SENATE RESOLUTION 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; Congressional Record Vol. 165, No. 169
(Senate - October 24, 2019)

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[Pages S6162-S6163]
From the Congressional Record Online through the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]




SENATE RESOLUTION 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

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

                              S. Res. 385

       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 Germany;
       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 people;
       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;

[[Page S6163]]

       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 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 
     independence;
       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 partnership;
       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 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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