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Germany celebrates 30 years since fall of Berlin Wall


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It's been thirty years since one of the significant events of the 20th century occurred.  It may be more significant for those who identify as "cold warriors" (e.g. old farts who served in Germany) than for the younger crowd.

This from DW is almost a stream of consciousness blog about the activities happening today in Berlin.  Some of the notes made me chuckle, but fondly reminded me of the times.

+++ Germany celebrates 30 years since fall of Berlin Wall — live updates +++

Nationwide celebrations have kicked off in Germany to mark 30 years since the Berlin Wall fell. The event shows that "no wall ... is so high and so wide that it cannot be broken through," said Chancellor Angela Merkel.

—    Germans mark the 30th anniversary of the fall of Berlin Wall with rallies, memorials and exhibitions

—    Leaders of Slovakia, Poland, Czech Republic and Hungary lay roses at a Wall memorial

—    Youths from all over Europe share their perspective on the continent's future in Berlin

All updates in Coordinated Universal Time (UTC/GMT)

17:19 Still no sign of US actor and sometime singer David Hasselhoff so here's a reminder of his iconic appearance in Berlin on new year's eve, just weeks after the wall came down.

16:46 US President Donald Trump has weighed in on proceedings as he praised Germans on the "tremendous strides that have been made in reuniting their country and in rebuilding the former East Germany."

Trump's statement continued: "The eyes of the world watched as a generation of East Germans reclaimed their God-given liberties with each successive swing of their hammers."

He added that for decades East German propaganda "touted the existence of a thriving workers' paradise on their side of the wall. Yet the dilapidated apartments and depleted grocery stores told a different story."

Trump also echoed the sentiments of his Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo, as the president sent a warning to regimes that try to limit freedom. "Let the fate of the Berlin Wall be a lesson to oppressive regimes and rulers everywhere: No Iron Curtain can ever contain the iron will of a people resolved to be free."

16:05 The Slovakian President, Zuzana Caputova has tweeted a photo of her placing a flower in Berlin, and expressed her gratitude to President Steinmeier, as well as extolling the virtues of freedom: "Fall of Berlin Wall together with the revolutionary changes in V4 is a fascinating story of desire for freedom and democracy. Glad to commemorate it together. Thank you President Steinmeier for hosting us in Berlin today."

15:00 UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has tweeted his take on proceedings, along with a photo of a section of the wall that is outside the organization's HQ in New York. He posted: "This segment of the Berlin Wall in our NY Headquarters is a daily reminder of the artificial divisions sometimes created to separate us — but also of our power to dismantle them and create a better world, together."

14:53 German rock star Udo Lindenberg, once banned by GDR authorities, said that the events of November 9, 1989, were "the best party of [his] lifetime."

"Germany became wider, I'm still as happy as if it were yesterday," he wrote on Twitter. He also spoke to DW ahead of today's commemorations.

14:36 The outgoing EU Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker described the fall of the Wall as a "peaceful revolution" which was pushed through by people who "risked their own freedom to achieve freedom for all."

"Instead of suffering history, these people made history," he said.

14:02 French President Emmanuel Macron praised the people who pushed for the end of Germany's divide.

"The Berlin Wall did not fall 30 years ago," Macron said in a tweet published in French and German. "It was brought down by bravery of thousands of people who desired freedom, paving the way to German reunification and European unity. Let us also be brave and worthy of their expectations."

13:55 "East Germans brought about the end of the former East Germany. They courageously stood up for democracy and then essentially had to restart their lives in a reunited Germany, and their accomplishments have still not received the recognition they deserve," says DW Editor-in-Chief Ines Pohl in her opinion piece on the fall of the Berlin Wall. "Now this willful ignorance is coming back to haunt us."

13:24 Speaking to DW from Berlin, Istanbul mayor and opposition leader Ekrem Imamoglu warned against political polarization.

"Walls do not always have to be physical," he said. "They are not necessarily made out of concrete and iron bars. Sometimes, two people can stand side by side an insurmountable wall exists between them."

13:14 Locals are now lighting candles at the Berlin Wall memorial in Bernauer Strasse, after German leaders and foreign guests attended a ceremony at the site.

12:56 A convoy of Trabants, iconic East German cars, rumbled through Berlin on Saturday in honor of the wall's destruction 30 years ago. When the GDR officials opened the gates, East Berliners rushed through the gates on foot and in their Trabis and Wartburgs.

12:45 The events marking the fall of the Wall and reunification go beyond the once-divided city of Berlin. In Leipzig, authorities staged an exhibition dubbed "Point of No Return" to show how East German artists saw the great transformation unleashed by the events of 1989.

12:01 Thousands of people rushed to the West when the GDR authorities first opened the gates 30 years ago, and many more followed in the decades afterwards to find work in the richer German states. Today, the former East Germany is facing a shrinking population. DW's Carl Nasman reports from the town of Eisenhüttenstadt.

11:45 Italian President Sergio Mattarella described the fall of the Berlin Wall as the "dawn of freedom and the start of a new road of history for Germany, the entire continent and the entire world."

"A Europe without walls of division and without hatred is a great opportunity for the citizens to be masters of their own destiny," Mattarella said.

10:48 The fall of the Wall shows there no excuse not to fight for freedom, according to Chancellor Merkel.

"We want to ensure that no wall will separate people ever again," Merkel said in a speech. "It proves that no wall that segregates people and limits freedom is so high and so wide that it could not be broken through."

10:45 Merkel said that just months before the fall of the Wall "nobody would believe it was even possible."

"I remember those who were killed at this wall because they were seeking liberty," she said from Berlin's historic Chapel of Reconciliation.

10:37 Young people from various European countries speak of the future of Europe at Berlin's Chapel of Reconciliation, with German leaders in attendance.

10:25 German Chancellor Angela Merkel, who grew up in East Germany, is meeting and greeting the public while taking part at a Berlin memorial event.

10:17 German President Steinmeier praised Eastern European countries for their struggle against the Iron Curtain.

"Without the courage and the desire for freedom of the Poles, the Hungarians, the Czechs, and the Slovaks, the peaceful revolution and the German unification would not be possible," Steinmeier said in a brief address.

10:15 President Steinmeier, Chancellor Angela Merkel, Bundestag Speaker Wolfgang Schäuble, and many other laid roses at the Berlin Wall memorial to commemorate victims of the GDR terror. At least 136 people were killed trying to cross over to the West.

10:06 The foreign ministers of Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania said the fall of the Berlin Wall brought back hope to Germans, but also to all of people suffering behind the Iron Curtain.

"It signified the collapse of the Evil Empire in the most direct and decisive way — it was the beginning of the end of communist tyranny in Europe," they said in a joint statement.

09:40 German Chancellor Angela Merkel says it might take more than 50 years to complete the unification process between the East and the West Germany.

"In some issues, where it was believed that everything will be the same in the East and the West, today we see that that it will likely take half a century or longer," she told the Süddeutsche Zeitung.

09:15 The fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989 was an earth-shattering event for Germany and Europe. Read how our reporters  Hardy Graupner and Uwe Hessler, who lived in East Berlin at the time, remember covering the day and facing a new world.

08:57 On his website, President Steinmeier invited Germans to share their personal stories of the fall of the Berlin Wall.

08:30 German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier welcomed the leaders of Visegrad countries (Poland, Slovakia, the Czech Republic, and Hungary) in Berlin on Saturday, kicking off the day of celebrations across Germany.

I note that there is no reference to Putin making any congratulatory comment, but that may be hoping too much; it may still be a sore point for him.
Blackadder1916 said:
...I note that there is no reference to Putin making any congratulatory comment, but that may be hoping too much; it may still be a sore point for him.

On the plus side, President Trump seems to have gotten over the fact that Germany “didn’t help us in WWII...” :nod:
Nov. 10, 1989, telegram from UK NATO delegation to Foreign and Commonwealth Office on discussion at NATO Political Committee--note Canadian offer in para. 9 to house refugees at Canadian Forces's bases:



From twitter: