Saturday marks the 30th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall, the barrier that divided West Berlin from East, and enclosed the West from the rest of East Germany.
From 1961 to 1989, the iconic wall stood and symbolized the height of Cold War tensions.
Built by East German officials allied with Soviets, the wall aimed to stop those in East Germany from going to West and came to represent the ideological differences between the Eastern Bloc and western countries at the time.
People who tried to flee from the East after the wall went up faced brutal punishment. However, beginning in the late 1980s, then-Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev relaxed tensions and his openness eventually led East Germany to allow Czechs, Poles and others to emigrate to the West through its territory in September 1989.
During a Nov. 9, 1989, news conference, German Democratic Republic spokesman Günter Schabowski suggested the border with West Germany would be relaxed. That led to citizens with sledgehammers heading toward the barrier on both sides.
The fall of the wall officially began Nov. 9 and continued for the weeks that followed.
Here are 12 photos that show how the wall really fell:
Contributing: Angela Waters, Special for USA TODAY