November 9, 1989: A day that changed the world

November 9, 1989: A day that changed the worldGuenter Schabowski scratches his head, puts on his glasses, hesitates, then fumbles with his handwritten notes. A member of the Politburo of East Germany’s communist party, and its spokesman, this member of the inner ruling circle of the “workers’ and peasants’ state”, as the German Democratic Republic was known, just announced to a few flabbergasted journalists the fall of the Berlin Wall. Was it the result of a misunderstanding in the communist hierarchy, caught flat-footed by events, or a calculated gesture by the East German dictatorship which had reached the end of the line?



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