The Berlin Wall's Fall: Courtesy of SNAFU
“Forty-eight hours after the first Germans clambered atop the Wall, I stood through a freezing night with several thousand Berliners in the muddy no-man’s-land that was Potzdammer Platz at the old heart of pre-war Berlin…We often think of history as something inevitable, a culmination of great, grinding foces that can only lead to one destination. But the reality of 1989, one of the organizers of the mass protests at that time told me, is that
‘It was possible at any point, at any time, for events to take a different course.’ ”
These are the words of Michael Meyer, Newsweek bureau chief in
Events come for a reason. We can find out How but oftentimes, we can never know Why. The fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989 – and its accompanying iconic images – was a decisive factor in the revolutions that brought freedom in
An entirely different thing might have happened, easily, if it weren’t for…little details. I for one will not question it. But 20 years after, I’m happy things turned out the way they did.
This is the inside story, it was November 9, 1989. The people of
His spokesperson, Gunther Schabowski, read the press release. But when asked when it will take effect, he didn’t know.
Improvising, he said, “Immediately” – and all hell broke loose.
“In a hearbeat, the damage was done,” says Meyer. “Astounded East Germans surged like a human sea to the crossing points to the West. Border guards, receiving no instructions and not knowing what else to do, opened them up. The rest is history.”