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Photos from the night the Berlin Wall fell on Nov. 9, 1989

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  • The Berlin Wall came tumbling down on November 9, 1989, reuniting East and West Germany, and foreshadowing the fall of the Soviet Union.
  • It stood for 28 years to separate the two sides of Berlin and the two sides of Germany.
  • The night it fell — by accident — people stormed from East to West Berlin, and photos from that night show gleeful reunions and celebrations.
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The Berlin Wall was built in 1961 to divide East and West Berlin. Constructed by the eastern, Soviet-ruled portion of the city, the wall was meant to keep Western “fascists” from invading the East — but it also served as a barricade to those Easterners attempting to migrate to the West, capitalist territory.

The barbed-wire-topped wall divided families and took away basic human rights, keeping the population of East Berlin trapped inside Soviet territory. At 12 feet tall and 4 feet wide, the wall and its surrounding security systems were known as “The Death Strip,” as nearly 100 people were killed in their attempt to cross its miles of trenches and trip-wire machine guns.

On November 9, 1989, it was announced by the East German Communist Party that citizens of the German Democratic Republic, or East Germany, could cross the border whenever they pleased. That night, mayhem ensued at the border. Many who lived in the East crossed freely to the West for the first time in nearly 30 years, and citizens even began chipping away at the wall.

We’ve compiled Reuters images from that infamous night and the nights that followed as the Berlin Wall finally came crashing down.

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