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davmor1973 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The Berlin Wall officially fell on November 9, 1989, having divided the western and eastern parts of the city for twenty-eight years. The ruling Communist party in East Germany, like others in the Eastern Bloc, was under increasing pressure for reform. The official Soviet policy of glasnost, or openness, inevitably trickled down to the USSR's satellite states, influencing their own domestic policies. Initially, the GDR's rulers resisted the Soviet example, but once the genie had been let out of the bottle, there was to be no putting it back.

The pressure for change, both internally and externally, proved irresistible, so the East German authorities relented, allowing people to pass back and forth between East and West Berlin without let or hindrance. Immediately, the Berlin Wall, a hated symbol of Communist oppression, became obsolete. In an almost carnival atmosphere, people from both sides of the divide started taking picks and hammers to the wall, beginning the process of its eventual destruction.