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Germany 1945 – 1990

May 1945: Germany lay in ruins at the end of the Second World War.

After East Germany's border to the Federal Republic of Germany opened during the night of 9 November 1989, a never-ending stream of East German pedestrians and cars flooded across the Bornholm Bridge into West Berlin. open popup May 1945: Germany lay in ruins at the end of the Second World War. Photo: Bundesregierung

17 July to 2 August 1945: At the Potsdam Conference the Allies agreed how to deal with Germany after the war was over.

The Brandenburg Gate amid a sea of rubble at the end of the Second World War (May 1945) open popup 17 July to 2 August 1945: At the Potsdam Conference the Allies agreed how to deal with Germany after the war was over. Photo: Bundesarchiv - Ausschnitt Bild 183-H27035.jpg

23 May 1949: The Federal Republic of Germany was founded as a free and democratic state governed by the rule of law. Konrad Adenauer signed the Basic Law, or constitution.

Winston Churchill, Harry Truman and Joseph Stalin (from left to right) in disucssion open popup 23 May 1949: The Federal Republic of Germany was founded as a free and democratic state governed by the rule of law. Konrad Adenauer signed the Basic Law, or constitution. Photo: picture-alliance/AP

7 October 1949: The German Democratic Republic was founded following the Soviet model of a Communist dictatorship.

President of the Parliamentary Council, Konrad Adenauer, signs the Basic Law, or constitution, on 23 May 1949 at precisely 17:00 in Bonn. open popup 7 October 1949: The German Democratic Republic was founded following the Soviet model of a Communist dictatorship. Photo: Bundesarchiv - Ausschnitt Bild 183-M0502-302.jpg

17 June 1953: With the help of Soviet tanks, the SED regime managed to brutally crush the popular uprising in East Berlin and the German Democratic Republic.

9th meeting of the German People's Council on 7 October. Here we see the Presidium. At the lectern is the President of the Provisional People's Chamber (Volkskammer), Johannes Dieckmann. open popup 17 June 1953: With the help of Soviet tanks, the SED regime managed to brutally crush the popular uprising in East Berlin and the German Democratic Republic. Photo: ullstein bild

13 August 1961: To halt the flow of East Germans to the free West, the SED regime sealed off the country with barbed wire and the Berlin Wall.

In Berlin youths on the Potsdamer Platz throw paving stones at the Soviet tanks rolling towards them from the Leipziger Strasse. open popup 13 August 1961: To halt the flow of East Germans to the free West, the SED regime sealed off the country with barbed wire and the Berlin Wall. Photo: Bundesregierung/Schütz

17 August 1962: The 18-year-old Peter Fechter was shot as he tried to escape. In Berlin alone 136 people died at the Wall.

Soldiers of the East German National People's Army build the Berlin Wall, here at the Brandenburg Gate. open popup 17 August 1962: The 18-year-old Peter Fechter was shot as he tried to escape. In Berlin alone 136 people died at the Wall. Photo: ullstein bild/Hans-Jörg Schütt

8 July 1962: A mass for peace in Reims Cathedral marked the start of Franco-German reconciliation.

The fatally injured Peter Fechter, who had tried to escape across the Berlin Wall to the West, is carried away by East German border troops. open popup 8 July 1962: A mass for peace in Reims Cathedral marked the start of Franco-German reconciliation. Photo: Bundesregierung/Steiner

17 March 1970: The people of Erfurt cheered Willy Brandt when the two German heads of government met for the first time. Willy Brandt wanted to achieve an understanding with the East.

Chancellor Konrad Adenauer (at left) and French President Charles de Gaulle (at right) during high mass in Reims Cathedral open popup 17 March 1970: The people of Erfurt cheered Willy Brandt when the two German heads of government met for the first time. Willy Brandt wanted to achieve an understanding with the East. Photo: ullstein bild/Sven Simon

13 November 1976: Three days after giving a concert in Cologne, the East German regime stripped the critical singer-songwriter Wolf Biermann of his East German citizenship.

Chancellor Willy Brandt looks out of an open window in Erfurt in 1970. open popup 13 November 1976: Three days after giving a concert in Cologne, the East German regime stripped the critical singer-songwriter Wolf Biermann of his East German citizenship. Photo: Visum/Wolfgang Steche

1983: A peace movement formed in East Germany with the motto "Swords to Plowshares". It also wanted to see disarmament in the Eastern Bloc states.

Wolf Biermann, the East Berlin singer, during his legendary concert in Cologne's Sporthalle open popup 1983: A peace movement formed in East Germany with the motto "Swords to Plowshares". It also wanted to see disarmament in the Eastern Bloc states. Photo: epd-bild/Bernd Bohm

12 June 1987: US President Ronald Reagan, speaking in front of the Brandenburg Gate, called on Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev to tear down the wall.

A blacksmith from the steel company PGH Stahlbau beats a sword into a plowshare. open popup 12 June 1987: US President Ronald Reagan, speaking in front of the Brandenburg Gate, called on Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev to tear down the wall. Photo: Bundesregierung/Lehnartz

7 September 1987: The first official visit of Erich Honecker, Chairman of the State Council of the German Democratic Republic, to the Federal Republic of Germany. Chancellor Helmut Kohl declared that the West's goal remained German unification.

During a speech at the Brandenburg Gate, US President Ronald Reagan declares, 'Mr Gorbachev, open this Gate! Mr Gorbachev, tear down this wall!' (front row from right Eberhard Diepgen, Governing Mayor of  Berlin; Chancellor Helmut Kohl; open popup 7 September 1987: The first official visit of Erich Honecker, Chairman of the State Council of the German Democratic Republic, to the Federal Republic of Germany. Chancellor Helmut Kohl declared that the West's goal remained German unification. Photo: Bundesregierung/Schaack

7 May 1989: The SED regime rigged the local elections in the German Democratic Republic – and triggered an enormous backlash of protests.

Chancellor Helmut Kohl (at left) welcomes Erich Honecker, Chairman of the State Council of the German Democratic Republic, with military honours in front of the Federal Chancellery. open popup 7 May 1989: The SED regime rigged the local elections in the German Democratic Republic – and triggered an enormous backlash of protests. Photo: picture-alliance/dpa

19 August 1989: During the "pan-European picnic", a symbolic opening of the border between Hungary and Austria, over 600 East Germans took the opportunity to flee to the West.

A polling station in East Berlin during the local elections on 7 May 1989 open popup 19 August 1989: During the "pan-European picnic", a symbolic opening of the border between Hungary and Austria, over 600 East Germans took the opportunity to flee to the West. Photo: picture-alliance/dpa

September 1989: Hundreds of East Germans fled to West German Embassies in Prague and other Eastern European capitals. Before the wall came down, about 200,000 East Germans escaped to the freedom of the West in 1989.

Austrian border guards open a border gate. More than 600 East Germans used a pan-European picnic at the Hungarian-Austrian border to flee to the West. open popup September 1989: Hundreds of East Germans fled to West German Embassies in Prague and other Eastern European capitals. Before the wall came down, about 200,000 East Germans escaped to the freedom of the West in 1989. Photo: picture-alliance/dpa

9 October 1989: About 70,000 people joined the sixth Leipzig Monday demonstration. The authorities did not intervene this time - the first victory for the peaceful revolution.

On 29 September1989, East Germans determined to leave the country climb the fence of the West German Embassy in Prague with their children. open popup 9 October 1989: About 70,000 people joined the sixth Leipzig Monday demonstration. The authorities did not intervene this time - the first victory for the peaceful revolution. Photo: picture-alliance / dpa

9 November 1989: As he announced a new law on travel regulations, the East German government spokesman made a mistake. Thousands in East Berlin took him at his word and forced open the border.

On 9 October 1989 about 70,000 demonstrators marched through the centre of Leipzig. open popup 9 November 1989: As he announced a new law on travel regulations, the East German government spokesman made a mistake. Thousands in East Berlin took him at his word and forced open the border. Photo: Andreas Schoelzel

14 December 1989: Cheered by his audience in Dresden, Chancellor Helmut Kohl declared, "It is still my goal to see our nation united."

Chancellor Helmut Kohl addresses thousands at Dresden's Altmarkt. open popup 14 December 1989: Cheered by his audience in Dresden, Chancellor Helmut Kohl declared, "It is still my goal to see our nation united." Photo: Bundesarchiv/ADN/Mittelstädt - Ausschnitt Bild 183-1989-1219-034.jpg

18 March 1990: For the first time East Germans were able to elect members of the People's Chamber (Volkskammer) in genuinely free elections. It marked the ultimate victory over the dictatorship in East Germany.

Volkskammer elections - counting the votes. As soon as the polling stations closed, counting began in the German Democratic Republic. Shown here:  Prenzlauer Berg, Berlin. open popup 18 March 1990: For the first time East Germans were able to elect members of the People's Chamber (Volkskammer) in genuinely free elections. It marked the ultimate victory over the dictatorship in East Germany. Photo: Bundesarchiv/ADN/Lochmann - Ausschnitt Bild 183-1990-0506-018.jpg

1 July 1990: The economic, currency and social union came into force, and with it the D-Mark became the official currency in East Germany.

East German citizens queue in front of the Sparkasse in Görlitz to convert their East German marks into D-Marks. open popup 1 July 1990: The economic, currency and social union came into force, and with it the D-Mark became the official currency in East Germany. Photo: Bundesregierung/Lehnartz

15 July 1990: At a meeting in the Caucasus, Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev assured Chancellor Helmut Kohl that the Soviet Union would accept Germany's NATO membership after unification.

Around a wooden table in the Caucasus Chancellor Helmut Kohl, Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev and Federal Foreign Minister Hans-Dietrich Genscher discuss the full sovereignty of a united Germany. open popup 15 July 1990: At a meeting in the Caucasus, Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev assured Chancellor Helmut Kohl that the Soviet Union would accept Germany's NATO membership after unification. Photo: Bundesregierung/Pfeil

May to September 1990: The ministers of foreign affairs of the two German states and the four Second World War Allies negotiated the Two plus Four Treaty. It guaranteed the reunited Germany full sovereignty.

The ministers of foreign affairs of the two German states and the four Second Wolrd War Allies during the negotiations that led to the Two plus Four Treaty open popup May to September 1990: The ministers of foreign affairs of the two German states and the four Second World War Allies negotiated the Two plus Four Treaty. It guaranteed the reunited Germany full sovereignty. Photo: Bundesregierung/Reineke

3 October 1990: Hundreds of thousands of people celebated at the Reichstag building in Berlin. At midnight the Freedom Bell rang out - after forty years Germany was finally reunited.

Fireworks over the Reichstag building are the highlight of the celebrations on the Day of German Unity. open popup 3 October 1990: Hundreds of thousands of people celebated at the Reichstag building in Berlin. At midnight the Freedom Bell rang out - after forty years Germany was finally reunited. Photo: Bundesregierung/Reineke

Berlin celebrates, 25 years after the Berlin Wall fell

The huge firework display at the end of the party

Crowds in front of the Brandenburg Gate open popup The huge firework display at the end of the party Photo: Bundesregierung/Bolesch

Sara Grotzki and Sander Stuart play the German national anthem.

The closing firework display open popup Sara Grotzki and Sander Stuart play the German national anthem. Photo: Bundesregierung/Bolesch

Udo Lindenberg takes the stage.

Sara Grotzki and Sander Stuart play the German national anthem. open popup Udo Lindenberg takes the stage. Photo: Bundesregierung/Denzel

The balloons that made up the "border of lights" rise into the night sky.

Udo Lindenberg takes the stage. open popup The balloons that made up the "border of lights" rise into the night sky. Photo: Bundesregierung/Bergmann

Federal President Joachim Gauck gazes after the balloons as they lift off into the night sky.

The balloons that made up the "border of lights" rise into the night sky. open popup Federal President Joachim Gauck gazes after the balloons as they lift off into the night sky. Photo: Bundesregierung/Bergmann

Star conductor Daniel Barenboim and the Deutsche Staatskapelle play Beethoven's "Ode to Joy".

Federal President Joachim Gauck gazes after the balloons as they lift off into the night sky. open popup Star conductor Daniel Barenboim and the Deutsche Staatskapelle play Beethoven's "Ode to Joy". Photo: Bundesregierung/Denzel

People who had adopted a balloon - including Federal President Joachim Gauck - stand on the stage.

Daniel Barenboim and the Deutsche Staatskapelle open popup People who had adopted a balloon - including Federal President Joachim Gauck - stand on the stage. Photo: Bundesregierung/Bolesch

An acrobatic act in front of the Brandenburg Gate quadriga

The people who had adopted a balloon took the stage. open popup An acrobatic act in front of the Brandenburg Gate quadriga Photo: Bundesregierung/Bolesch

Crowds as far as the eye can see

An acrobatic act in front of the Brandenburg Gate quadriga open popup Crowds as far as the eye can see Photo: Bundesregierung/Bolesch

The word "Freiheit" - peace - is projected onto the Brandenburg Gate.

Visitors enjoy the show. open popup The word "Freiheit" - peace - is projected onto the Brandenburg Gate. Photo: Bundesregierung/Bolesch

The audience enjoy the show.

The word "Freiheit" - peace - is projected onto the Brandenburg Gate. open popup The audience enjoy the show. Photo: Bundesregierung/Denzel

The evening programme began by remembering those who lost their lives at the Berlin Wall.

The audience enjoy the show. open popup The evening programme began by remembering those who lost their lives at the Berlin Wall. Photo: Bundesregierung/Bolesch

Well-known visitors, like Federal Family Minister Manuela Schwesig, tweeted their thoughts about the fall of the Berlin Wall.

Those who lost their lives at the Berlin Wall are shown on a huge screen. open popup Well-known visitors, like Federal Family Minister Manuela Schwesig, tweeted their thoughts about the fall of the Berlin Wall. Photo: Bundesregierung/Denzel

The atmosphere couldn't have been better in front of the stage.

Manuela Schwesig, Federal Minister for Family Affairs, Senior Citizens, Women and Youth at the "Twitter Mirror". open popup The atmosphere couldn't have been better in front of the stage. Photo: Bundesregierung/Bolesch

A varied afternoon programme entertained visitors.

Visitors with a German flag open popup A varied afternoon programme entertained visitors. Photo: Bundesregierung/Bolesch

The space in front of the stage fills up.

A dance act open popup The space in front of the stage fills up. Photo: Bundesregierung/Bolesch

Daniel Barenboim rehearses with the Staatskapelle for their evening performance.

Crowds at the Brandenburg Gate open popup Daniel Barenboim rehearses with the Staatskapelle for their evening performance. Photo: Bundesregierung/Bolesch

Then Beethoven's Ninth Symphony echoed out.

Daniel Barenboim rehearses. open popup Then Beethoven's Ninth Symphony echoed out. Photo: Bundesregierung/Bolesch

The space in front of the stage was full even on Saturday evening.

The Staatskapelle Berlin at the general rehearsal which was open to the public open popup The space in front of the stage was full even on Saturday evening. Photo: Bundesregierung/Loos

Peter Gabriel checks out the stage at the Brandenburg Gate. He too performed in the evening programme on 9 Novemer.

Peter Gabriel open popup Peter Gabriel checks out the stage at the Brandenburg Gate. He too performed in the evening programme on 9 Novemer. Photo: Bundesregierung/Loos

The imposing screen was so vast it actually hid the Brandenburg Gate from view.

A huge screen in front of the Brandenburg Gate open popup The imposing screen was so vast it actually hid the Brandenburg Gate from view. Photo: Bundesregierung/Loos

On Saturday the band Silly gets ready for the big day on Sunday.

The band Silly rehearses. open popup On Saturday the band Silly gets ready for the big day on Sunday. Photo: Bundesregierung/Loos

At several places in Berlin videos relating to the fall of the Berlin Wall were screened.

People watch a video on a huge screen. open popup At several places in Berlin videos relating to the fall of the Berlin Wall were screened. Photo: Bundesregierung/Loos

The German government also offered a variety of information at different stands.

The Federal Press Office tent open popup The German government also offered a variety of information at different stands. Photo: Bundesregierung/Loos

The "Jouney through time" exhibition on the Pariser Platz proved very popular.

People look at the "Journey through time" exhibition. open popup The "Jouney through time" exhibition on the Pariser Platz proved very popular. Photo: Bundesregierung/Loos

The beautiful weather brought a lot of visitors to the Brandenburg Gate on Saturday.

People stroll along beside the Brandenburg Gate. open popup The beautiful weather brought a lot of visitors to the Brandenburg Gate on Saturday. Photo: Bundesregierung/Loos

On Friday evening the Brandenburg Gate shone in bright colours.

The Brandenburg Gate in blue open popup On Friday evening the Brandenburg Gate shone in bright colours. Photo: Bundesregierung/Bolesch

On Friday evening the balloons that made up the "border of lights"were lit up for the first time. They marked 15 km of the course of the Berlin Wall.

People stroll across the Pariser Platz. open popup On Friday evening the balloons that made up the "border of lights"were lit up for the first time. They marked 15 km of the course of the Berlin Wall. Photo: Bundesregierung/Denzel

Udo Lindenberg rehearses for Sunday.

Udo Lindenberg at the Brandenburg Gate open popup Udo Lindenberg rehearses for Sunday. Photo: Bundesregierung/Denzel

The space in front of the stage was full in no time.

People watch  Udo Lindenberg rehearse. open popup The space in front of the stage was full in no time. Photo: Bundesregierung/Denzel

The atmosphere surrounding rehearsals was good natured and relaxed.

Rehearsing for Sunday open popup The atmosphere surrounding rehearsals was good natured and relaxed. Photo: Bundesregierung/Bolesch

A varied programme of information and entertainment on two stages awaited visitors on Sunday.

The crowds in front of the Brandenburg Gate open popup A varied programme of information and entertainment on two stages awaited visitors on Sunday. Photo: Bundesregierung/Bolesch

The first rehearsals for the huge show at the Brandenburg Gate began on Friday.

Drummers rehearse on one of the stages. open popup The first rehearsals for the huge show at the Brandenburg Gate began on Friday. Photo: Bundesregierung/Denzel

Under the motto "The Courage to be Free" the fall of the Berlin Wall 25 years ago was celebrated.

Preparations at the Brandenburg Gate open popup Under the motto "The Courage to be Free" the fall of the Berlin Wall 25 years ago was celebrated. Photo: Bundesregierung/Bolesch

On Friday preparations for 9 November were progressing apace.

Preparations for the government's open-air party on 9 November at the Brandenburg Gate open popup On Friday preparations for 9 November were progressing apace. Photo: Bundesregierung/Denzel