From the Fall of the Berlin Wall to German Reunification


The fall of the Berlin Wall in November 1989 paved the way for the reunification less than a year later of Germany, split into East and West for 45 years.

Here is a timeline.

- Wall comes down -

East Germany's communist authorities unexpectedly open all checkpoints on the Berlin Wall on November 9, 1989 and allow free passage to the democratic West for the first time since the barrier went up in 1961.

Over the weekend three million East Germans cross over to rediscover the West.

Having abandoned the Berlin Wall, East Germany's last communist leader, Egon Krenz, agrees to free elections. 

On November 13 reformer Hans Modrow is appointed to lead a new government, one-third of which is non-communist.

- Reunification proposed -

Two weeks later West German leader Helmut Kohl proposes eventual reunification. 

He and Modrow attend ceremonies on December 21-22 for the reopening of Berlin's Brandenburg Gate, which had been closed during Germany's division. 

Thousands flood through the gate, some waving flags of a united Germany.

- International talks -

On January 30, 1990 Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev accepts in principle the reunification of East Germany with the West.

On February 13 the Allies launch "2+4" talks with the East and West on the security implications of a return of a unified Germany -- once considered an aggressor.

Kohl calls on Modrow to agree to economic and monetary union, which would effectively end East German sovereignty, and they start talks.

- Free elections -

East Germany holds its first free elections on March 18. Conservatives pushing for rapid reunification win a large victory.

Christian Democrat Lothar de Maiziere becomes head of a coalition government on April 12, supporting joining the NATO Western military alliance and European Economic Community.

- Economic, financial union -

East and West Germany sign a treaty on May 18 agreeing to economic, monetary and social union. On July 1 the East adopts the West German deutschmark as its currency.

Security controls on the inter-German border come to an end.

- Soviet green light -

On July 6 the two German states enter negotiations on the conditions of full reunification.

Ten days later Gorbachev gives the Soviet Union's green light for a sovereign, unified Germany, free to join NATO.

Moscow vows to pull out its 380,000 soldiers in East Germany by 1994 while Kohl agrees to limit troop-strength in a unified Germany to 370,000.

On July 22 the East German parliament adapts to the federal structure in place in West Germany. 

- One Germany -

On August 23 all sides set October 3 as the date for official reunification.

At the stroke of midnight that day a giant German flag is raised outside the parliament building in Berlin, the Reichstag, where tens of thousands of people celebrate official reunification in a mood of euphoria.

Kohl becomes the first chancellor of the new Germany at legislative elections in December.

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