Berlin Wall's fall: Key dates in German reunification
Within a matter of weeks and without bloodshed, the feared East German regime was swept aside by demonstrators in 1989 and the Berlin Wall torn down, leading to Germany's reunification less than a year later.
Here are some key dates:-- 1989 --- May 2: Hungary began dismantling the Iron Curtain that had defined its border with Austria since 1966.
East Germans were quick to take advantage and head west.
- October 6-7: Unprecedented protests disrupted ceremonies marking the 40th anniversary of East Germany's (GDR) communist regime.
Then Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev warned East German officials not to be too rigid as the reform movement swept across Eastern Europe.
- October 9: Police and the army stood by as some 70,000 people in Leipzig participated in a candlelight march to demand political reforms and more freedom.
- October 18: Egon Krenz, the Politburo's youngest member, became communist party general secretary after Erich Honecker was forced to resign.
On October 24 Krenz also replaced Honecker as GDR president.
- November 4: Nationwide demonstrations began in the GDR.
More than one million gathered in East Berlin to demand greater freedom.
- November 9: Communist border guards opened the Berlin Wall, which was built in 1961, after the regime granted long-denied freedom to travel to the West.
Over the subsequent weekend, three million East Germans visited West Berlin or other parts of West Germany.
- November 13: Communist reformer Hans Modrow was elected head of the GDR government, one-third of which was non-communist.
- December 21-22: Modrow and then West German chancellor Helmut Kohl officiated over the reopening of Brandenburg Gate in Berlin, the symbol of German division.
-- 1990 --- January 30: Gorbachev accepted German reunification in principle.
- March 18: The GDR held its first free elections and conservatives pushing for a rapid reunification won a large victory.
- July 1: The West German Deutschmark became the official currency of the GDR.
- Oct 3: After being divided for more than 40 years, Germany was reunited and regained its full sovereignty.
© 2014 AFP