BBC Online Network
East Germany
1989
4 - 9 November
Collapse of the Iron Curtain
On 4 November half a million people flooded Alexanderplatz in East Berlin to listen to speeches organised by the theatres and intellectuals. The event was carried live on East and West German television. It was intended to rally support for reform but protesters, chanting "We are the people", demanded democracy and freedom. Krenz came in for special attack.

On 8 November East Berlin's Party boss Guenther Schabowsksi was told to announce that East Germans would be allowed exit visas to visit the West. When asked at a press conference when it would come into effect, he hesitated and replied, the next day at 0800.

Crowds quickly gathered at the eight crossing points in Berlin. About midnight a scared Stasi officer of the border guards decided that the situation was about to get out of control and opened the gate at one of the check points. Once the news had spread that one checkpoint was open, the others opened too. Celebrations - 8 Nov 1989

Tens of thousands of people poured into the west. West Berliners cheered and poured champagne.

Julia Michaelis
Michael Hamburger
Ben Brown
David Loyn
Egon Krenz