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The Fall of the Berlin Wall “Was Like Heaven on Earth”

Fletcher alum and former German ambassador to the U.S. tells how the November 9, 1989 event led to German reunification.

For twenty-eight years, the Berlin Wall split East and West Germany, separating families and symbolizing the wider Iron Curtain that divided the communist countries in eastern Europe and Western democracies.

So when East German authorities began to allow citizens from the East to cross the border freely on November 9, 1989, “it was like heaven on earth,” recalled Klaus Scharioth, F74, F75, F78, a professor of practice at The Fletcher School and former German ambassador to the United States. “For many people in Germany, especially, of course, for those with family and friends in the other part, this was one of the best days in their lives.”

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