Bremen: Germany on Sunday celebrated 20
years since reunification when the capitalist West and the
communist East merged after decades of Cold War division that
ended with the fall of the Berlin Wall.
Several hundred thousand people were expected in the
northern city of Bremen for a series of street parties and
official events led by Chancellor Angela Merkel, herself
brought up in East Germany.
In a video podcast on the eve of the celebrations, Merkel
paid tribute to East Germans for having "the courage to fight
"At the same time, there was a huge wave of solidarity
from the people in West Germany. It is thanks to these joint
efforts that we have been able to rebuild so quickly and make
Germany a country that is respected in the World."
Also expected to attend the reunification celebrations
were European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso and
NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen.
US President Barack Obama was quick to congratulate
Germany, praising "the courage and conviction of the German
people that brought down the Berlin Wall, ending decades of
painful and artificial separation."
The peaceful reunification of East and West Germany was a
"historic achievement," said the president.
After World War II, the victorious powers, the United
States, Britain, France and the Soviet Union carved defeated
Germany into four sections.
With the advent of the Cold War, Moscow erected a border
between its eastern section and the three western Allied
sections, including the Wall that split Berlin in two.
On October 3, 1990, just under a year after the Wall was
yanked down in a bloodless revolution, the reunification
treaty bringing the two halves of the country together came
into effect amid joyful scenes.