The Berlin Wall came down 25 years ago. For many, it represented the end of communism and the Cold War in Europe. It also reduced the likelihood of nuclear conflict. Hope sprang up as the wall came tumbling down. Two-and-a-half decades later, former Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev warned that the world is on the brink of a new Cold War. He explained why in a speech he gave in Berlin. He said the West had not fulfilled promises it made after 1989. He said: "The world is on the brink of a new Cold War. Some say that it has already begun." He also criticised the U.N. for doing so little.
The Berlin Wall existed between 1961 and 1990. It completely isolated West Berlin. Western powers controlled life in West Berlin, while East Germany controlled the rest. The barrier had guard towers on top of large concrete walls. Anyone who tried to cross to the west was either shot or arrested by the East German border police. The wall symbolised the "Iron Curtain" that separated Western Europe and the Eastern Bloc. In 1989, a series of major political changes in the Eastern Bloc led to the Wall coming down. Germany was reunified in October 1990.