The Fall of the Berlin Wall: 30 Years Later

Few expected the Berlin Wall to come down on November 9, 1989, or that it would set off a great tidal wave of change across Germany, Europe, and the world.

AICGS celebrates the thirtieth anniversary of the fall of the Wall with commentaries and analysis looking at events as they unfolded and how we remember them, the impact of a unifying Germany on domestic policies in East and West, the role of the transatlantic partnership, and understanding the divisions today.

Look to the very heart of Europe, to Berlin, and you will see a great truth shining brighter with each passing day: The quest for freedom is stronger than steel, more permanent than concrete.
– George H.W. Bush, November 11, 1989

Project Description

On November 9, 2019, we mark the 30th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall. It was one of the most momentous political developments in a generation—the climax of the peaceful uprising that brought freedom to 17 million East Germans and led to the unification of Germany less than twelve months later. A round anniversary of a joyous event leaves us prone to nostalgia, especially when the images of November 9, 1989, are so easy to recall, with jubilant crowds atop the Berlin Wall, literally surmounting and shattering the edifice of their division and oppression. That is all the more reason to pause and consider the deeper roots and the sacrifice inherent in the toppling of communism in central and eastern Europe in 1989, and why the United States’ relationship with Germany has been central to American goals in Europe and more broadly for seventy years.

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