Germany marks 30th anniversary of the Berlin Wall’s fall

Germany celebrated on Saturday the 30th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall that divided East and West Germany, with President Frank-Walter Steinmeier thanking Eastern European neighbors for spurring on the peaceful revolution.

The toppling of the wall, which separated the Communist-ruled East from the capitalist West in Berlin for nearly three decades and became a potent symbol of the Cold War, was followed a year later by the reunification of Germany in 1990, Reuters said.

“Together with our friends, we remember with deep gratitude the events 30 years ago,” Steinmeier said during a ceremony at the Bernauer Strasse Berlin Wall Memorial, which was also attended by Chancellor Angela Merkel and heads of state from Poland, Hungary, Slovakia, and the Czech Republic.

“Without the courage and the will to freedom of the Poles and Hungarians, the Czechs and Slovaks, the peaceful revolutions in Eastern Europe and Germany’s reunification would not have been possible,” Steinmeier said.

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During the ceremony, Steinmeier and the presidents of the four Eastern European nations placed roses in a small gap in the remains of the wall at the memorial.

In August 1989, Hungarian border guards for the first time allowed people from East Germany to cross freely into Austria, paving the way for the fall of the Berlin Wall three months later and with it the end of the Iron Curtain.

Steinmeier said, however, that the historic event did not mark the “end of history” as U.S. historian Francis Fukuyama stated. The struggle of political systems continues and the future is more uncertain than ever before, he added.

“Liberal democracy is being challenged and questioned,” Steinmeier said, calling on Germany and its European allies to keep fighting for a peaceful and united Europe.

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