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Fall of the Berlin Wall: Timeline

A history of the events that caused the Berlin Wall to fall on November 9, 1989.

(Page 2 of 2)

February 6 Chris Gueffroy is the last person shot and killed trying to escape. Meanwhile, the Polish government initiates talks with the opposition to defuse social unrest.

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April 5 The Roundtable Agreement is signed in Poland, legalizing independent trade unions and calling the first partially democratic elections in June.

May 2 Dismantling of the Iron Curtain – the boundary between Warsaw Pact and NATO countries – begins as Hungary disables the electric alarm system and cuts through barbed wire on its border with Austria.

Aug. 19 The 'Pan-European Picnic' – a peace demonstration at the Hungarian town of Sopron on the Austrian border – turns into an exodus when Hungarian border guards hold their fire as 600 East German citizens flee to the West .

Aug. 24 Tadeusz Mazowiecki is appointed Polish prime minister, becoming the first noncommunist head of state in Eastern Europe in more than 40 years.

Sept. 10 Hungary reopens its border with East Germany, allowing 13,000 East Germans passage to escape through Austria.

Oct. 18 East German leader Erich Honecker is forced to resign.

Nov. 4 One million people rally in East Berlin during weeks of mounting demonstrations.

Nov. 9 The Berlin Wall falls.

Nov. 17 The 'Velvet Revolution' in Czechoslovakia erupts in reaction to a police crackdown on peaceful student protests in Prague. Days of mass demonstrations ensue.

Nov. 24 Communists in Prague step down.

Dec. 3 Soviet spokesman Gennady Gerasimov, speaking after a press conference between George H.W. Bush and Mikhail Gorbachev, who were concluding a shipboard summit at Malta, declared: "From Yalta to Malta, the cold war ended at 12.45 p.m. today."

Dec. 22 Romanian dictator Nicolae Ceauşescu is overthrown. He and his wife, Elena, are executed three days later after a summary trial.


April 8 Hungary elects a non-communist government.

Oct. 3 Germany unifies.

Dec. 9 Poland elects Lech Walesa president.

July 1 Baltic states gain independence from the Soviet Union.

Dec. 25 The Soviet Union dissolves.

Compiled by Leigh Montgomery and Elizabeth Ryan

Sources: City of Berlin website, CQ Researcher,, ForesightNews, George Bush Presidential Library and Museum, John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum, Newseum, news & wire reports