When the Wall Came Tumbling Down - 50 Hours That Changed the World

(Als die Mauer fiel - 50 Stunden, die die Welt veränderten)

Germany, 1999, 89 min, color
In German; English subtitles and voice over


Berlin, November 9th, 1989. Thousands of people break through the border checkpoints of the divided city. The "death strip" has lost its horror. East and West Berliners are dancing on the Wall and chip it away with hammers and chisels throughout the night. The most famous symbol of the Cold War is crumbling as the world watches on live television. It was a party on very explosive ground. Behind the scenes, at all levels of power, frantic diplomatic and military maneuvers were taking place. The East German government and its ministries for national defense and state security; the headquarters of the Soviet forces in East Germany; the Allied forces in West Berlin and the governments in Moscow, London, Paris, Washington, as well as in Bonn - all were caught off-guard by the events that unfolded that day.


Using some never-before-seen footage, this compelling documentary shows what really happened during those perilous, pivotal hours. General Secretary Gorbachev and President Bush; the French and the British governments; Chancellor Kohl and General Secretary Krenz; foreign secretaries, ministers, and high-ranking officers from both sides (some heard speaking out for the first time), along with journalists such as NBC correspondent Tom Brokaw, describe what happened behind the scenes. This unfolding historical drama is counterbalanced by the celebration in the streets as Berliners from East and West tell of moving experiences - sometimes amusing, sometimes painful - that shaped their destiny. All perspectives are joined beautifully in this remarkable film detailing those 50 momentous hours that changed the world.


Thoroughly researched, beautifully crafted, this is one of the best documentaries on the fall of the Berlin Wall yet to emerge.


NOTE: This film is currently only available as part of our non-circulating research collection.


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