The year 1989 was a pivotal year in world history. It signaled the beginning of the end of the Cold War ideological struggle between East and West, and of the impending collapse of the Soviet Union’s occupation of its Eastern European Empire. On the night of November 9th, after the culmination of a long series of unprecedented events which had baffled and bewildered the ruling elites on both sides of the Iron Curtain, throngs of East Berliners were allowed by the German Democratic Republic authorities to cross through the Checkpoint Charlie border gateway into West Berlin. The imprisoned genie was out of the bottle which had long held it captive. The world would never be the same. Ronald Grigor Suny, writing in The Nation, recalls these tumultuous events in his perceptive article, “Empire Falls: The Revolutions of 1989.” In addition, CNN’s award-winning documentary series, Cold War, has two exceptional episodes which present a visual record of these events here and here. The Cold War period was a time of heightened fear and drama.
11:58 am on October 31, 2009 Email Charles Burris