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The Berlin Wall Has Been Torn Down For Longer Than It Was Up — For Real This Time

After a few false starts in January, Feb. 5 marks the day when the post-Berlin Wall period has outlasted the Berlin Wall itself.

Posted on February 5, 2018, at 4:29 p.m. ET

Monday marked a big day for Germany's history: As of Feb. 5, 2018, the Berlin Wall has been torn down for longer than it stood dividing East and West Germany.

For nearly three decades, the wall kept East Berliners from fleeing their half of the divided city, keeping them inside communist East Germany, even as West Berlin was under capitalist control. But in 1989 the symbol of Cold War division finally fell as protesters, then the government itself, ripped it down.
Gerard Malie / AFP / Getty Images

For nearly three decades, the wall kept East Berliners from fleeing their half of the divided city, keeping them inside communist East Germany, even as West Berlin was under capitalist control. But in 1989 the symbol of Cold War division finally fell as protesters, then the government itself, ripped it down.

This was, rightly, a huge day in Germany, where they even came up with a name for the event: Zirkeltag.

#Zirkeltag: It’s a monumental day in #Germany today 🇩🇪 The Berlin Wall has now been gone for as long as it stood:… https://t.co/3E8z8eTOpI

But hold on, you might say if you've been hanging out online for the last few months, I could have sworn that day came and went already?

Str Old / Reuters

Last month, several tweets went viral, each claiming to be on the day when the wall had been knocked down for longer than it had been up.

Today the Berlin Wall has been down longer than it stood, and all I want is another taste of how it felt when it fe… https://t.co/I0AgzTw3cA

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Some people took what they assumed was a historic day as an opportunity to look at where politics stand today.

On the day the Berlin Wall's been down longer than it was up, it's worth remembering the optimism of Europe in the… https://t.co/q3LlR40Nem

Others waxed eloquent about how much longer bridges lasted than walls.

It is quite telling that as of yesterday, the Berlin Wall has been a pile of rubble longer than it existed as a wal… https://t.co/caWVQPW9eL

One simple tweet in particular, sent out by user @GuyMazzeo on Jan. 7, garnered more than 6,000 retweets.

Today, the Berlin Wall has been down longer than it was up.

But nope, the milestone finally came around for real on Monday. And according to Peter Sparding of the German Marshall Fund, the dates related to the Berlin Wall are extremely clear in Germany.

"In Germany the dates are very clear I think that mark the start of when it was built and the fall," Sparding, who hadn't seen the previous tweets, told BuzzFeed News in a phone interview. "Aug. 13, 1961, is generally seen as the date it was built, of course, but it wasn't built in a day, so I wonder if that's what people are confused about.""And then the date it came down is Nov. 9, [1989], so there might be some confusion because that's when it was first opened," he said.
Reuters

"In Germany the dates are very clear I think that mark the start of when it was built and the fall," Sparding, who hadn't seen the previous tweets, told BuzzFeed News in a phone interview. "Aug. 13, 1961, is generally seen as the date it was built, of course, but it wasn't built in a day, so I wonder if that's what people are confused about."

"And then the date it came down is Nov. 9, [1989], so there might be some confusion because that's when it was first opened," he said.

In a later email exchange, Sparding supposed that someone could have done the math and been off by exactly one month, sparking the chain reaction that led us to today.

Fabrizio Bensch / Reuters

In any case, welcome to the post–post–Berlin Wall era everyone! For real!

Wolfgang Rattay / Reuters
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