Thursday, June 8, 2017

Berlin Wall Fall & New Democracies

Recent Events in the World
Recent history has been about people wanting to change their lives for the better. People around the world have searched for ways to gain more personal and economic freedom. Some, but not all, of the recent changes in the world have been peaceful.

New Democracies
In the closing days of World War II, the Soviet Union set up communist governments in many eastern European countries. Poland, Czechoslovakia, Hungary, Yugoslavia, Romania, and Bulgaria all came under communist rule. The end of the war also saw a split in Germany. The newly formed East Germany became communist, while West Germany became democratic. The city of Berlin also divided, with East Berlin being ruled by communists.

In 1961, East German soldiers were ordered to build a concrete barrier to separate East Berlin from West Berlin. The goal was to stop East Germans from escaping to freedom in West Berlin. This barrier, the Berlin Wall, showed plainly the division between democratic western Europe and communist eastern Europe.

For almost 30 years, the two parts of Europe remained divided. Then, in the late 1980s, democracy began to appear in eastern Europe. Poland held free elections in June 1989.

Hungary declared itself a noncommunist republic in October of that same year.

Berlin Wall Fall 
For a while the leaders of East Germany stood solidly against the idea of change. In October 1989, these leaders were forced from power. On November 9,1989, the East German government said that it would open its borders. In Berlin joyous demonstrators gathered at the hated wall that had divided the city. They climbed on top of it, breaking off chunks of concrete, as if they would tear it down with their bare hands. Openings were made in the wall which allowed people to travel freely between East and West Germany once again. In October 1990 the two countries united to form the Federal Republic of Germany, with a democratic government.

- How did South Europe change in the 1989s?

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