East Germany

On the night of November 9, 1989, massive crowds surged toward the Berlin Wall, drawn by an announcement that caught the world by surprise: East Germans could now move freely to the West. The Wall -- infamous symbol of divided Cold War Europe -- seemed to be falling. But the opening of the gates that night was not planned by the East German ruling regime -- nor was it the result of a bargain between either Ronald Reagan or George H.W. Bush and Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev.

It was an accident.

In The Collapse, prize-winning historian Mary Elise Sarotte reveals how a perfect storm of decisions made by daring underground revolutionaries, disgruntled Stasi officers, and dictatorial party bosses sparked an unexpected series of events culminating in the chaotic fall of the Wall. With a novelist's eye for character and detail, she brings to vivid life a story that sweeps across Budapest, Prague, Dresden, and Leipzig and up to the armed checkpoints in Berlin.

We meet the revolutionaries Roland Jahn, Aram Radomski, and Siggi Schefke, risking it all to smuggle the truth across the Iron Curtain; the hapless Politburo member GüSchabowski, mistakenly suggesting that the Wall is open to a press conference full of foreign journalists, including NBC's Tom Brokaw; and Stasi officer Harald Jär, holding the fort at the crucial border crossing that night. Soon, Brokaw starts broadcasting live from Berlin's Brandenburg Gate, where the crowds are exulting in the euphoria of newfound freedom -- and the dictators are plotting to restore control.

Drawing on new archival sources and dozens of interviews, The Collapse offers the definitive account of the night that brought down the Berlin Wall.
Few historical changes occur literally overnight, but on 13 August 1961 eighteen million East Germans awoke to find themselves walled in by an edifice which was to become synonymous with the Cold War: the Berlin Wall. This new history rejects traditional, top-down approaches to Cold War politics, exploring instead how the border closure affected ordinary East Germans, from workers and farmers to teenagers and even party members, 'caught out' by Sunday the Thirteenth. Party, police, and Stasi reports reveal why one in six East Germans fled the country during the 1950s, undermining communist rule and forcing the eleventh-hour decision by Khrushchev and Ulbricht to build a wall along the Cold War's frontline. Did East Germans resist or come to terms with immurement? Did the communist regime become more or less dictatorial within the confines of the so-called 'Antifascist Defence Rampart'? Using film and literature, but also the GDR's losing battle against Beatlemania, Patrick Major's cross-disciplinary study suggests that popular culture both reinforced and undermined the closed society. Linking external and internal developments, Major argues that the GDR's official quest for international recognition, culminating in Ostpolitik and United Nations membership in the early 1970s, became its undoing, unleashing a human rights movement which fed into, but then broke with, the protests of 1989. After exploring the reasons for the fall of the Wall and reconstructing the heady days of the autumn revolution, the author reflects on the fate of the Wall after 1989, as it moved from demolition into the realm of memory.
©2021 GoogleSite Terms of ServicePrivacyDevelopersAbout Google|Location: United StatesLanguage: English (United States)
By purchasing this item, you are transacting with Google Payments and agreeing to the Google Payments Terms of Service and Privacy Notice.