GERMANY UNIFIED 23 YEARS AGO TODAY
Berlin, Federal Republic of Germany (JFK+50) Twenty-three years ago today, October 3, 1990, East and West Germany were united for the first time since 1945. Today, October 3, 2013, is a national holiday in the Federal Republic.
Germany became divided in 1945 when troops of the Soviet Union occupied the eastern part of the country with Britain, France and the United States controlling the western part.
Between 1945 and 1990, Berlin was a major hot spot in the Cold War with the entire city situated within Communist-controlled East Germany while West Berlin remained free.
Two major crises occurred in Berlin during this period.
The 1st was the Berlin Blockade of 1948 and 1949 when the Soviets attempted to cut off supplies to West Berlin. The 2nd came in the Berlin Crisis of 1961 which culminated in the building of the Berlin Wall separating the two parts of the city.
Reunification came less than a year after the destruction of the Berlin Wall which had begun on November 9, 1989.
Today, Germans celebrate "Unity Day" with a citizens' festival called "Burgerfest."
When President John F. Kennedy visited West Berlin on June 26, 1963, he said...
"What is true of this city is...real lasting peace...can never be assured as long as one German out of four is denied the elementary right of free men...to make a free choice.
When all are free, then we can look forward to that day when the city will be joined as one.
When that day finally comes, as it will, then (West Berliners) can (take) satisfaction that they were in the front lines for almost two decades."
JFK Speaks in West Berlin
June 26, 1963
Photo by Robert Knudsen
JFK Library Image