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VOA Looks Back at the Fall of the Berlin Wall

A radio, television, and Internet series looks back on the 20th anniversary

Washington, D.C., November 3, 2009 – The Voice of America (VOA) will broadcast this week a radio, television and Internet series on the 20th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall. Reports from the United States, Germany, Poland, Hungary and Africa will examine how this event on November 9, 1989 set a new course over the last 20 years for the world as we know it.

“Historically, this is a perfect time to look back at events and see how they have shaped our world today,” said VOA Executive Editor Steve Redisch. “The fall of the Berlin Wall is recent enough for us to get eyewitness accounts, yet distant enough so that we can also get impressions from a whole new generation that has grown up in a democratic society.”

Why was the Berlin Wall a symbol of the Cold War? What prompted East German authorities to build it in the first place, and why did it ultimately collapse? What are some of the geopolitical ramifications of that momentous event? What do today’s Berliners remember about the Wall? These and other questions will be answered in a series of reports from VOA senior correspondent Andre de Nesnera in Washington and VOA correspondent Sonja Pace in Berlin.

From Europe, VOA correspondent Peter Fedynsky looks at the Solidarity Movement in 1980s Poland and what 20 years of freedom has meant for workers whose movement helped to bring down the Iron Curtain. Fedynsky also examines the mixed feelings many Hungarians have 20 years after Communism came to an end. While preparing his reports for this series, he was able to interview Hungarian and Polish young people who were born too late to know life under communism.

VOA’s Johannesburg correspondent Scott Bobb will file on how the collapse of the Berlin Wall affected the African continent. Washington-based VOA news writer Mark Snowiss answers the question, would the Wall and communism have collapsed on their own or did it result from U.S. policies?

Special coverage of the fall of the Berlin Wall will be available at

The Voice of America, which first went on the air in 1942, is a multimedia international broadcasting service funded by the U.S. government through the Broadcasting Board of Governors. VOA broadcasts approximately 1,500 hours of news, information, educational, and cultural programming every week to an estimated worldwide audience of more than 125 million people. Programs are produced in 45 languages.

For more information, please call VOA Public Relations at (202) 203-4959, or e-mail