Fall of the Berlin Wall, 1989. Part of a public photo documentation wall at Former Check Point Charlie, Berlin. Unknown photographer; reproduction by Lear 21. [GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html), CC-BY-SA-3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/) or CC-BY-SA-2.5-2.0-1.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.5-2.0-1.0)]. Available from Wikimedia Commons.
Today is the 25th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall, which surrounded East Berlin from 1961 to 1989.
During a press conference on 9 November 1989,Günter Schabowski, a member of the Politburo of the Socialist Unity Party of Germany, read a note which stated that East Germans would be allowed to cross the border (including the border with West Berlin) with proper permission. The regulations were supposed to take effect the following day, so that there would be time to inform the border guards. However, Schabowski had not been informed of this fact; he assumed that the regulations were to take effect immediately. Thousands of people went to the Berlin Wall's six border crossings.Some people began to chip away at the wall with hammers and picks. At 11:30 PM, Harald Jäger, the officer in charge of the Bornholmer Straße border crossing, opened the gates. He gave the order because he was concerned that people might be injured or killed. Heinz Schafer, an East German Stasi officer, claims that he was the first person to open the border gates; he opened the border crossing at Waltersdorf between 8:30 PM and 9:00 PM.
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