In autumn 1989 the world watched transfixed as East German citizens, demonstrating under the banner 'We are the people!', staged the only successful, totally peaceful revolution in German history. By October 1990, the process of reunification was formally concluded, bringing together a nation that had been divided for almost four decades. Now, nearly twenty years later, it is possible to judge the causes and consequences of the revolution more clearly. Was the fall of the Berlin Wall an unexpected fluke, or was it, in fact, the result of a long process of engagement between East and West? And did the momentous events of 1989 really signal the start of a bright new future for a united Germany? In this probing and wide-ranging account, Lothar Kettenacker considers the background behind the division of Germany and explains how the Berlin Wall and its death trap border proved to be the most horrendous manifestation of East-West antagonism. He also looks beyond 1990 to show how the confusion caused by the sudden collapse of the GDR and the fusion of two radically different economies is proving to be a challenge that will preoccupy Germany for generations to come.