|Tearing down the Berlin Wall|
Nonviolent demonstrations throughout East Germany in the months preceding the announcement in the video below laid the groundwork for a nonviolent transition:
Protest demonstrations broke out all over East Germany in September 1989. Initially, protesters were mostly people wanting to leave to the West, chanting "Wir wollen raus!" ("We want out!"). Then protestors began to chant "Wir bleiben hier", ("We're staying here!"). This was the start of what East Germans generally call the "Peaceful Revolution" of late 1989. The protest demonstrations grew considerably by early November. The movement neared its height on 4 November when half a million people gathered at the Alexanderplatz demonstration, a rally for change in East Berlin's large public square and transportation hub.
The announcement by Günter Schabowski, the Communist party boss in East Berlin and the spokesman for the SED Politburo, that Germans would be able to leave their country via border crossing points is anti-climactic but nonetheless historic marking the day the Berlin Wall began to be physically torn down.
Scores of Germans died trying to cross the Berlin Wall from the totalitarian East to the democratic West all the way through 1989.
One of the last victims, Chris Gueffroy was just 19 years old when he was shot dead on February 5, 1989 trying to cross the Berlin Wall. Not even twenty years old and murdered for wanting to live in freedom.
The end of the Berlin Wall was not inevitable and it took the courage and persistence of many Eastern Europeans to achieve it. Even today in places like Cuba there are Walls that have been built that need to be torn down. It is for this reason that November 9, 1989 is a date that friends of freedom should always remember.