It was the nation’s biggest demolition party.
Some people climbed over the rubble, while others hacked away at it with hammers and picks.
On this day in 1989, thousands of Germans pulled down the Berlin Wall, marking the end of the Cold War.
Ecstatic crowds gathered at the scene, where families and friends separated for nearly 30 years were finally reunited.
Since construction began in 1961, East and West Berlin was divided by a barbed wire and concrete “anti-fascist bulwark” designed to keep Western “fascists” from entering East Germany and corrupting the socialist state.
But in practice, the Soviet rulers of East Berlin didn’t need to worry about people coming over from the West, which was run by American, French and British allies.
It was the other way around – Eastern Berliners defecting to the West – that made up the bulk of escapees.
At the time, Germany was split into two countries: East Germany and West Germany, following the end of World War II.
Soviet-run East Germany was commonly described as a communist state, with the prices of housing, basic goods and services heavily subsidised and set by the central government rather than through supply and demand.
The Soviets worked hard to control their population, going to extreme lengths to spy on suspected defectors and documenting everything about them.
That’s because emigration to the West was a big problem.
Many of the people fleeing over the wall were well educated, young people who wanted a better quality of life.
Some were so desperate to leave they were willing to die for it.
Many were killed by border guards or booby traps like secret land mines hidden along the wall, while others were captured and locked up in prison.
That was until November 9, 1989, when the head of the Eastern German Communist Party announced that citizens of the east could cross the border following a huge protest.
That night, enormous crowds swarmed the wall from both sides and started destroying it.
To this day, parts of the wall remain in Berlin and serve as a popular tourist attraction and a powerful reminder of the Cold War.