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East Germany
The Wall came tumbling down
What you need to know:
To the outside world, East Germany appeared to be a successful Communist state. Experts ranked its economy the 10th largest in the world. But inside, life was much different. The state police force, Stasi, ruled by intimidation and violence.

When Hungary opened its border with Austria in September 1989, thousands of East Germans fled into West. For decades, citizens had digested a heavy diet of propaganda that East Germans had technical and economic superiority. The exodus proved a turning point for the East Germans' perception of their national identity. Demonstrations took place calling for free travel and free elections.