13 Fantastic Photos to Celebrate the Fall of the Berlin Wall on Its 25th Anniversary

Sunday marks the 25th year since thousands of cheering Germans were united for the first time in a generation when the Berlin Wall fell on Nov. 9, 1989.

The 87-mile concrete barrier was erected on a single night on August 13, 1961 to sever West Berlin's access to East Berlin and East Germany.

But on Nov. 9, 1989, after they overpowered border security guards, Berliners from both East and West Germany linked hands and danced around their liberated territory. Many climbed over the wall, an act that was met by gunshot in the previous days and years before the wall fell.

The wall was supposedly meant to protect and insulate the young socialist republic from residual fascism in non-communist and West Germany, according to East German authorities at the time. Yet by 1961, 3.5 million people had already fled East Germany. Each successful departure chipped away from the entire Soviet stronghold across Central and Eastern Europe. The collapse of the Berlin Wall in 1989 unleashed a domino effect of change, fueling revolutions in Hungary, Bulgaria, Czechoslovakia and Romania that same year.

To commemorate the wall's infamous toppling, here are some photos from that fateful day that show just how important of an event this was in the country's — and the world's — history.

Two East German guards patrolled atop the Berlin Wall with the illuminated Bradenburg Gate in the background on November 14, 1989.AP
Five days before the Berlin Wall fell, one million East Germans demonstrated their wish for freedom in the streets of East Berlin. Getty Images
A section of the wall was torn down on November 10, 1989.Getty Images
East Berliners get helping hands from West Berliners as they climbed over the Berlin Wall on November 10, 1989.AP
Berliners celebrate on top of the wall as East Germans, backs to camera, flood through the dismantled Berlin Wall on November 12, 1989.AP
East German border policemen refuse to shake hands with a Berliner who stretches out his hands on November 10, 1989.AP
East German border guards look through a hole in the Berlin Wall after demonstrators pulled down one segment of the wall at Bradenburg Gate on November 10, 1989.AP
East German border guards standing atop the wall as demonstrators rush towards the barrier on November 10, 1989.AP
East and West Berliners mingles as they celebrate in front of a control station on East Berlin territory on November 10, 1989.AP
Crowds at the Brandenburg Gate bear witness to the fall of the Berlin Wall, 10th November 1989.Getty Images
Hulda, 3, placed flowers in between slats of the former Berlin Wall at the Berlin Wall Memorial at Bernauer Strasse on the 25th anniversary of the fall of the Wall on November 9, 2014 in Berlin, Germany. The city of Berlin is commemorating the 25th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall with an installation of 6,800 lamps coupled with illuminated balloons along a 15km route where the Wall once ran and divided the city into capitalist West and communist East. Getty Images
Fireworks commemorated the anniversary at Bradenburg Gate on November 9, 2014.AP

Correction: Nov. 10, 2014