Why visit Berlin for the anniversary?
There are obvious reasons for history groups to visit around this time. But it will also be a great time to visit for German groups, as they’ll have the opportunity to experience and better understand German culture and the effects that being divided had on German society.
The Fall of the Wall began on 9th November 1989. Political upheaval in Eastern Europe had led to somewhat of an exodus as East Germans fled the country through the ‘back door’ as Hungary and then Czechoslovakia opened their borders. These developments forced the East German government to lift some of the restrictions on travel to West Germany.
At a press conference to announce these changes, East German spokesman Günter Schabowski, who had not been included in the meeting to discuss the new arrangements, mistakenly confirmed that East Germans would immediately be able to travel into West Germany.
This mistake was then inaccurately reported by the media, saying that the border had opened. Crowds quickly began to gather at checkpoints on both sides of the Wall, eventually overwhelming border security, who gave up trying to perform passport checks and allowed people to cross the border freely.
As the East Germans reached West Berlin, they were greeted with flowers, champagne and wild celebrations, including dancing on top of the Wall.
This was the first step towards German reunification.