"The Wall was an edifice of fear. On November 9th, it became a place of joy."

–Horst Köhler, 2009

On 9th November 1989, East and West Berliners gathered to tear the wall which separated them for the past 28 years. The ‘Berlin wall’ was initially just barbed wires which encircled West Berlin. It was later made into a concrete wall, which became the symbol of the Cold War. Though the Soviet authorities wanted to keep Western influence in check, it primarily served as a barrier to prevent mass defections from the East to the West. The financial stability and the democratic values was more appealing than a communist regime. Hence on the orders of Khrushchev the Eastern government started building a wall that was completed in two weeks. Berliners were not allowed to travel freely anymore and Soviet soldiers screened all the checkpoints. It was only under special circumstances permission to travel was granted. The area surrounding the wall was called the ‘Death Strip’, as it was heavily guarded with patrolling officers, dogs and soldiers. Permission was given to shoot the escapees on sight and a number of lives were lost. The collapse of the Berlin Wall occurred when the Soviets started to lose their control of their buffer states. With the government and the circumstances changed in East Berlin, the wall was torn down much to the joy of thousands.