Updated: Dec 7, 2021
German Unity Day is a public holiday, celebrated on October 3rd, to commemorate the unification of the Federal Republic of Germany and the German Democratic Republic into a single federal Germany - on the same date, in 1990.
After World War Two, Germany was divided into four military sectors, each one controlled, respectively, by France, the United States, the United Kingdom, and the Soviet Union. In 1949, the Federal Republic of Germany was formed and, on October 7th of the same year, the German Democratic Republic (also known as the DDR — ‘Deutsche Demokratische Republik’) was formed.
The political tensions in post-war Europe did not allow much interaction between the people of the two countries. The DDR exercised strong resistance against repression of its political opponents. Democratic elections and peaceful protests paved the way for the people to come together in the DDR. Finally, in August of 1990, the leaders of both countries signed the Treaty of Unification, and, Germany’s unification was made official on October 3, 1990.
The Berlin Wall and the Brandenburg Gate are two very important symbols of Germany’s initial division and subsequent unification.
Did you know?
The Berlin Wall was actually two walls.
The 27-mile portion of the barrier separating Berlin into east and west, consisted of two concrete walls between which was a “death strip” up to 160 yards wide, that contained hundreds of watchtowers, miles of anti-vehicle trenches, guard dog runs, floodlights and trip-wire machine guns.
A piece of the Berlin wall stands... in the bathroom of a Las Vegas casino.
Official demolition of the Berlin Wall began in the summer of 1990. More than 40,000 wall sections were recycled into building materials used for German reconstruction projects, but a few hundred segments were auctioned off and are now scattered around the globe; from the Vatican gardens, to the men’s room of the Main Street Station Casino in Las Vegas, where urinals are mounted on a graffiti-covered wall segment, protected behind glass.
The Brandenburg gate:
When the Nazis came to power, the Brandenburg Gate was used as a Nazi symbol.
The gate survived World War Two, but it was riddled with bullet holes.
After the Berlin Wall fell, the Brandenburg Gate came to symbolize freedom.
In 2000, the gate was repaired and restored, to the tune of €6,000,000.
The area around the Brandenburg Gate is now fully pedestrianised.
It was designed by its creator to represent peace.