World Freedom Day

November 9th is World Freedom Day, which commemorates the day in 1989 when the Berlin Wall began to come down. This concrete barrier divided Berlin from 1961 through 1989.

The wall separated East and West Berlin, and its construction began under the authority of the communist government of the German Democratic Republic on August 13, 1961. They called it an “antifascist bulwark,” but it primarily served to prevent mass defections from East Germany to the West.

The Berlin Wall separated families and kept East Germans forcibly under communist rule. So, when the wall came down, it was an embrace of freedom by everyone involved.

The History of World Freedom Day

When WWII ended, Germany was divided into East and West. West Germany would be occupied by the Americans, the British, and the French, while East Germany would become the Soviet-occupied German Democratic Republic. East Germany became an independent country in 1949 under the thumb of the Soviets.

On August 13, 1961, a wall went up overnight that separated East and West Berlin. This was supposedly erected to prevent the infiltration of fascism into East Berlin, but the real reason was to keep the citizens from migrating to the West.

Many of these people were forcibly prevented from leaving East Berlin, as those who attempted to flee would often be shot on sight. Even so, over the 28 years during which the wall was up, an estimated 5,000 people did escape. About 100 of these people were killed while attempting to do so.

Some Quick Facts About The Berlin Wall

To help focus all of our readers on the history of the Fall of the Berlin Wall, we decided to list some little-known facts about it. Below is a small sample of the facts that we uncovered while we researched World Freedom Day. Let’s take a look at them before moving on with our discussion.

  • East German politburo member Günter Schabowski prematurely announced that travel visa restrictions would be lifted immediately. This would eventually lead to the downfall of the Berlin Wall.
  • The 27-mile portion of the barrier that separated East and West Berlin featured two concrete walls with a “Death Strip” between them.
  • The Death Strip of the Berlin Wall featured guard dog runs, anti-vehicle trenches, watchtowers, floodlights, and trip-wire machine guns.

Observing World Freedom Day

On this day, we encourage everyone to remember the Fall of the Berlin Wall and to consider the importance of freedom in their own lives. People should also make sure to spread the word about this holiday using the hashtag #WorldFreedomDay on social media.

When is it?
This year (2024)
November 9 Saturday
Next year (2025)
November 9 Sunday
Last year (2023)
November 9 Thursday
Culture & History