But a less spectacular moment actually triggered the crumbling of the wall. It happened at a routine press conference on November 9, 1989, when East German spokesperson Günter Schabowski was handed an announcement about relaxed travel regulations.
In his lack of preparation, he mistakenly insinuated that the checkpoints in the Berlin Wall — which up until then were guarded by soldiers with orders to shoot anyone trying to cross — were now open. They weren’t, but that announcement was all East Berliners needed to storm the wall and demand they be allowed to cross into West Berlin. After that, the wall became obsolete, and soon fell.
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