It seemed like a fact of geopolitical life that would never change: the Berlin Wall, part of the aftermath of World War II and an unyielding reality of the Cold War. But all that changed in the blink of an eye twenty years ago. In one of the most pivotal moments of the 20th century, the Wall came tumbling down. Communism crumbled, the Cold War ended, and a superpower faded. How has the world changed since the Iron Curtain was lifted? Has the triumph of democracy changed life for the better in East Germany? How has political power shifted within Europe? How are Third World countries, once courted as clients, been affected by the end of a two-superpower world?
Above: The individually painted dominos fall in front of Brandenburg Gate along the former route of the wall in Berlin, as part of the celebrations marking the 20th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall. Photo: Axel Schmidt/AFP/Getty Images