Text: S.Res.385 — 116th Congress (2019-2020)All Information (Except Text)

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Agreed to Senate (01/08/2020)

[Congressional Bills 116th Congress]
[From the U.S. Government Publishing Office]
[S. Res. 385 Agreed to Senate (ATS)]


  2d Session
S. RES. 385

 Celebrating the 30th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall, the 
 reunification of both Germany and Europe, and the spread of democracy 
                           around the world.



                            October 24, 2019

 Mr. Risch (for himself, Mr. Menendez, Mr. Johnson, Mrs. Shaheen, Mr. 
 Cruz, Mr. Cardin, and Mr. Markey) submitted the following resolution; 
        which was referred to the Committee on Foreign Relations

                           December 17, 2019

 Reported by Mr. Risch, without amendment and with an amendment to the 

                            January 8, 2020

           Considered and agreed to with an amended preamble



 Celebrating the 30th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall, the 
 reunification of both Germany and Europe, and the spread of democracy 
                           around the world.

Whereas November 9, 2019, marks the 30th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin 
        Wall, one of the most visible symbols of communism and the ``Iron 
        Curtain'' that divided Europe, which led to the reunification of 
Whereas, beginning with the Russian Revolution of 1917, communist governments 
        around the world denied freedom to and persecuted their citizens for 
        most of the 20th century, resulting in the deaths of up to 100,000,000 
Whereas, in the aftermath of World War II, the Soviet Union established control 
        over countries in Central and Eastern Europe and further increased its 
        power through the foundation of the Warsaw Pact military alliance 
        between the Soviet Union, Albania, Bulgaria, Czechoslovakia, East 
        Germany, Hungary, Poland, and Romania;
Whereas the Soviet Union blockade of West Berlin in the summer of 1948 left West 
        Berliners with only one month's worth of provisions;
Whereas, in what became known as the ``Berlin Airlift'', the United States and 
        United Kingdom responded to the blockade by airlifting 2,325,809 tons of 
        food and supplies during 277,569 total flights into West Berlin;
Whereas the Soviet Union was forced to lift the blockade of West Berlin on May 
        12, 1949, in light of the success of the Berlin Airlift;
Whereas the Berlin Wall, built in 1961, separated communist East Germany from 
        democratic West Germany, dividing the German people and symbolically 
        dividing the world into democratic and authoritarian spheres;
Whereas, in West Berlin in 1963, President John F. Kennedy spoke out against the 
        Berlin Wall and communism, declaring that ``[f]reedom has many 
        difficulties and democracy is not perfect, but we have never had to put 
        a wall up to keep our people in, to prevent them from leaving us'';
Whereas, during the 28 years of the Berlin Wall's existence, more than 75,000 
        people were imprisoned for attempting to leave East Germany, and more 
        than 1,000 people are estimated to have been killed trying to escape;
Whereas Soviet forces brutally repressed demonstrations against repressive 
        communist governments in Hungary in 1956, Czechoslovakia in 1968, and 
        Poland in 1980;
Whereas the United States Congress played a crucial role in the founding of 
        Radio Free Europe and Radio Liberty, independent and uncensored news 
        outlets that broadcast behind the Iron Curtain and have been credited by 
        former Russian President Boris Yeltsin and former Czech President Vaclav 
        Havel with playing a significant role in the ending of the Cold War;
Whereas, in West Berlin in 1987, President Ronald Reagan, standing at the 
        Brandenburg Gate, symbolically referred to both the physical wall and 
        the division of the world and implored Soviet Premier Mikhail Gorbachev 
        to ``tear down this Wall!'';
Whereas President Reagan stated, ``As long as this gate is closed, as long as 
        this scar of a wall is permitted to stand, it is not the German question 
        alone that remains open, but the question of freedom for all mankind.'';
Whereas, on August 23, 1989, several million people across the Baltic States of 
        Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania, which were illegally annexed in 1940 by 
        the Soviet Union, demonstrated bravery and resilience by joining hands 
        to form a 500-kilometer long human chain to peacefully demand their 
Whereas, at midnight on November 9, 1989, the Berlin Wall symbolically fell, and 
        East Berliners were allowed to cross into the West;
Whereas, that night, East Berliners took pickaxes to this hated symbol of 
        oppression, and during the following three days more than 2,000,000 
        people visited West Berlin from the East;
Whereas, on November 13, 1989, the United States Senate welcomed ``the opening 
        of the Berlin Wall as symbolic of the beginning of the process of reform 
        taking place in the German Democratic Republic (East Germany) and 
        throughout Eastern Europe'';
Whereas, after the fall of the Berlin Wall, a wave of democratic governance 
        swept the world;
Whereas, by the summer of 1990, democratically elected governments had been 
        formed in all former Warsaw Pact countries;
Whereas the reunification of Germany was officially declared on October 3, 1990;
Whereas the process of German reunification faced significant economic, 
        structural, cultural, and political challenges both within Germany and 
        in Europe and took dedicated political leaders and citizens, with the 
        support of allied nations, over a decade to achieve;
Whereas, on December 25, 1991, the Soviet flag was lowered from over the Kremlin 
        for the final time, replaced by the Russian flag;
Whereas Mr. Gorbachev later said, ``The Soviet model was defeated not only on 
        the economic and social levels; it was defeated on a cultural level. Our 
        society, our people, the most educated, the most intellectual, rejected 
        that model on the cultural level because it does not respect the man, 
        oppresses him spiritually and politically.'';
Whereas, since its reunification, Germany has become the world's fourth largest 
        economy, has served as a leading voice in the European Union (EU), the 
        Group of 7, and the United Nations, and has been consistently rated by 
        Freedom House as one of the world's freest countries;
Whereas the United States and Germany share a close and multidimensional 
        relationship, including security cooperation and an economic and trade 
Whereas the United States and Germany share values of freedom, democracy, and 
        human rights and work in tandem to support and uphold these three 
        pillars globally;
Whereas Germany demonstrated unconditional solidarity with the United States 
        following the September 11, 2001, attacks and leadership within NATO 
        during the invocation of Article V of the North Atlantic Treaty in 
        recognition that an attack on one is an attack on all;
Whereas the 30th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall coincides with the 
        70th anniversary of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) and 
        the 15th anniversary of the European Union ``Big Bang'', when 10 mostly 
        post-communist countries joined the EU's community of democracies;
Whereas many former Soviet and communist countries are prospering as a result of 
        their democratic and economic reforms, reflected in their memberships in 
        the EU and NATO; and
Whereas the fall of the Berlin Wall signified the end of the division of Europe 
        and, ultimately, the triumph of democracy over communism: Now, 
        therefore, be it
    Resolved, That the Senate--
            (1) recognizes the 30th anniversary of the fall of the 
        Berlin Wall as the start of German reunification and democratic 
        change in Eastern Europe and much of the rest of the world;
            (2) values the significant efforts made by German and 
        European citizens to reunify and reinvigorate a united Germany;
            (3) recognizes Germany for its steadfast alliance and 
        friendship with the United States, its leadership within the 
        European Union, its commitment to democracy, rule of law, and 
        market-based economics, and its efforts to support these values 
        around the world;
            (4) congratulates the former communist countries of Europe 
        for their substantial progress over the past 30 years towards 
        strengthening their democracies, protecting human rights, 
        combating the corruption endemic to communist regimes, 
        transitioning to market-based economies, and resolving 
        longstanding disputes; and
            (5) reaffirms the United States commitment to supporting 
        democratic reform, and urges these countries to continue this 
        progress so that their democracies and economies can thrive and 
        their people can prosper.

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