Google on Saturday celebrated the 30th year of the fall of the Berlin Wall with a doodle that captured the essence of the breaking down of boundaries that separated many families.
After World War II, the United States, Great Britain, and France created the Federal Republic of Germany in the zones they occupied, replacing Nazi totalitarianism with democracy and personal and economic liberty. The Soviet Union, meanwhile, created in its zone the so-called German Democratic Republic (GDR) where it imposed communist totalitarianism.
Berlin, located 100 miles inside East Germany, was also divided into East and West zones. East Berliners naturally wanted to live free and prosperous, but that posed a problem for the Soviets. By 1961, thousands of East Berliners started moving each day into West Berlin. To halt the mass exodus, the communists of East Berlin built a wall to contain their subjects.
By the 1980s that system of walls, electrified fences, and fortifications extended 28 miles (45 km) through Berlin, dividing the two parts of the city, and extended a further 75 miles (120 km) around West Berlin, separating it from the rest of East Germany.
Nearly three decades later, as the Cold War began to thaw, on November 9, 1989 the spokesman for East Berlin's Communist Party announced a change in his city's travel ban with the West. He stated that starting that day, citizens of the GDR were free to cross the city's borders.
The Google doodle created by Berlin-based guest artist Max Guther, shows a man and woman walk over the wall which had been brought down. It was the moment that signalled the simultaneous end of the Cold War and the beginning of reunification of East and West Germany.
The couple embraces near the middle of the wall that has partly been pulled down by the people. "Tor auf!" (Open the gate!) roared the crowds gathered at the Berlin Wall on this evening in 1989.
Within hours, the massive crowd gathered at the wall far outnumbered the border crossing guards. Sometime before midnight, the officer-in-charge of the Bornholmer Street checkpoint defied his superiors and gave the order to open the gate. The East Berliners surged over into West Berlin to a warm welcome.
It was the beginning of a new dawn leading to the re-unification of Germany.
( With inputs from IANS )