"Wall peckers" in Berlin, 10 November 1989. People started tearing down the Berlin Wall on their own. Official demolition began at Potsdamer Platz in November 1989, and continued from 20 February 1990 between the Brandenburg Gate and the border post at Checkpoint Charlie.
Source: Bundesregierung/Uwe Rau

The completion of unification

Under the Unification Treaty the entire legal system of the Federal Republic was to apply in the territory of the GDR. The people of Germany celebrated the Day of Unity on 3 October 1990. The first parliamentary elections for the whole of Germany were held at the beginning of December.

Citizens of the former East Germany voting in an all-German general election for the first time on 2 December 1990.
Source: Bundesregierung/Harald Kirschner

From July to August 1990 the two German parliaments held three rounds of negotiations towards an agreement on the framework for unification. After intense debate about its content, the Unification Treaty was signed at the end of August.

One aspect of the repressive state's legacy, the files held by the Ministry of State Security (Stasi), was particularly controversial. In autumn 1990, after impassioned protests against their own government and that of West Germany, the East Germans achieved the opening of the files kept by the SED's dreaded secret police.

Five new Länder (federal states) were formed on the territory of the former GDR, reorganising the state to fit the West German federal system. Many people welcomed the return of the historical Länder structure. In the first all-German parliamentary elections the majority in both East and West Germany voted for conservative parties.

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