November 9 should be the day when Germans have one big party. It’s a day that should be akin to the July 4 in the USA or July 14 in France. A day when Germans look back and remember something positive, something constructive about which they can be justifiably proud.
November 9, 1989 was the day that the “anti-fascist protection wall” – or the Berlin Wall to you and me – was finally and definitively breached. Berlin would no longer be divided by barbed wire and land mines. Overnight, German, European and indeed global geopolitics fundamentally changed.
Yet when Germans remember this anniversary, they do so carefully. November 9, 1989 was a day of joy and celebration but previous November 9ths were not. November 9 1938 saw the mass burning of synagogues and Jewish property in the Reichskristallnacht, while November 9 1923 had been when Hitler launched an (unsuccessful) coup in Bavaria.