The mistake that toppled the Berlin Wall

233,425 views 12,975 173 769
Published on Nov 8, 2019
One of the Cold War's biggest moments began at a routine press conference. Become a Video Lab member! The fall of the Berlin Wall has a lot of memorable moments: US President Ronald Reagan’s declaration to “tear down this wall”; David Hasselhoff singing at the Brandenburg Gate; and Berliners wielding pickaxes and hammers, tearing apart the visible symbol of a divided Europe. But a less spectacular moment actually triggered the crumbling of the wall. It happened at a routine press conference on November 9th, 1989, when East German spokesperson Günter Schabowski was handed an announcement about relaxed travel regulations. In his lack of preparation, he mistakenly insinuated that the checkpoints in the Berlin Wall — which up until then were guarded by soldiers with orders to shoot anyone trying to cross — were now open. They weren’t, but that announcement was all East Berliners needed to storm the wall and demand they be allowed to cross into West Berlin. After that, the wall became obsolete, and soon fell. Follow the timeline leading up to fall here: is a news website that helps you cut through the noise and understand what's really driving the events in the headlines. Check out Watch our full video catalog: Follow Vox on Facebook: Or Twitter: Watch our full video catalog: Follow Vox on Facebook: Or Twitter:


Alberto Neurohr
Alberto Neurohr:
“We dont make mistakes, just happy little accidents” - Bob Ross
The "Mr Gorbachov, tear down this wall" thing isn't big in Germany. But everybody knows the "Uuuh, as far as I know... that's... that's immediately" 😂 I'm serious.

(btw. love the music choices in this vid)
(Sending love from Germany! No more walls! <3)
Pie Nation
Pie Nation:
If the reporter didn't ask the question, '' when does it take effect? '' history as we know it would have been different. They should thank that reporter for asking that question.
"Immediately. Without delay" is kind of a meme here among those with an interest in politics/history. Good on Vox for putting a spotlight on Schabowski!
When do you watch Vox videos after the notification ?

Immediately, without delay.
Agnidh Ghosh
Agnidh Ghosh:
By mistake. Guess that's how the world changes.
For a long time I honestly didn't know, that Americans thought Reagan brought down the Wall
Tori :P
Tori :P:
Is this the orginal "Well they cant stop us all"?
The Arvanite
The Arvanite:
Idk any person in germany who refers to reagans "tear down that wall"...
Seems to be an american myth
I`ve witnessed that night first hand. 
I stood on that wall!
This still gives me chills all those years later!
Asa Coe
Asa Coe:
So they have went from the party of "tear down that wall" to the party of "build up that wall."
Ruth Cuadrado
Ruth Cuadrado:
That Raegan statement is only a thing in the USA. Nobody in Europe remembers that.
YaoMing Tay
YaoMing Tay:
There is nothing more permanent than a temperary solution
Costa Rica
Costa Rica:
From a german citizen i can say: well made video! Congrats, it brought me to tears haha:)
Edin Selimović
Edin Selimović:
"Massive peaceful demonstrations."
Romania: Well yes, but actually no.
Let's just hope that Korea does the same little mistakes
Mujahid Syed
Mujahid Syed:
*"Forget not the tyranny of this wall, nor the love of freedom that made it fall"*

-Unknown graffiti on the Berlin Wall
The reporter should be awarded Pulitzer prize for the action asking "when does it take effect"
Artemis Wolf
Artemis Wolf:
“According to my information...Immediately, without delay”
“Why do I hear boss music?”
As a german, i can only tell that you have published a beautiful video. Even though i am well aware of this event and It's details i got goosebumbs.
Well done Vox, keep on doing good work!
Luke Swan
Luke Swan:
Ends the cold war by accident "oh I'm totally getting fired"
Viktor Klerkx
Viktor Klerkx:
These are the type of mistakes I’m trying to make
7:24 thought this dude was from the future, recording this historic moment with a smartphone
Darth Vaderin
Darth Vaderin:
I mean I know that I know more about the Berlin Wall as a German, but Americans don't know that it all was because of a mistake? I thought that's like the one thing people know, because it was so unexpected!
Alexander The Snivy
Alexander The Snivy:
1987: Republicans: call for tearing down walls

2019: Republicans: call for putting up walls
Martin Amarilla
Martin Amarilla:
Schabowski: Immediately. Without delay.
The wall: well it’s over
Daphne Volante
Daphne Volante:
the joy coming from the people after they crossed is amazing. it almost made me cry.
a ghosh
a ghosh:
When should I submit the assignment? Professor : Immediately, without delay.
There is an unseen wall between elite 1% and the rest of the people: TEAR DOWN THIS WALL.
The Berlin War rose by intention.

Fell by accident.
riru ahm
riru ahm:
Oh God I am in tears and I wasn't even born when that happened.
I hope to experience such joyous moment in my life time.
Boris Müller
Boris Müller:
Area 51 Raid? Pfffft! Berlin Wall... they couldn’t stop them all!
Jeodin Caceres
Jeodin Caceres:
"David Hasselhoff, Tear down this wall!"
9th November is like the biggest day in German history.
Jan Sanono
Jan Sanono:
When your history teacher literally told you this story on Monday lol
Vytas Neviera
Vytas Neviera:
"Massive peaceful demonstrations."

Vox, you forgot that such thing also happened within the Soviet Union at the time - the Baltic states had the Singing revolution also known as the Baltic Way.
Joao Baptista
Joao Baptista:
Ghunter later must of thought after reading it closely: Opss thats about it
Every German knows about this, just letting the commenters know.
"There are no accidents."
- Master Oogway.
Schabowski is like than one kid in class that does and reviews his report the same time.
There's a bit of irony in the fact that 50% of these comments state: Nobody talks about Reagan's "Tear down this wall!" speech.
This is the equivalent of:

Korbinian Bauer
Korbinian Bauer:
It's probably the best known moment of them all here in Germany...
Haley A
Haley A:
The wall would have probably been toppled regardless.
galactic soup
galactic soup:
i love how this was punlished the same day 30 years later
Dark Carousel
Dark Carousel:
This made me cry. Now East Germans want to keep the refugees out and implement racist policies. How quickly they forget.
Souvik RC
Souvik RC:
This has to be the best mistake ever made in history.
I have a piece of the wall that has now sat in my room for 20 years, one day it will have been there longer than it was ever in Berlin.
Algernon Flowers
Algernon Flowers:
The wall should never have been taken down. The US were aggressors against the USSR. Communism will come to the US, and you will all see how beautiful it is.
Phoebe Purtill
Phoebe Purtill:
As soon as he says it, he's like, is that right? No, sir.