On the fateful evening of November 9 1989, an East German government official announced a piece of news. He firmly stated, ahead of time, that citizens would be able to pass freely from East to West.
East Germans wasted no time in rushing to the iconic wall, where they were welcomed by the West. Celebration and Euphoria filled the night as the political division between the Communist and Free Germany came tumbling down.
An eventful evening
Today, on the 30 Anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall, Germany and the world will remember the eventful evening. Thirty years ago, when the momentous night took place, Günter Schabowski was the party boss in East Berlin. The new regulations for free travel had been decided and passed in a note to the spokesman as he gave a press conference. Officials had decided to schedule the change for the next day, giving guards on the Wall sufficient time to prepare. However, events did not go to plan. Schabowski read the note and, having received no further instruction, stated that the changes would take immediate effect.
Upon hearing the news, Germans swarmed to the Berlin Wall demanding the guards open the gates. The oblivious guards resisted, but weren’t able to contain the masses. When they finally were told about the change, checkpoints were opened and people trampled through. On the other side, the East was warmly greeted by the westerners, who were waiting with flowers and champagne as they rejoiced.
Now, three decades later, the wall still signifies an important part of Germany’s past and present. As the reunification took place, many East Germans were disappointed as they found the readjustment hard. The 17 million from the East were suddenly pushed into the world of Capitalism and a new order. They were allowed to buy property but had no money to do so, their factories were shut down and many of their qualifications were rendered invalid.
On the 30 Anniversary, many believe Germany still remains divided by a deep-rooted inequality. After the reunification, the East felt dispirited by their precarious economic situation. Thirty years after, the powerful German economy has raised both the West and the East. But there are still big differences between the two sides of the country.
There are clear disparities in politics, economy and culture. Lower political representation, stereotypes and lower salaries, are just some of the issues that plague the East. The younger generations are starting to notice, even though many don’t remember times before the fall of the Berlin Wall.
A conversation has been started by Germans is constantly growing stronger. People are finally standing up to their warped past and want things to change. With only 38 per cent of East Germans believing the reunification succeeded, they have turned to new political groups in the search for change. Seeing that the traditional parties haven’t been able to make things equal in 30 years, they are looking for another avenue.