It has been 23 years since the fall of the Berlin Wall. Following World War II, the area that was Germany was divided into four military sectors controlled by France, the United Kingdom, the United States and the Soviet Union. On May 23, 1949, the sectors controlled by France, the United Kingdom and the United States became the Federal Republic of Germany. On October 7, 1949, the sector controlled by the Soviet Union became the German Democratic Republic. The two countries developed very different political and economic systems and, due to the tensions in post-war Europe, there was little contact between the inhabitants of the two countries. A protest against the German Democratic Republic's government occurred in Leipzig on September 4, 1989. More demonstrations took place across the German Democratic Republic. The protests called for political reform and to open the borders. On November 9, 1989, the checkpoints between the two countries were opened and people were allowed to travel freely. This date marked the "fall" of the Berlin wall.
Those who were around at the time, or who personally experienced what it was like to live in one of the countries behind the so-called Iron Curtain, will never forget what happened when it fell. The world changed and has never been the same since. Millions of people gained their freedom; freedom to think, speak, write, travel, express their opinion.
Moreover, two decades after the Berlin Wall fell, the spread of democracy has stalled. Between 1988 and 1990, as the Cold War was winding down, prodemocracy protests erupted far from Eastern Europe, overturning dictatorships in countries as different as Indonesia, South Korea, Taiwan and Chile. After the Soviet disintegration, even Russia emerged as a credible candidate for democratic reform.
The destruction of the Berlin Wall in 1989, which was the ultimate symbol of the Cold War, was a major turning point in the collapse of...