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Monday, November 10, 2014

25th Anniversary of Fall of the Berlin Wall

 More than a million Germans and people from around the world gathered in Berlin on the weekend to celebrate the the 25th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall.

The celebrations included the release of 7,000 illuminated helium balloons strung along a 15 kilometer (9 mile)  section of the former wall, which had served as a border between East and West Germany until November 9th, 1989 when the walls came tumbling down. 

Berlin Wall Built (1961
In August 1961, East German troops began to build a wall to create a border between East and West Berlin.  The 12 foot high wall eventually continued for 66 miles along with an extra 41 miles of barbed wire  fence. It separated families and towns that had always been part of a unified Germany. 
No one one either side of the wall was allowed to cross to the other side without the permission of the East German government.  Armed guards along the wall prevented any East Germans from escaping over the wall. Over the years  many people died while they were trying to cross the wall.  

Fall of the Berlin  Wall 
In 1989, more than 13,000 people in East Germany managed to escape through Hungary. They later went to West Germany and protested against the East German government. That sparked a protest within East Germany, known as “The Peaceful Revolution.” 
After several weeks of civil unrest, on November 9th, 1989, the the East German government announced that all GDR citizens could visit West Germany and West Berlin. Crowds of East Germans crossed and climbed onto  the wall, joined by West Germans on the other side in a celebratory

25th Anniversary Celebrations
At the 25th anniversary ceremony, German Chancellor Angela Merkel said the fall of the Berlin Wall sent, “a message of hope and that dreams can come true. Nothing has to stay as it is, even if it’s difficult.”

Most of the wall is now gone, but 2.2 kilometres of it still stands  as a monument in Germany. Some parts of the wall were sent to other countries, such as the United Nations in New York, as a monument.

Divisions still exist
But 25 years after the Berlin Wall crumbled, divisions between countries persist and there are fears of new psychological barriers replacing the physical ones. 

Watch the video as many times as you need to. Then, answer the following questions

Comprehension Questions  

1. What happened in  East Germany after the fall of the Berlin wall? 2. What happened in   
     the Soviet Union? 
3. How many people lined up at McDonalds?  
4. What happened after the final euphoria died down?  How were things different?  
5. What could America have done? What did it do? 
6. What caused increasing distrust of the west? 
7. What was the disapproval rating of the U.S. in 1991?     What is it now? Why?
8. What  is replacing the sale of American t shirts and sweatshirts in Moscow these days?  Why? 
9. What new "barriers" may be built soon?

To learn more about the story of the Berlin wall watch the following videos: 


1 comment:

  1. Hi Michelle, I am trying to play the videos, but an ad states that it is private. I'd like to share this activity with my students. How can I unblock the videos? Thanks


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