Communications

When the Wall Came Down

Helmut Kohl was very impressed when he returned to the Federal Chancellery in Bonn from Berlin on the morning of 10 November 1989. «It has the atmosphere of a festival», he described to U. S. President George Bush on the phone the atmosphere of the memorable night when the Wall came down. «The frontiers are absolutely open. At certain points they are literally taking down the Wall […]. At Checkpoint Charlie, thousands of people are crossing both ways» (dodis.ch/52911). However, not everyone welcomed the Fall of the Wall. Especially neighbouring Poland felt that «the fast-paced reunification process entail[ed] specific threats to Poland» (dodis.ch/53173). The Israeli press imagined the worst with a looming «Fourth Reich and a new Hitler» (dodis.ch/52952). «Will the new state be able to become a native country, even a home, to all Germans?» With this question the Swiss Ambassador in East-Berlin said his goodbye to the GDR on 2 October 1990, the eve of the German reunification (dodis.ch/49561).

A truly international cooperation

These are only 4 examples of 63 documents in total, that shed light on the perception of the fall of the Berlin Wall and the German reunification by international diplomacy. On the occasion of the 30th anniversary of the fall of the Wall, the International Committee of Editors of Diplomatic Documents (ICEDD) used its worldwide network to put together in a truly international cooperation a selection of documents on these memorable historical events of 1989 and 1990. Editors from Austria, Canada, Germany, Israel, the Netherlands, Poland, Russia, Switzerland, Turkey, the United Kingdom and the United States contributed records from their archives. The research centre Diplomatic Documents of Switzerland (Dodis) had the lead as the collection of documents appears in their eBook series Quaderni di Dodis. Moreover, all documents are freely available in the database Dodis as facsimiles of the original documents and as English translations.

The publication has been launched on 6 June 2019 during the 15th International Conference of Editors of Diplomatic Documents at the Federal Foreign Office in Berlin. You can find the book here: www.dodis.ch/q12.