How NPR covered the fall of the Berlin Wall 33 years ago The Berlin Wall, which stood for almost three decades as a fortified monument to the Cold War, began to crumble 33 years ago this week. It finally toppled on Nov. 9, 1989.

How NPR covered the fall of the Berlin Wall

How NPR covered the fall of the Berlin Wall

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West-Berliner climb on the Berlin Wall on Nov. 9, 1989, to ask for its fall. After months of mass protests against regime and amid a widening exodus of citizens to the West via Hungary, thousands of East Berliners on Nov. 9, 1989 started streaming toward checkpoints leading to West Berlin. Francoise Chaptal/AFP via Getty Images hide caption

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Francoise Chaptal/AFP via Getty Images

West-Berliner climb on the Berlin Wall on Nov. 9, 1989, to ask for its fall. After months of mass protests against regime and amid a widening exodus of citizens to the West via Hungary, thousands of East Berliners on Nov. 9, 1989 started streaming toward checkpoints leading to West Berlin.

Francoise Chaptal/AFP via Getty Images

"In the past 24 hours, the political landscape of Europe has been irrevocably changed."

That's how NPR's Linda Wertheimer began an All Things Considered broadcast alongside co-host Robert Siegel, 33 years ago this week — as the Berlin Wall began to crumble.

The wall stood for almost three decades as a fortified monument to the Cold War, carving the German capital into communist east and democratic west. When it finally toppled on Nov. 9, 1989, Berliners let loose a tidal wave of pent-up emotion.

The BBC's Graham Leach was there, filing reports that aired on NPR. Take a listen to his reporting on the raucous celebrations that night:

How NPR covered the fall of the Berlin Wall

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There were more reporters, like Deidre Berger, bringing the stunning developments to American listeners in NPR dispatches. Here, Berger reports over the phone on the jubilation rippling across the city:

How NPR covered the fall of the Berlin Wall

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Openings in the wall allowed thousands of Berliners to freely cross from east to west — many for the first time in their lives. The historic event also deepened cracks in the foundation of the Soviet Union, which completed a total collapse just two years later in December 1991.

You can listen to the full audio story for more of NPR's archival audio from the week the Berlin Wall fell.

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