During the 28 years in which the Wall was up, the Brandenburg Gate was situated in East Berlin where it was the pride of the GDR. To the point that when American President Kennedy visited in 1963, red banners were hung over it to prevent him from looking at that part of the city.
Fast forward to that fateful evening of 9 November 1989 and the press conference underway in the German Democratic Republic; bureaucratic language was being spoken, the kind that waters everything down so much that nothing is actually being said. After all, the pro-communist government was indeed in dead water: Gorbachev had opened up some borders with Hungary and Poland and many Germans were beginning to go over to the West with the excuse of taking a trip to a neighbouring country. On the evening in question, a journalist from Italian newsagency ANSA, Riccardo Ehrman, asked a German official when measures preluding to free movement of persons across the Iron Curtain would come into force; the official replied: “As far as I’m concerned, from this moment.” Also applicable, therefore, to West Berlin. A few hours later, the Brandenburg Gate became a passageway again; the Wall came down shortly afterwards.
It took one single question, to-the-point and in context, to redraw Germany’s borders.