Free Walking Tour Berlin

When: Every day 10am & 12pm every day
Where: The meeting point is in front of the ehemaliges Kaiserliches Postfuhramt Berlin, Oranienburger Straße, 10117 Berlin, Germany, next to the entrance.
Price: Free

Breaking Down the Fall: How the Berlin Wall Was Destroyed

by | Mar 7, 2024 | Original Berlin

The Rise of the Berlin Wall

On the fateful night of August 13, 1961, the world witnessed the construction of the Berlin Wall—a physical and ideological barrier dividing West and East Berlin. Erected by the German Democratic Republic (GDR), the wall stood as a symbol of the Cold War and the division between capitalist and communist ideologies.

Stretching over 155 kilometers, the Berlin Wall consisted of concrete walls, barbed wire, watchtowers, and a “death strip” filled with mines, searchlights, guard dogs, and armed GDR border guards. Its purpose was to prevent East Germans from fleeing to the more prosperous West.

Tensions and Struggles

For nearly three decades, the Berlin Wall marked a stark contrast between freedom and oppression, democracy and communism. Families were torn apart, dreams shattered, and lives forever changed by this physical manifestation of the political divide.

The wall generated immense resentment and provoked numerous attempts to cross into West Berlin, seeking a better life. Many risked their lives in daring escape attempts, using tunnels, homemade hot air balloons, and even disguises to outsmart the border guards.

The Pressure Mounts

Throughout the 1980s, the global landscape began to shift. Gorbachev’s leadership in the Soviet Union ushered in a period of reform known as glasnost (openness) and perestroika (restructuring), resulting in increased criticism of the East German government.

Rebellion stirred among the East German population, with citizens growing increasingly frustrated with the lack of political freedom, economic opportunities, and access to information. They demanded change and an end to the oppressive regime that had kept them enclosed.

Bridging the Divide

Peaceful Protests

The tide turned on November 9, 1989, when thousands of East Germans began massing at the Berlin Wall, demanding freedom of movement. This gathering was triggered by an unexpected announcement made by Günter Schabowski, a senior East German official.

During a press conference, Schabowski declared that new travel regulations would allow East Germans to visit West Germany. This revelation spread like wildfire, and people began flocking to the border checkpoints, seeking passage to the other side.

Unplanned Eruption

The border guards were ill-equipped to handle the situation, as they had received conflicting instructions on how to deal with the crowds. The situation escalated and, as the pressure mounted, the guards eventually succumbed to the overwhelming tide of people.

At the Bornholmer Strasse checkpoint, border guard Harald Jäger faced an impossible decision. As the crowd’s demands grew louder, Jäger found himself questioning the legitimacy of the orders he had been given. Seeking direction from his superiors, he was met with conflicting responses.

Finally, faced with an untenable situation and without a clear directive, Jäger made a bold and unprecedented decision. He ordered the gates to be opened, allowing the people to pass freely through the border.

A Symbolic Moment

With the gates open, jubilant East Berliners poured into the streets of West Berlin. This historic event symbolized the end of the Cold War era and the reunification of East and West Germany.

The Wall Crumbles

Following the mass exodus and the growing wave of public sentiment, demolition of the Berlin Wall began swiftly. People armed themselves with hammers, chisels, and other tools to physically chip away at the imposing symbol of division and oppression.

Over time, larger sections of the wall were dismantled systematically, and countless individuals and organizations acquired fragments as cherished mementos. This unified effort to erase the physical barrier and reclaim their freedom became an unforgettable moment in history.

The Aftermath

The fall of the Berlin Wall had far-reaching consequences. In the aftermath, Germany underwent a process of reunification, with East and West merging to form a single, democratic nation. The collapse of the wall also served as a catalyst for the broader dissolution of the Soviet Union.

The spirit of unity and resilience displayed by the people of Berlin continues to inspire generations. The Berlin Wall stands today as a powerful symbol of hope, illustrating the undying human desire for freedom and our ability to overcome seemingly insurmountable obstacles.

As we reflect on this monumental moment in history, let us remember the courage of those who fought against oppression and celebrate the triumphs achieved through peaceful determination.

Thank you for reading. If you're inspired by the stories of Berlin and want to delve deeper, why not join us on our Free Berlin Walking Tour? It's a wonderful way to immerse yourself in the city's rich history and vibrant culture. We look forward to welcoming you soon.


  • 3.5 hours walking tour
  • Berlin’s major highlights
  • Brandenburg Gate
  • Reichstag and Berlin Wall
  • Historical sites

Free Walking Tour Berlin

When: Every day 10am & 12pm every day
Where: The meeting point is in front of the ehemaliges Kaiserliches Postfuhramt Berlin, Oranienburger Straße, 10117 Berlin, Germany, next to the entrance.
Price: Free