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"The Fall of the Berlin Wall Almost Ended in War" Topic


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Tango01 Supporting Member of TMP23 Nov 2019 12:01 p.m. PST

"Thirty years ago this month, the opening of the Berlin Wall ushered in the last great diplomatic struggle of the Cold War. As cheering crowds danced atop what was left of the Iron Curtain, the fate of Germany hung in the balance. In retrospect, it is easy to see that triumphal moment as part of an inevitable march toward German reunification. At the time, however, the future felt anything but certain.

Germany was the most important strategic prize in Europe. Debates over its reunification and geopolitical alignment had nearly sparked a war on several occasions in the 1950s and 1960s. And as late as October 1989, U.S. officials warned that if Soviet influence in East Germany were threatened, the Soviet Union would "use force to prevent the collapse of a Communist East German State." When the wall opened just one month later, no one knew how the Kremlin would interpret the end of travel restrictions and the broader challenge this posed to Soviet influence; after all, the higher-ups in Berlin had announced the decision to open the border without Moscow's explicit approval. A crackdown—perhaps even a war—was a real possibility…"
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Amicalement
Armand

Virginia Tory23 Nov 2019 12:37 p.m. PST

No way Soviets were going to back Honecker's play.

Legion 424 Nov 2019 6:31 a.m. PST

Fortunately calmer logical minds won the day.

ScoutJock24 Nov 2019 9:38 a.m. PST

I just got back from attending the celebration of the 30th anniversary of Mauarfall. One of the events was a dinner party where Walter Momper, the Mayor of Berlin at the time spoke.

He basically said it was inevitable given the economic circumstances in the Soviet Union and therefore the rest of Eastern Europe. While the Russians knew reunification was inevitable at some point, they had no choice but to let it occur because the NVA and Stasi said they would no longer fire on their own people.

The DDR was bleeding young people to the west through Hungary and Czeckoslovakia and the regime was faced with having a population of nothing but pensioners and very little skilled productive labor. It's not well know but cities in the DDR, especially Liepzig were having massive strikes and demonstrations and between that and the outflow of educated and skilled workers, the regime knew their days were numbered.

It was weird going to Checkpoint Charlie because last time I was there, I was I dress greens with "flag" orders authorizing me to cross into east Berlin and that if stopped I was to demand to speak to a Soviet officer because we didn't recognize the DDR government.

Now there's a McDonalds and a KFC on that corner.

Tango01 Supporting Member of TMP24 Nov 2019 2:53 p.m. PST

(smile)

Amicalement
Armand

Legion 424 Nov 2019 3:36 p.m. PST

Now there's a McDonalds and a KFC on that corner.
Capitalism … it's everywhere !

Virginia Tory09 Dec 2019 9:50 a.m. PST

Not sure about the security forces not firing on their own people. Their commanders were perfectly willing to do so, until told they would be on their own.

They did in 1953 easily enough.

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