Germany on Saturday marked the 30th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall.
The toppling of the wall on November 9th, 1989, which had divided the Communist-ruled East and the capitalist West in Berlin for almost three decades, was followed a year later by the reunification of Germany in 1990.
On November 9, 1989, the East German border guards, overwhelmed by large crowds, opened the doors to West Berlin, allowing free passage for the first time since the Berlin Wall was built.
On a whirlwind two-day tour of Germany where he revisited the site of his Cold War military service on the former Iron Curtain border and met Merkel and key members of her cabinet, Pompeo looked to shore up transatlantic relations.
That communist authorities finally opened border crossings that day "teaches us that no wall that shuts people out and limits freedom is so tall or broad that it can not be broken through", Merkel said.
German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier thanked his country's Eastern European neighbours for enabling a peaceful revolution.
During the 1989 revolutions, several Soviet-imposed communist regimes in Eastern Europe were toppled as people demanded independence or greater freedoms.
In a renewed attack against Beijing, Pompeo said the "Chinese Communist Party uses tactics and methods to suppress its own people that would be horrifyingly familiar to former East Germans".
He criticised the human rights records of the Russian and Chinese governments, and said: "Today, authoritarianism is once again rising".
Foreign Minister Heiko Maas also used the occasion to appeal for European unity.
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Light installations, concerts and public debates were also planned throughout the city and other parts of Germany to mark the fall of the Wall.
Merkel also recognized that Saturday is the anniversary of "Kristallnacht", or the Night of Broken Glass, an anti-Jewish pogrom in 1938 that foreshadowed the Holocaust.