National Geographic : 1990 Apr
The hammer of history slams into the graffiti-covered barrier, only to be met by an East Berlin water-cannon blast. After the Wall was erected in 1961, 80 people died attempting to escape across it. For emboldened West Berliners, angry graffiti no longer seemed an adequate protest. By afternoon the water cannon was gone, and the realization dawned that East German border guards would no longer defend the Wall with force; the battle was won. Soon the western side of the Wall rang with dozens of victorious hammers and chisels, but the ultrahard concrete yielded only fragments. In the East, as public pressure mounted on the government to speed reform, army crews moved in quickly to bulldoze more than a dozen new openings.