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Thousands of East Germans stream through the Berlin Wall a few days after its opening on November 9th, 1989 when the East German Government announced it would start granting exit visas to anyone who wanted to go to the West. The announcement was misinterpreted as meaning the border was now open and East German border guards were unable to stop the rush of people to the Wall. Within hours people were smashing sections of the Wall with their own hand tools and these first cracks led to the complete opening of the border within days.