German Reunification: Taking a Visual Journey into The Past

Fireworks at Brandenburg Gate after the reunification on October 3rd, 1990.

Today is the day when in 1990 East & West Germany officially reunited after spending over 40 years as two separate countries.

The two states were formed after the World War II, after the Soviet occupation of East Germany. They reunited in 1990 after the East Germany, formally known as the German Democratic Republic, held its first open elections and started negotiations with the West Germany, or the Federal Republic of Germany, about reuniting. However, practically the country become one when the wall came down.

The Berlin Wall, a guarded concrete barrier built by the East German authorities to seal off East Berlin, is the best-known symbol of the division. It was demolished in 1989. On November 9th, 1989 at 7PM, East German official Günter Schabowski addressed journalists at a press conference which would later become world famous.

The East German government had revised one of its new travel laws. German Democratic Republic (GDR) citizens could now travel to West Berlin without having to meet the former strict requirements. Thousands of East Berliners nonetheless flocked towards the Berlin wall and at 11.30 pm, Stasi officer Harald Jäger was forced to open the Bornholmer Strasse crossing, allowing citizens into West Berlin.

It was a historic event for the whole world to witness,  after 28 years, the Berlin Wall had fallen. Here we have collected some historic photographs to live through this nostalgic journey

A car rides between U.S. tanks, in October 1961, across the famous border of the American sector in Berlin, at Checkpoint Charlie crossing point, the only one in the Berlin Wall between East (Soviet sector) and West Berlin (American sector) used only by diplomats and foreigners. Photo by AFP

The picture was taken on April 29, 1984, of the Berlin Wall and the no man's landmarking the border between East (Soviet sector) and West Berlin (American sector). Photo by AFP

A couple crosses the Invalidenstrasse checkpoint by bicycle on Nov. 10, 1989, to take a look at West Berlin, as German police officers watch the flow of people going to West Berlin. Photo by AFP

Two West German police officers prevent people from approaching as East German police stand on and near a fallen portion of the Berlin Wall on Nov. 11, 1989. Photo by AFP

East and West German police contain the crowd of East Berliners flowing through the recent opening made in the Berlin Wall at Potsdamer Square, on Nov. 12, 1989. Photo by AFP

Berliners confront the East German police officers atop the Berlin Wall on early Nov. 11, 1989, near the Potsdamer Square. Photo by AFP

A Berliner holds up a hammer and a chisel early on Nov. 15, 1989, in front of the Berlin Wall during a demonstration. Photo by AFP

Young West Berliners, perched on top of the Berlin Wall, remove a piece of it, on Nov. 16, 1989, in Berlin. Photo by AFP

People from East Germany greet citizens of West Germany at the Brandenburg Gate in Berlin on Dec. 22, 1989. Photo by AFP 
Several thousand people rally against German reunification on the Alexander Platz in former East Berlin on Oct. 3, 1990. Photo by AFP


Left to right: Foreign ministers of West Germany Hans-Dietrich Genscher, of the U.S. James Baker, of Poland Krzysztof Skubiszewski, of France Roland Dumas, of Soviet Union Eduard Shevardnadze, of Great Britain Douglas Hurd, and of East Germany Markus Meckel pose for a picture during the conference on German reunification on July 17, 1990, in Paris. Photo by AFP

Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev (C) smiles while joining foreign ministers Roland Dumas of France (second left), Eduard Shevardnadze of Soviet Union (third left), U.S. Secretary of State James Baker (behind Gorbachev), East German Prime Minister Lothar de Maiziere (second right), West German Foreign Minister Hans-Dietrich Genscher (behind de Maiziere) and British Foreign Secretary Douglas Hurd (right) on Sept. 12, 1990, in Moscow after the signing of the treaty on German reunification. The date for German reunification was set on Oct. 3, 1990. Photo by AFP

Berliner youths wave German flags as they celebrate the country's reunification at the Brandenburg Gate in Berlin on Oct. 3, 1990. Photo by AFP

Several thousand of Berliner youths stage a rally on Oct. 3, 1990, at Alexander Platz in East Berlin against the country's reunification chanting "Shut your mouth Germany, that's enough." Photo by AFP

Berliners wave German flags during the celebration of the country's reunification at the Brandenburg Gate in Berlin on Oct. 3, 1990. Photo by AFP

A portrait of a victim of the Berlin Wall is attached to a cross at a memorial dedicated to the 1,065 people who lost their lives trying to cross the wall that separated Communist East Berlin from west Berlin from 1961 to 1989, at Checkpoint Charlie in Berlin on April 11, 2005. Photo by AFP

Tourists cross the old line of the Berlin Wall near Checkpoint Charlie in central Berlin, on Nov. 7, 2009. Photo by AFP

Fireworks light up the sky during a concert to celebrate the Day of the German Reunification (Tag der Deutschen Einheit) in front of the Reichstag building, the seat of the German lower house of Parliament (Bundestag), in Berlin on Oct. 3, 2015. Photo by AFP

By Raymond E. Scipio

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