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