On the evening of November 9, 1989, thousands of East Germans—including a 35-year-old chemist named Angela Merkel—peacefully crossed into West Berlin amid chaos and the confusion at the Berlin Wall. Within hours, the gates of the most notorious symbol of the Cold War opened for good, as champagne flowed and jubilant Germans with pickaxes began to lop off large chunks of the wall.
1989-2001: America’s Long Lost Weekend
From the fall of the Berlin Wall to 9/11, we had relative peace and prosperity. It was an opportunity to salve some festering national wounds. We squandered it completely—and helped give rise to the crises we’re dealing with today.