The Year that Changed the World: The Untold Story Behind the Fall of the Berlin Wall

The Year that Changed the World: The Untold Story Behind the Fall of the Berlin Wall

Michael Meyer

Language: English

Pages: 272

ISBN: 1416558489

Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub


A riveting, eyewitness account of the collapse of communism in Eastern Europe and the end of the Cold War from the Newsweek Bureau Chief in that region at the time. Twenty years after the fall of the Berlin Wall, many still believe it was the words of President Ronald Regan, “Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall!,” that brought the Cold War to an end. Michael Meyer disagrees, and in this extraordinarily compelling account, explains why. Drawing together breathtakingly vivid, on-the-ground accounts of the rise of Solidarity in Poland, the stealth opening of the Hungarian border, the Velvet Revolution in Prague, and the collapse of the infamous wall in Berlin, Meyer shows how American intransigence contributed little to achieving such world-shaking change. In his reporting from the frontlines of the revolution in Eastern Europe between 1988 and 1992, he interviewed a wide range of local leaders, including VÁclav Havel and Lech Walesa. Meyer’s descriptions of the way their brave stands were decisive in bringing democracy to Eastern Europe provide a crucial refutation of a misunderstanding of history that has been deliberately employed to help push the United States into the intractable conflicts it faces today.

City of Angels; or, The Overcoat of Dr. Freud: A Novel

The Soviet Union: A Very Short Introduction (Very Short Introductions)

Reinventing Politics: Eastern Europe from Stalin to Havel

The Last Empire: The Final Days of the Soviet Union

Lenin's Laureate: Zhores Alferov's Life in Communist Science

Class Theory and History: Capitalism and Communism in the USSR

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Dresden, on contemporary news reports as well as two indispensable histories: Wir sind das Volk, a painstaking and ultra-detailed chronicle from October 7 through December 17, 1989, published in 1990 by Hannes Bahrman and Christoph Links, and Dissolution: The Crisis of Communism and the End of East Germany, 1997, an autopsy of East Germany’s final years by Charles S. Maier, a professor of history at Harvard University. The conversation between Egon Krenz and Milos Jakes, as well as the latter’s

and every contest for which they were eligible in the Sejm. (Under the Round Table agreement, two-thirds of these House seats were reserved for the communists and affiliated parties.) Worse, Solidarity humiliated a “national list” of thirty-five top government candidates. These partybacked VIPs ran unopposed but needed 50 percent of the vote to stay in parliament: ministers of defense, interior, foreign affairs, the head of the party. All but two went down. Afterward, with some justification,

world as it is known. Aside from a certain softness around the eyes, Gorbachev looked little different from his old-guard predecessors. Gray-suited and stockily built, the son of peasant farmers in Stavropol in remote southern Russia, he had risen through the ranks of the party by virtue of bureaucratic smarts and hard work. Only a sharp sense of humor, a certain outspokenness and the birthmark on his forehead, looking nothing so much as a large bird-dropping, seemed to distinguish him from the

revolution,” I wrote in my notebook. Havel told me on the fly that he deliberately muted his speech, for fear of arousing the crowd. It’s a balancing act, he explained: to keep up the pressure without letting it get out of hand. He feared anything extreme, such as the possibility that inflamed radicals would do something stupid such as storm party headquarters, forcing the police or the military into what everyone called a “Chinese solution.” He also worried that party or police extremists could

contained, nor was he allowed to stay while Nemeth read it. Privately he opened it. The Soviet Union is pleased to inform you, it read, that all nuclear weapons have been removed from Hungarian soil—weapons that Moscow had always denied deploying in Hungary or other Warsaw Pact nations. This was the grim secret that Nemeth had become privy to in December 1988, after being named prime minister. He had raised the matter with Gorbachev in March, insisting that the weapons be withdrawn despite his

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