Germany marks 30 years of fall of Berlin Wall
November 9, 1989 - November 9, 2009 - Europe marks three decades since the fall of the Berlin Wall on November 9, 1989 -- the epochal event that brought down the Iron Curtain dividing a communist East from a capitalist West, and paving the way for Germany’s reunification in 1990.
The revolution swept away East Germany’s one-party state and its hated Stasi secret police. But reunification also resulted in the mass closure of state farms and factories causing massive job losses.
Now, 30 years later, Germany is witnessing a rise in far-right support. The anti-immigration Alternative for Germany party (AfD) has surged to first place in the former communist east, with 24 per cent support, according to a new Pew Research Center survey. But it has failed to make a similar breakthrough in the former west, where it is in fourth place with just 12 per cent.
Germany’s Foreign Minister Heiko Maas has said the anniversary is a chance to remind Europe why it needs to stay united.
“Saving the euro and the endless disputes about taking in and distributing refugees have opened up new rifts in Europe. With Brexit, we see a country leave the EU for the first time.”
German Chancellor Angela Merkel and President Frank-Walter Steinmeier, joined by their Polish, Czech, Slovak and Hungarian counterparts, will lead official ceremonies. However, leaders from two former Cold War powers -- the United States and Britain -- will be absent from anniversary festivities.