On November 9, people gathered at the Brandenburg Gate in Berlin, Germany to celebrate the fall of the Berlin Wall 25 years ago. About 8,000 white-colored balloons were released to the music of Ludwig Van Beethoven’s “Ode to Joy”. The company Google celebrated as well with a Google Doodle that played a video about the wall.
After World War II, Germany was divided into two countries, the German Democratic Republic (East Germany) and the Federal Republic of Germany (West Germany). The city of Berlin (now the capital of Germany) was split between the two new nations. East Berlin was the capital of East Germany. (The capital of West Germany was a city called Bonn.) Berlin was located in the middle of East Germany. Initially, people were allowed to move freely between the two parts of the city of Berlin. However, life in East Germany was much harder and the country’s government was much stricter than West Germany’s. Many East Germans started moving to West Germany through Berlin. To prevent this, in 1961, the government of East Germany put up a barbed wire fence in East Berlin. This fence later became a concrete wall (image) and went around the whole of West Berlin. The total length of the wall was approximately 100 miles (155 km). Many people tried to escape from East Germany to West Germany across the wall. Over the years, a few thousand people did escape. Some people built tunnels under the wall, some people even got on a hot air balloon to cross over.
In 1989, parts of the wall were torn down, and less than a year later, the two Germanies were united back into one. The fall of the Berlin Wall became a very famous incident. Some pieces of the wall can be found in various museums around the world. Most of the wall was removed, but some sections still stand today in Berlin. Many of these sections have art drawn on them by local citizens and various artists from around the globe.
Brandenburg Gate (built in 1791) is a famous landmark of Berlin. When Berlin was split, the Gate was located in East Berlin, and the Berlin Wall ran next to the Gate. In 1987, the American President Ronald Reagan gave a speech at this landmark asking for the Berlin Wall to be torn down.
Germany is famous for its castles, cars, cuckoo clocks, composers, fairy tales, black forest cake, sausages, breads, and much more! What would the world be without Beethoven’s Moonlight Sonata, Symphony No. 9, and Fur Elise. Beethoven, the German composer, has given us beautiful music. The European Union’s anthem is the music of his “Ode to Joy”. Beethoven suffered from deafness, and some of his pieces were written when he could hardly hear. He died in 1827.
Here are videos about the Berlin Wall, the Google Doodle for the anniversary, Beethoven, a flashmob in Hong Kong, China playing “Ode to Joy”, and Reagan’s speech.
Did you know?
The gummy bear candy was invented in Germany by Hans Riegel Sr. in 1922.
Image Credits: http://www.fraunhofer.de for Beethoven’s image, http://www.bundesregierung.de/ for Bradenburg Gate’s images, “selbst fotografiert” Noir for Berlin Wall’s image, Unknown photographer, Reproduction by Lear 21 for the Fall of Berlin Wall’s image
Sources: http://europa.eu/, http://news.discovery.com/, history.com, http://www.lvbeethoven.com/, haribo.bg/en/, http://www.britannica.com/, http://www.berliner-mauer-gedenkstaette.de/, http://www.bundesregierung.de