30 years from the fall of the Berlin Wall

Thirty years on, the fall of the Berlin wall is remembered by many as a victory over what was once believed to be the irreperable divide between the Cold War powers

On 9 November 1989, Germans from both sides of the wall collaborated in an event that shaped European history
On 9 November 1989, Germans from both sides of the wall collaborated in an event that shaped European history

The demolition of the Berlin wall started precisely 30 years ago on 9 November 1989. The event marked the start of a new era in politics on the European stage and was widely covered by the media.

Prime Minister Joseph Muscat reminisced watching Italian television coverage of the monumental event when he was 15 years old. He took to Twitter on Saturday morning, saying that he wondered then was sort of new Germany it would be.

"It was the first EU enlargement eastwards in practice. Changed the lives of so many, undoubtedly for the better," he wrote.

Nationalist Party MEP Roberta Metsola also took to Twitter to write that sections of the former ideological partition remain, "symbols of the cost of freedom and enduring reminders that Europe was never meant to be split." She added that that the fall of the wall was proof of the European Union's success story.

The Berlin wall, a concrete barrier ostensibly splitting Germany (and Berlin) in half, was erected in 1961 and was started by the German Democratic Republic, or East Germany, to protect its population from what they said was the "fascist" west. The eastern bloc was a Soviet zone under the watchful eye of Communist leader Joseph Stalin.

After the second world war, the Soviets had taken advantage of a fractured Germany to indoctrinate the eastern bloc with Marxism-Leninism. Several easterners managed to flee to the western bloc. In time, property and industry in East Germany had become nationalised.

The Soviets had managed to infiltrate all parts of the former German administration in the east and had full control of its functions.

The wall included guard towers along the structure and included a flat bed known as the death strip, where anti-vehicle trenches and other defenses were installed. During the history of the wall, 80 people are believed to have died trying to cross to West Berlin.

In 1989, the communist hold on Poland and Hungary loosened as borders were dismantled and more asylum seekers crossed borders to escape the Soviet regime. By the time the first part of the wall was demolished, Germans on both sides of the wall were joined in collaboration.

East German soldiers were vastly outnumbered and flowers and champagne were passed around as the wall was being destroyed. It took two years for the wall to be declared fallen. Germany was reunified in 1990 and the Soviet Union collapsed in 1991.