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9th November 1989: And the wall came tumbling down


Polonius3 1,000 | 12,448  
9 Nov 2009 /  #1
WHat is your take on the collapse of the Berlin wall as well as the way its 20th anniversary is being celebrated? Do you recall where you were and what you thought when you first learnt the wall was being torn down?

In the order of importance which of the following made the biggest contribution to the collapse of the iron curtian:
Ronald Reagan, Lech Wałęsa, Adam Michnik, John Paul II, Helmut Kohl, Michail Gorbachev, Zbigniew Brzeziński, TZadeusz Mazowiecki, Gen. Jaruzelski, Herr Schabowski, George Bush Sr, Margaret Thatcher, Vaclav Havel, Jacek Kuroń, others....?
Bratwurst Boy 5 | 9,836  
9 Nov 2009 /  #2
PARTYYYYY! Oh and for your question...Gorbatschov, definitely.
markcooper 4 | 80  
9 Nov 2009 /  #3
Polonius3

Was living in Berlin at the time ( Kladow district), and was in the Air Force. Went back there a few months ago. Suprising how many people would like the wall put back up. Conveniently forgetting the STASI, the effect they had on everyday life, and the brutality involved in running this mass prison. I don't think the GDR would have been a nice place to live
szkotja2007 27 | 1,500  
9 Nov 2009 /  #4
others....?

It was the border guards who decided to let people through.

There was confusion at the 4 am TV announcement. Nobody had instructed the guards so they had to make the decision themselves.
markcooper 4 | 80  
9 Nov 2009 /  #5
Oh and for your question...Gorbatschov, definitely.

I would say Leonid Brezhnev. For failing to notice economic changes around the world and basically sticking his head in the sand ( Which is what russians / russia does best) Hence Russia not making the nessessary adjustments. A decade later they were bankcrupt.
Crow 137 | 7,723  
9 Nov 2009 /  #6
9 November 1989: And the wall came tumbing down

and Germany consumed Yugoslavia
z_darius 14 | 3,969  
9 Nov 2009 /  #7
Oh and for your question...Gorbatschov, definitely.

IMO all Gorby did was realize that the resistance was futile, so he wasn't a driving force by any stretch of imagination.

I think it was relentless push of Reagan, JPII and the Poles against the communism. All the others followed. Merkel certainly thanked Poles and Walesa:

Chancellor Angela Merkel thanked the Poles , " Solidarity " and Lech Walesa 's contribution to the overthrow of communism 20 years ago . The head of the German government said that the activities of the "Solidarity" she added courage opposition members in the former GDR . Merkel spoke on the bridge near the former border crossing point in Berlin Bornholmer Strasie.

It was there late in the evening on 9 November 1989 went up first barriers, allowing East German citizens crossing into West Berlin.


I'd agree with szkotja2007 on the immediate signal to go to the wall and cross it, except that people were actually allowed (or so they thought) by Herr Schabowski to cross the wall. In other words, East Germans waited dutifully for a signal and eventually they were allowed by a rep. of the commie government to do what they did 20 years ago.
Bratwurst Boy 5 | 9,836  
9 Nov 2009 /  #8
Suprising how many people would like the wall put back up.

1 in 8 after the newest poll...makes it 2 in 16 or 3 in 24...I think more people would wish for the third Reich back actually!

I wonder how many Poles want Communism back...are there any polls?

IMO all Gorby did was realize that the resistance was futile, so he wasn't a driving force by any stretch of imagination.

It wasn't about "resistance" at all..without his perestroika the panzers would had rolled in Leipzig as the GDR asked the Russians for help.

But the moment as Gorbatschov told Honnecker that he would do exactly nothing the dices were fallen...

I think it was relentless push of Reagan, JPII and the Poles against the communism. All the others followed. Merkel certainly thanked Poles and Walesa.

And I'm quite sure without the perestroika the movements would been just another defeated uprising as it happened before...this empire crumbled at the head, in Moscow, not in Warsaw or Berlin.

In other words, East Germans waited dutifully for a signal

ROFL
I would wanted to see you big mouth trying to flee over the wall...but who knows..maybe your polish pope could have worked wonders!

and Germany consumed Yugoslavia

You mean we aquired a new province? Niiiiiice! :)
TheOther 5 | 3,831  
9 Nov 2009 /  #9
Michail Gorbachev

For opening the Iron Curtain and bringing down the Wall: Michail Gorbachev, Ronald Reagan, Lech Wałęsa, Helmut Kohl.

Thatcher was just a stupid b*tch. She later tried to prevent the German unification from happening and was whinging that "we (the Brits) have won the war...".
sjam 2 | 541  
9 Nov 2009 /  #10
biggest contribution to the collapse of the iron curtian:

IMO the US Strategic Defense Initiative budget.
SzwedwPolsce 11 | 1,595  
9 Nov 2009 /  #11
The post-war history of Europe is complicated but very interesting.

I'm surprised that DDR and the rest of the communistic block didn't collapse earlier.
Listen to what Poles, who were adults back then, think about the commie years... hehe.

But of course the integration of the BRD and DDR could have been done in a better way.
SeanBM 35 | 5,808  
9 Nov 2009 /  #12
Oh and for your question...Gorbatschov, definitely.

Not the Hoff? :)

Listen to what Poles, who were adults back then, think about the commie years... hehe.

I find it very interesting to talk to people from this era here in Poland.
It is different to a lot of the other communist countries I have visited, as the people I have met and spoke to here do not miss communism the way some people do in other countries.
z_darius 14 | 3,969  
9 Nov 2009 /  #13
this empire crumbled at the head, in Moscow, not in Warsaw or Berlin.

Or perhaps it crumbled in Washington, DC and the Vatican?
Bratwurst Boy 5 | 9,836  
9 Nov 2009 /  #14
Not the Hoff? :)

Naaaah

I find it very interesting to talk to people from this era here in Poland.

You sure?

beatroot.blogspot.com/2006/06/are-poles-happy-now.html

Or perhaps it crumbled in Washington, DC and the Vatican?

I don't think so...if it would had been for Washington or the Vatican it would had already crumbled much, much earlier...they did everything they possible could.

No, it had to and did crumble at home! Perestroika in Moscow was the most important key to everything what followed in this autumn...

The moment the GDR did forbid the publication of a soviet newspaper everything was upside down...till then the official mantra had been: "Von der Sowietunion lernen heißt siegen lernen!"
szkotja2007 27 | 1,500  
9 Nov 2009 /  #15
The fact that the GDR had a crap football team may also have contributed.
z_darius 14 | 3,969  
9 Nov 2009 /  #16
I don't think so...if it would had been for Washington or the Vatican it would had already crumbled much, much earlier..

How much earlier?

It took Reagan/JP2... what? 6 years? I'd say that's amazingly fast, considering the task at hand. Mind you, the US paid a huge price for that too.

I think you're confusing cause and effect. What happened in Moscow or Berlin were effects of what happened in Washington, DC and the Vatican.
Bratwurst Boy 5 | 9,836  
9 Nov 2009 /  #17
It took Reagan/JP2... what? 6 years? I

Ever heard of the "cold war"? ;) Already going for 50+ years!
Do you think that started with Reagan or the pope? As if Moscow had cared...before perestroika that is!
Do you really think hard core stalinists would have given a fart about some PR stunt on the wall or some protestors on some wharf or what a religious nutter thinks about them who most of them don't gave a **** about religion anyhow? Get real!

What happened in Moscow or Berlin were effects of what happened in Washington, DC and the Vatican.

That's not logical!
Fights for freedom and uprisings had happened in the eastern bloc before, and they were handled with the usual means every time. (Where was Washington or the Vatican in Prague or Budapest???)

The cold war pitted the whole western world against the communist bloc for decades already...but still nobody believed the day before it happened that the wall would really come down so soon.

No...it needed the change in Moscow to allow all that to happen, it was alone Gorbatschows decision to let it go and not send the military, not Washingtons, not Warsaws, and surely not Berlins.
z_darius 14 | 3,969  
9 Nov 2009 /  #18
Ever heard of the "cold war"? ;) Already going for 50+ years!

Yes, I may have heard of the cold war. Nothing happened. Just some propaganda on both sides against the other and some awesome inventions in the area of weaponry. No concrete steps taken by Americans to actually abolish the the USSR. That started with Reagan.

Do you really think hard core stalinists would have given a fart about some PR stunt on the wall or some protestors on some wharf or what a religious nutter thinks about them who most of them don't gave a **** about religion anyhow? Get real!

At the time the West didn't care either. After all it was the Allies who participated in shaping post WW2 Europe.

No...it needed the change in Moscow to allow all that to happen, it was alone Gorbatschows decision to let it go and not send the military, not Washingtons, not Warsaws, and surely not Berlins.

Of course a change in Moscow was needed and I wouldn't say that Gorby was insignificant in the process of dismantling the USSR. To his credit the process was made fairly peaceful and relatively blood-less. But then, what options did he have at the steer of a wrecked ship? The Soviets only recently were taught a lesson in Afghanistan and the USSR was virtually bankrupt. Eventually they would have had enough trouble within the USSR borders and not need ones outside it. They knew their time was running short. For fuks sake, they were running out of food. How long do you think before they would be able to keep sucking food out of Poland while taking Russians the situation is crappy becaus they have to feed Poles?

The USSR was not in a position to fight the satellites without bloodshed rivaling that during WW2. Even the the staunchest commies realized that.

Of course East Germans were not to be counted on in case or major insurgency. They were too well behaved. But there have always been Poles, Czechs, Hungarians and the Baltics. Could have they lost and be in an even worse situation tthan before insurgency? Sure. But they didn't.

That's why, I think, Merkel thanked Poles and Walesa.
Bratwurst Boy 5 | 9,836  
9 Nov 2009 /  #19
No, the majority surely didn't.
Gorbatschov himself wasn't sure he would not be putsched against...he could never be sure and he told so. It was a very narrow thing. It could have become violent very quickly! He also took a great personal risk as the hardliner in his own party were itching already...

Of course East Germans were not to be counted on in case or major insurgency.

Well...if it makes you feel better to classify the people in the eastern bloc please do.
You have no idea about the people and the life in the GDR...you are just a stupid idiot who thinks some pope in a far away Vatican has more influence than the one man with the proverbial thumb on the proverbial trigger...what's next? "Polish prayers" made the wall stones tumbling down?

Everybody knows about polish traditions to overestimate their influence every time but you are ridiculous!

Of course East Germans were not to be counted on in case or major insurgency.

Yeah...no east german Panzers to supress the uprising in Prague...right! But Moscow could count on the polish allies...hey...wait...where was the pope then???
z_darius 14 | 3,969  
9 Nov 2009 /  #20
Gorbatschov himself wasn't sure he would not be putsched against...he could never be sure and he told so..

It did get violent. Almost. The problem was that even in the USSR there was a lot of internal fight up there in the politburo.

Again, hardliners could have won but they didn't. Not even when they send the tanks to the streets. A year after free elections on some former commie countries the Soviet soldiers refused to side with the communists. To me what happened in Moscow in 1991 was much more spectacular than the demolition crews of young East Germans after they had a few beers for courage, and after the Schabowski's speech that could have been interpreted like a go ahead.

Lemme contrast that with what happened a bit earlier. When in 1995 I was bringing some books from West Berlin to Poland (obviously via GDR) only East German guards inquired about the actual titles of the books. They found something of interest so they called Polish guards to investigate (books were in Polish). Three Poles came. One was some kind of a civilian border official, accompanied by two border patrol soldiers. The civilian official, told me not to bring too many of the same title in the future because those East German pr*cks always pick on books, and there is only so much Polish guards can do to pretend the books are acceptable to the commies in Poland.

Yeah...no east german Panzers to supress the uprising in Prague...right! But Moscow could count on the polish allies...

Yes, it is a shameful moment of Poland's history. As shameful as East German offer to send troops to Poland to squash the Solidarity movement.
Bratwurst Boy 5 | 9,836  
9 Nov 2009 /  #21
Again, hardliners could have won but they didn't.

Nobody could knew that before hand, Gorbatschov surely didn't.
You speak with hindsight!

I actually don't understand what you discuss....do you want to blame the East Germans for living in a much more restrictive dictatorship than Poland? You are truly nuts!

In the end...who cares...tonight is party in Berlin! Lotsa guests here....Sarkozy just trying his German: "Wir sind Berlin!"
Now Medwedew...in german too...not bad...

Yes, it is a shameful moment of Poland's history. As shameful as East German offer to send troops to Poland to squash the Solidarity movement.

Well the one did, the other did not!
z_darius 14 | 3,969  
9 Nov 2009 /  #22
You speak with hindsight!

The whole thread is a hindsight.
In 1980's nobody could guarrantee the commies would fall, and yet some tried to achueve that while others didn't. Obviously, 1980's it would have been even harder to predict who would be primarily responsible for the collapse if the Soviet blocks. But we know now, and we knew then who was trying hard to make it a reality.

Well the one did, the other did not!

'cept for Polish troops were directed by the USSR while GDR offered a "gesture" on their own, and actually the Soviets decided the idea was idiotic.

In the end...who cares...tonight is party in Berlin!

Exactly.
BBoy, you need to go out and have a beer or two.
Have fun.
Borrka 37 | 594  
9 Nov 2009 /  #23
Bratwurst Boy
Not Gorbi but spirit of the history.
As a matter of fact nobody knows it exactly.
Perhaps economy.
Bratwurst Boy 5 | 9,836  
9 Nov 2009 /  #24
'cept for Polish troops were directed by the USSR while GDR offered a "gesture" on their own, and actually the Soviets decided the idea was idiotic.

Oh please...listening to you (and others) it's always the Russians or his grandmom but miraculously never Poles who did anything (besides brave resisting of course).

Another thing you have to work through and reassess as a people!
You had barely any soviet troops on your soil, you were much less brutal governed than the GDR but still it took you till '89 too (inclusive Washington and the Pope) and you helped Moscow to supress other uprisings (with polish soldiers in the tanks).
z_darius 14 | 3,969  
9 Nov 2009 /  #25
You had barely any soviet troops on your soil

Guess how long it took Soviets to cross the GDR/Polish border.
I wonder how old you are and how much you remember. I remember column after column of Soviet tanks going to and from GDR, and a military train after a military train filled with Soviet troops on the same route. BBoy, most Soviet troops stationed in GDR came there via Poland.

you were much less brutal governed

I wonder what that was.
Do you?

but still it took you till '89 too

Yes, it wasn't easy and it took a few attempts.
East Germans gave up after one, and that's why I considered them "well behaved".
Crow 137 | 7,723  
9 Nov 2009 /  #26
in some twisted way i am proud with Germany. On the end, in general, Germans are germanized former Serbs
Bratwurst Boy 5 | 9,836  
9 Nov 2009 /  #27
BBoy, most Soviet troops stationed in GDR came there via Poland.

Well, they came for the GDR, not for Poland...

East Germans gave up after one, and that's why I considered them "well behaved".

Well...how many Poles fled out of Poland at mortal danger? And how many of them got killed or maimed? Help me out with the number here please, I forgot...

On the other hand maybe it is some polish logic that I as a German just can't follow but when you mock the eastern Germans for being "well behaved" in a much more restrictive system, with much higher odds stacked against them (number of soviet occupation troops) than in Poland, to what makes this the Poles then? Slimers?

What were you doing all the time???
ShawnH 8 | 1,498  
9 Nov 2009 /  #28
Walesa is about to push over the first chunk of a 2km long wall. It is nicely decorated in the colours of the Polish Flag. That symbolism in itself speaks to the role that Poland played in the downfall of Communist Rule in Europe.

Regardless of who had the most occupiers/victims/riots/uprisings etc, I for one am happy that it happened.
Bratwurst Boy 5 | 9,836  
9 Nov 2009 /  #29
That symbolism in itself speaks to the role that Poland played in the downfall of Communist Rule in Europe.

I think it's an error...and they should had let Gorbi do that. But I think Gorbatschov being the head of the state who actually the peaceful revolutions were against was not the first choice for this reason.

Be serious, as if Walesa or other Poles could give a **** about the Berlin wall at all...

And it's raining cats and dogs right now! :(
z_darius 14 | 3,969  
9 Nov 2009 /  #30
Well...how many Poles fled out of Poland at mortal danger?

Fly to where? To GDR? CSRR? USSR? Try to swim to Sweden across the Baltic?

Poland had no wall with a "paradise" on the other side.
The technology of escaping Poland was different than GDR. We had no wall to jump. We had a whole country of dedicated communist population of GDR to travel through.

And how many of them got killed or maimed? Help me out with the number here please, I forgot..

You mean any specific period, or the combined total?
And also, do you mean the period before the Soviets deported 1.7 million Poles to Siberia or after. Will 45 killed, 1165 injured and 3,000 arrested do? That was in 6 days only, in 1970, just one example of a few events of that nature in Poland.

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