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German Reunification: archive pictures show Unity Day as it happened 30 years ago

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Berliner youths wave German flags during the celebration of the country's reunification at the Brandenburg Gate, Berlin. October 3, 1990
Berliner youths wave German flags during the celebration of the country's reunification at the Brandenburg Gate, Berlin. October 3, 1990   -   Copyright  Gilles Leimdorger/AFP
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As Germany celebrates the 30 year anniversary of its reunification this Saturday, we take a look at the photographs that capture these historic changes in the life of the country.

This selection begins with the photograph featuring a key moment prior to the unification: on June 12, 1987, US President Ronald Reagan addressed the people of West Berlin at Brandenburg Gate near the Berlin wall. "Tear down this wall!" was his famous command to Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev.

The address Reagan delivered that day is considered by many to have affirmed the beginning of the end of the Cold War and the fall of communism.

The following photographs show the fall of the Berlin wall, celebration of the unification, the protests against it and many other memorable moments.

Mike Sargent/AFP
US President Ronald Reagan addresses the people of West Berlin at the base of the Brandenburg Gate, near the Berlin wall. June 12, 1987Mike Sargent/AFP
Michel Lipchitz/AP
East Berliners stand on top of the Berlin Wall near the Brandenburg Gate, after two crossings were opened. The Berlin Wall fell 29 years after it was built. December 22, 1989Michel Lipchitz/AP
Udo Weitz/AP
East Berliners queue outside a West Berlin bank to receive the 100-Deutsche-Mark "welcome money" the West German government gives all East Germans as financial help. Nov. 1989Udo Weitz/AP
AP Photo
West German chancellor Helmut Kohl stands together with then East German Prime Minister Hans Modrow during the opening ceremony of the Berlin Wall. December 22, 1989AP Photo
Lutz Schmidt/AP
A woman sitting on the shoulders of her friend picks a piece of the Berlin Wall in Berlin, Germany. January 6, 1990Lutz Schmidt/AP

In the photograph below, Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev (third right, second row) watches while East German Prime Minister Lothar de Maiziere (second right) signs the treaty on German reunification in the presence of British Foreign Secretary Douglas Hurd, and US Secretary of State James Baker and others. A date for German reunification was agreed three weeks before the day of the treaty signing when the East German parliament voted in favour of 3 October 1990.

Vitaly Armand/AFP
The signing of the treaty on German reunification in Moscow, Russia on September 12, 1990Vitaly Armand/AFP
GILLES LEIMDORFER/AFP
Berliner youths wave German flags during the celebration of the country's reunification at the Brandenburg Gate, Berlin. October 3, 1990GILLES LEIMDORFER/AFP
Gilles Leimdorfer/AFP
Berliner youths wave German flags during the celebration of the country's reunification at the Brandenburg Gate in Berlin. October 3, 1990Gilles Leimdorfer/AFP
Gilles Leimdorfer/AFP
Berliner youths stage a rally at Alexander Platz in East Berlin against the country's reunification chanting "Shut your mouth Germany, that's enough". October 3, 1990Gilles Leimdorfer/AFP
Gilles Leimdorfer/AFP
Some thousand people demonstrated against German reunification on the Alexander Platz, in former East Berlin, on October 03, 1990Gilles Leimdorfer/AFP
AFP
Picture taken in 1990 of the Brandenburg gate in East Berlin a few days after the German Unification. The newspaper on the foreground reads "Good luck to Germany"AFP

The abrupt fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989 and the rapid changes that ensued took many by surprise at the time and was a shock to the system for some 16 million East Germans. Unrealistic expectations combined with other factors led to discontent.

JAN BAUER/AP
The supporters of the ex-communist Party of Democratic Socialism celebrate the first results in federal elections in Berlin. Slogans on the T-shirts read 'born in the GDR'JAN BAUER/AP
Fabien Novial/AFP
15 years after the German Unification nature prevails over the concrete plaques of the former "Strip of death" between east and west Germany. September 29, 2005Fabien Novial/AFP

The 3,900-kilogram head of Vladimir Lenin that was removed from a Berlin square in 1991 has been unearthed for a new exhibition. The granite head was part of a 19-metre Lenin figure unveiled in 1970 on East Berlin's Leninplatz, or Lenin Square. After German reunification, the statue was removed, broken into 129 pieces and buried in woods on the city's southeastern edge.

Gregor Fischer/AP
Two employees remove sand from the beard and the eyes of the giant Lenin head in Berlin, Germany. September 10, 2015Gregor Fischer/AP