H.Res. 496: Recognizing the 20th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall

H.Res. 496

Recognizing the 20th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall

Sponsor
Rep. Ted Poe

Date
July 28, 2009 (111th Congress, 1st Session)

Staff Contact
Communications

Floor Situation

The House is scheduled to consider H.Res. 496 under suspension of the rules, requiring a two-thirds majority vote for passage. H.Res. 496 was introduced on June 2, 2009, by Rep. Ted Poe (R-TX).

Bill Summary

H.Res. 496 resolves that the House of Representatives:

•  "Recognizes the 20th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall;

•  "Celebrates 20 years of freedom from the bondage of communism with the people of the former communist countries; and

•  "Acknowledges the symbolic triumph of democracy over communism."

 

Background

November 9, 2009, marks the 20th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall and the symbolic end of the Cold War. The Cold War was an struggle between communism and democracy throughout the second half of the 20th century. In June 1987, speaking at the Brandenburg Gate, President Reagan said, "Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall!"

On November 9, 1989, in response to protests that had grown to include over 1 million people in Berlin, Gunter Schabowski, the communist East German Minister of Propaganda, announced that the border would be opened for "private trips abroad." Thousands of people immediately flooded the checkpoints at the Berlin Wall and demanded entry into West Berlin causing the overwhelmed East German Border Guards to open the border checkpoints to allow people to cross into West Berlin.

Over 400 million people were subsequently freed from communism at the end of the Cold War in countries then known as the Soviet Union, East Germany, Poland, Hungary, Czechoslovakia, Romania, Bulgaria, Latvia, Estonia, Belarus, Ukraine, Moldova, Lithuania, Georgia, Azerbaijan, Armenia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan.