When the key Allies of World War II gathered in Potsdam in 1945 to negotiate the conditions that would bring the disastrous conflict to a close, Germany faced a bleak future. Confronted with the responsibility for causing the war, the country stood to suffer its fatal consequences. Germany, including Berlin, was to be partitioned into four occupied zones and, later on, splitting into two states. For nearly five decades, Germany and its people remained torn apart by the Iron Curtain. The fall of the Berlin Wall in November 1989 was the first step towards the country's reunification. With this event began a new chapter in German history. For many Europeans, it has become a defining moment resulting in the end of the Cold War.
The German reunification, formally achieved on 3 October 1990, is one of the most remarkable events of the second half of the 20th century. "No other has elicited such joy in recent German history." – said COL Hans-Werner Zirwes, German Senior National Officer for MNC NE. In his opening address, COL Zirwes emphasized how meaningful it was to celebrate the anniversary within Multinational Corps Northeast. He pointed out that the Corps' member states had experienced the damaging effects of the Cold War as well – yet, they worked hand in hand towards a common goal today:
This fact evokes gratitude and humility. It is a privilege arising from the historic events of 1989 and 1990. (…) Together, we are celebrating the victory of democracy, freedom and prosperity.
Dr. Hans-Peter Bartels, German Parliamentary Commissioner for the Armed Forces, gave a detailed overview on historical and political aspects of the reunification. He also indicated that the security environment had undergone profound transformations since 1990. Thus, Germany should continue to build upon the foundation laid 29 years ago:
"Today, the new unified Germany belongs to the West and is closely entwined with its European neighbours. This is the best thing that has ever happened in our history. We must grasp and defend it." – Dr. Bartels said.
The occasion was highlighted with a brief musical performance delivered by the German Armed Forces' clarinet quarter.