This Week in EUCOM History: November 5-11, 1989
November 9, 1989 -- Fall of the Berlin Wall.
Communist-controlled East Germany opens checkpoints in the Berlin Wall allowing its citizens to travel to West Germany. This key event led to the eventual reunification of East and West Germany.
In a press conference on Nov. 9, 1989 GDR central committee spokesman Guenter Schabowski unintentionally announced that citizens could travel to West Germany immediately. Schabowski was asked just before 7 p.m. about when a new law permitting GDR citizens more freedom of travel would go into effect. Schabowski famously told the journalist: "As far as I know, that goes into effect now, immediately."
Immediately following the remark, GDR citizens rushed to the border separating East and West Berlin, wanting to visit the western part of the city. The GDR border guards were unaware of the press conference, and, taken aback by the crowds gathering in front of them, made repeated calls to their superiors asking for guidance. They successfully prevented citizens from crossing the border for three hours.
But later in the evening, the guards relented and opened the borders. People were able to cross freely from East to West for the first time since the wall was erected on August 21, 1961.
The fall of the Berlin Wall signaled the end of the Cold War. At this time he US began to reassess their military organizational structure in Europe. In the days following November 9, 1989 written proposals were made to then Chairman of the Joint Chiefs Gen Colin Powell that EUCOM be disestablished and brought under Atlantic Command as a subordinate unified command.
The end of the Cold War meant shrinking budgets and switching from a global to a regional strategy. When the next written change to the Unified Command Plan was published in May 1991, EUCOM remained as a Combatant Command due to the U.S.’s commitment to the defense of Europe.
Source: “The History of the Unified Command Plan 1946-1993” The Joint History Office, Office of the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.
Find more articles tagged with:
U.S. Special Operations Command Europe celebrated the 59th Anniversary of SOCEUR, Jan. 22 at Patch Barracks.
Combined Endeavor 13 kicks off in Grafenwoehr, Germany.
For the first time in history, American armed forces instructed its JFO course to international students. A keystone of the training was to enhance strategic capabilities of allied and NATO forces.
HENRI CHAPELLE, Belgium – Hundreds of people gathered May 25 at Henri Chapelle American Cemetery, where amid the rolling hills of Belgium’s countryside is the final resting place of 7,992 U.S. troops who died in World War II.
On April 24, 2013, the A-10 Thunderbolt took flight over Grafenwoehr Training Area’s impact area for the last time.
Representatives from 10 nations met to plan the 41st Exercise Baltic Operations (BALTOPS) at the naval base in Kiel, Germany, Apr. 9-11. BALTOPS 13, annually hosted by the United States Navy, aims to improve maritime security in the Baltic Sea through increased interoperability and cooperation among regional allies.
Gen. Philip M. Breedlove, U.S. Air Forces in Europe and U.S. Air Forces Africa commander, presented the USAFE-AFAFRICA Medal of Distinction to a German politician here March 8.
Proud Manta 2013, NATO’s largest anti-submarine warfare exercise, began in the Ionian Sea, Feb. 23.
It takes a lot to support U.S. Patriot batteries and personnel from three nations arriving at Incirlik. Fortunately, the 39th Force Support Squadron is prepared.
When the heat, flames and explosion from the simulated improvised explosive device blast rocked their Dingo, German soldiers reacted quickly – speeding through the kill zone to safety.