Photo story

8 Photos Of The Fall Of The Berlin Wall

  • Press Conference 9 November 1989

    9 November 1989, an announcement is made that every citizen of German Democratic Republic can now travel to the West.

    In 1989, political changes in Eastern Europe and civil unrest within Germany put increased pressure on the East German government to make reforms to some of its policies.  On 9 November 1989, government spokesman Gunter Schabowski announced at a press conference that every citizen of East Germany would be allowed to travel to the West, effective immediately.  He failed to clarify that some travel regulations would remain in place and that applications for travel would still need to be made.

    Image - Socialist Unity Party (SED) press conference, 9 November 1989. Bundesarchiv, Bild 183-1989-1109-030 / Lehmann, Thomas / CC-BY-SA.

  • Crowds gather

    People began to gather in huge numbers on both sides of the Berlin Wall.
    People began to gather in huge numbers on both sides of the Berlin Wall.
    HU 101403

    After the press conference, the West German media incorrectly reported that the border was open. People began to gather in huge numbers on both sides of the Berlin Wall.

    Image © Crown copyright IWM (HU 101403)

  • Breaking through the barriers

    In this photo East German guards struggle to restrain a crowd of East Berliners at one of the checkpoints along the Berlin Wall.
    In this photo East German guards struggle to restrain a crowd of East Berliners at one of the checkpoints along the Berlin Wall.
    CT 1494

    In this photograph, East German guards struggle to restrain a crowd of East Berliners at one of the checkpoints along the Berlin Wall. At 11.30pm on 9 November 1989, a rush on the Bornholmer Strasse checkpoint led border guards to abandon passport checks and let people through en masse. As the night wore on, crowds at other checkpoints were also let through in large numbers.

    Image © Crown copyright IWM (CT 1494)

  • Moving more freely

    Soldiers and civilians celebrate the opening of the Berlin Wall.
    Soldiers and civilians celebrate the opening of the Berlin Wall.
    HU 101402

    For the first time in 28 years, East Berliners could move more freely into West Berlin.

    Image © Crown copyright IWM (HU 101402)

  • Celebrations along the Wall

    East and West Germans celebrate on a section of the Berlin Wall in front of the Brandenburg Gate.
    East and West Germans celebrate on a section of the Berlin Wall in front of the Brandenburg Gate.
    HU 73009

    Celebrations broke out all along the Wall. In this photograph, East and West Germans celebrate on a section of the Berlin Wall in front of the Brandenburg Gate.

    Image © Crown copyright IWM (HU 73009)

  • Taking a souvenir

    A child using a hammer and chisel to remove a piece of the Berlin Wall after its opening.
    A child using a hammer and chisel to remove a piece of the Berlin Wall after its opening.
    CT 1493

    Over the next two years souvenir hunters, nicknamed 'wall peckers', chipped away pieces of the Berlin Wall.

    Image © Crown copyright IWM (CT 1493)

  • Breaking down the Wall

    A man demolishing part of the Berlin Wall.
    A man demolishing part of the Berlin Wall.
    CT 2230

    Official demolition did not begin until June 1990, but by then large sections had already been damaged or removed. In this photograph, a man chips away at the Wall in January 1990.

    Image © Crown copyright IWM (CT 2230)

  • The Berlin Wall 1961 - 1989

    A section of the Berlin Wall in front of the Brandenburg Gate in early 1990.
    A section of the Berlin Wall in front of the Brandenburg Gate in early 1990.
    CT 1492

    The fall of the Berlin Wall was the first step towards German reunification on 3 October 1990.

    Image © Crown copyright IWM (CT 1492)