gorbachev to open the border between East and West Berlin and called for openness and unity in the city.

JFK West Berlin
President Kennedy as he rides through street with West Berlin Mayor Willy Brandt and West German Chancellor Konrad AdenauerImage: Getty Images.
Ronald Reagan Berlin
Ronald Reagan calls on Russia to tear down the Berlin Wall in 1987. Image: Getty Images.
Fall Of The Wall And Aftermath

The fall of the Berlin Wall on the 9th of November, 1989 was triggered by a simple, yet vital, public relations blunder.

Socialist Party Chief of Berlin, Günter Schabowski, held a press conference on the evening of November 9th to announce that travel restrictions for East German citizens would be relaxed. The conference was broadcast live on both East and West German television.

While these measures were to come into effect the next day on the 10th, Schabowski hadn't been briefed properly and was unaware of this fact.

When a West German journalist asked him when the measures would come into force, he said they were effective immediately. This resulted in hundreds of East and West Germans flocking to the wall to break through.

East and West Berliners climb on the wall on November 9, 1989. Image: Reuters.
The Berlin Wall
East German border guards stand on top of the Berlin Wall in front of the Brandenburg Gate, after removing Berliners from the wall. Image: AAP.
The Berlin Wall
Germans celebrating the opening of the border between East and West Germany on the Berlin Wall. Image: AAP.
The Berlin Wall
East and West German citizens celebrate as they climb the Berlin Wall at the Brandenburg Gate. Image: Reuters.
The Berlin Wall
Berliners celebrate on top of the wall as East Germans flood through the dismantled Berlin Wall into West Berlin. Image: AAP.
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Crowds applaud as a couple from the GDR hugs each other after crossing the sector border between East and West Berlin. Image: AAP.
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East Berliners cross and meet West Berliners at Potsdamer Platz on November 12, 1989. Image: Reuters.
East German border guards are seen through a gap in the Berlin Wall after demonstrators pulled down a segment of the wall. Image: AAP.
The Berlin Wall
GDR border soldiers remove parts of the Berlin Wall in Potsdam Square, Berlin, November 12th, 1989. Image: AAP.
30th Anniversary Festival In Berlin

A week-long festival was held in Berlin to celebrate the 30th anniversary of the fall of Berlin Wall. Starting on November 4, hundreds of events were hosted in the city to reflect on the time since German reunification.

Performances, art installations and debates were held throughout the week, so citizens could mark and participate in the anniversary.

A series of photos remembering the people who died trying to escape the East were put on display at Bernauer Street.  A 30,000 ribbon wave hung near the Brandenburg Gate, each ribbon with a message of hope for the country as it moves forward.

Forums were also held to examine the successes and failures of reunification, so a better future for all Germans is kept front of mind.

A memorial to people who died trying to breach the Berlin Wall at Bernauer Strasse. Image: Getty Images.
'Visions in Motion' made of 30.000 ribbons with written wishes of 30.000 people at Brandenburg Gate. Image: Reuters.
An art installation 'Visions in Motion' at Brandenburg Gate in Berlin. Image: Reuters.
Historic pictures and symbols are projected on the buildings at Alexanderplatz on the first day of events celebrating the 30th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall. Image: Getty Images.
Blue lights float on the Spree River at the Oberbaumbrücke symbolising the former borderline between East and West Berlin. Image: Getty Images.
A sign reading: "Attention! you are now leaving West Berlin" is projected on a stretch of the Berlin wall at the East-side Gallery. Image: Getty Images.
The Berlin Wall In Modern Germany

The Berlin Wall, though decades old, still forms a significant part of the landscape in Germany's capital.

Tourists flock from all over the world to admire the artwork at the East Side Gallery or to visit Checkpoint Charlie -- a major crossing point between the East and West.

There's also a brick line throughout the city that marks the former position of the wall. Each day pedestrians cross over the line with a freedom that was once unimaginable.

The Berlin Wall
A pedestrian walks across a brick line marking the position of the former Berlin Wall dividing East and West Germany. Image: AAP.
The East Side Gallery in Berlin. Image: Getty Images.
Checkpoint Charlie
Tourists stand in front of Checkpoint Charlie, the former border crossing between West and East Berlin. Image: Getty Images.
The Berlin Wall
Visitors snap photos at a preserved portion of the Berlin Wall at Bernauer Strasse. Image: Getty Images.

Contact Siobhan at skenna@networkten.com.au