Germans observe Unification Day Monday

by Petra Lessoing
86th Airlift Wing Public Affairs

On Monday, Germany will observe Unification Day, which is a legal holiday throughout Germany. Stores, banks and official institutions will be closed.
In 1989, the process of reunification started. The borders to the Federal Republic of Germany and the border gates along the Berlin Wall were opened the night of Nov. 9, 1989.

Over the next three days, more than 3 million East Germans crossed the border into West Germany to celebrate, sightsee and purchase goods, which they were not able to obtain in the East.

The wall, a symbol of the Cold War for 28 years, was torn down during the following weeks and months, and pieces were sold as souvenirs.
The former German Democratic Republic (East Germany) and the Federal Republic of Germany (West Germany) were officially reunited on Oct. 3, 1990.

East Germany’s first free elections in 40 years were held March 18, 1990, when citizens elected a new government. Basic changes concerning the country’s economy, currency, social laws and jurisdiction were established by state contracts May 18 and Aug. 31.

Finally, on Oct. 3, 1990, the German Democratic Republic ceased to exist. After 40 years it vanished from the world’s political map.
Berlin was chosen as the new capital city of unified Germany.