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 Germany and Eastern Europe at the time and author of The Year That Changed The World, in a recent article analyzing the 20th anniversary of the fall of the Wall and it significance as an eyewitness with hindsight of two decades.

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 Prague a week later and in Romania shortly after.

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 East Germany have been protesting to the streets for weeks demanding the right to travel. The communist head, Egon Krenz, got fed up and ordered parliament to grant it, starting November 10.

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.”

Watch the documentary movie Berlin Wall: 1961-1989. Photo courtesy of WaveMagazine.net. Your comments are welcome and will be answered. You can link your blog through EasyHyperLinks

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