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The November 9, 1989 breach and subsequent fall of the Berlin Wall precipitated monumental changes in world affairs. The first and most immediate consequence or outcome of the wall's fall was the reunification of Germany, divided into sectors at the close of World War II by the victorious Allied powers, the United States, the Soviet Union, France and Great Britain. As a reunified nation soon to be free of occupying Russian armored divisions, and controlled by seemingly omnipresent secret police organizations, the residents of the east were finally free to participate in political and economic decisions directly affecting their own futures. In addition, the wall's collapse signaled a sudden and long-sought opportunity by citizens of Poland, Hungary, and Czechoslavakia (soon to break apart itself) to enjoy the freedoms of movement and speech long denied them.
Another major outcome of the fall of the Berlin Wall was the dissolution of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics and the end of the Cold War. Two years would go by between the fall of the wall and official dissolution of the Soviet Union, marking the end of the Cold War, but these developments would not have occurred absent Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev's acquiesence in the overwhelming desire of millions of residents of the captive nations to flee the physical and mental constraints under which they lived for over 40 years -- constraints symbolized and enforced by the Berlin Wall's existence.
A third major outcome of the Berlin Wall's fall was the transition of the global structure away from the bipolar system resulting from the Cold War alliances dividing Europe into a much more loosely structured system characterized by multiple centers of power, including the rise of China as a major force in world affairs and the formation of the European Union to compete with the previous global economic dominance of the United States and as a means of preventing the rise of the very international disputes that gave rise to two world wars in the first half of the 20th Century. While the threat of a major nuclear war between the United States and the former Soviet Union has diminished, however, the fall of the wall and the consequent end of the Cold War have also removed the inherently stabilizing system that was characteristic of the bipolar structure of the Cold War era. Rather than having two major powers facing each other across an imaginary line separating East from West, there are now many avenues through which catastrophic developments can occur -- avenues previously kept in check by U.S. and Soviet dominance.
These, then, are three major outcomes of the fall of the Berlin Wall.
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