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30 years ago today

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After Hungary had turned off and taken down the electric fence that ran across it's border with Austria in April and May of 1989, the world was surprised when Moscow took a hands-off approach and was seemingly willing to let citizens in the socialist nation move freely to the West.
Hoping to prevent a mass exodus to the West via Hungary, the government of East Germany issued a new regulation,  VVS b2-937/89 which relaxed travel restrictions in Berlin.
A minister read the new regulation aloud during a televised broadcast on the evening of 9th November.

Due to not having prepared for the broadcast, he mumbled and stumbled his way through it and when asked by reporters to clarify what it meant, he accidentally said it meant that all border crossings were open, effective immediately.

A few minutes after the broadcast ended, tens of thousands of people arrived at the crossings, demanding entry to the West.

The guards were frantically calling HQ for orders but nobody was willing to give an order to massacre tens of thousands of civilians in front of the world's assembled  media.

The gates were opened.



Just 339 days later, the East German parliament voted itself out of existence.

West Germany and East Germany ceased to exist and Germany was re-unified.






In October 1989, the Hungarian communist party declared it was ending it's one party system. Free elections were held in May 1990.

On 11th Demember, the Bulgarian communist party declared it was ending it's one party system. Free elections were held inn June 1990.

In December 1989, Poland changed its constitution, allowing for free elections.

The period between 17th November and 29th December saw the Velvet revolution in Czechoslovakia, resulting in free elections in June 1990. In 1993, Slovakia and the Czech Republic dissolved Czechoslovakia and became two independent nations.

December 1989 was the much more bloody revolution in Romania, culminating in the execution of the dictator Ceausescu on christmas day 1989 and free elections on 20th May 1990.

11th December 1989 saw the end of the communist party in Albania, but that did not bring an end to misery, corruption and repression of the people. It's still not good even today.

1990 saw peaceful demonstrations, general strikes and hunger strikes bring down the government in Mongolia.

Yugoslavia had begun the process of breaking up as far back as 1980, when Tito died. The different nations of yugoslavia had elections and elected mainly nationalists in each separate parliament. This would go on to cause the most brutal civil war on European soil in decades and cost untold lives, including ethnic cleansing, sectarian genocide and all other manner of terrible war crimes which are still being prosecuted to this day.

On Just 1st 1991, the Warsaw Pact was formally dissolved. Despite a coup attempt in August, the reformist arm of the communist party stayed in control.

The three baltic states Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania declared independence soon after the August coup attempt. Moscow gave formal recognition.

The end of the USSR came very quickly after that.

Nation after nation declared independence and eventually the USSR voted itself out of existence.

This had further global repercussions as nations that relied on backing from the USSR suddenly found themselves with no financial or military aid.

They would also see their own revolutions and changes in government over the next few years, especially in Africa which had many socialist governments.

The withdrawing of soviet money caused Iraq to invade Kuwait and we all know what happened then.

The end of the USSR had huge effects on anti-communist nations also, as they no longer needed so much money and military aid from NATO and the USA.

The end of Apartheid in South Africa began in 1990. 
Israel was suddenly swollen by millions of highly educated, skilled Soviet Jews who had been trapped inside the soviet bloc and not allowed to leave.


Edited by Cade

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Having a wee celebration/commemoration tonight with the missus to mark this. Arguably, you could claim this 9/11 had a bigger impact on the world than the American one. 

Edited by Normthebarman

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Crazy to think all of that has happened fairly recently, certainly in my lifetime and some call this peacetime.

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This was the JFK moment of my generation.  Can remember watching it with my granny as a naive 11 year old and having her explain the significance of it.

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