18 stunning photos from the night the Berlin Wall came down 27 years ago
While President-elect Donald Trump has talked at length about building a wall between the United States and Mexico, this week we celebrate the 27th anniversary of the destruction of the Berlin Wall.
Built in 1961, the wall divided 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.
Ahead, see photos from that infamous night and the nights that followed.
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