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Gorbachev was entirely responsible for the collapse of the GDR. To what extent is this accurate?
The unanticipated demise of the German Democratic Republic (GDR) in the latter stages of the 1980s, has both engendered a compelling history, and led to an immediate questioning of its origins. The precise matter of accountability, as revealed in the statement, has also been the subject of immense and continuing controversy. To make a preliminary distinction, I would contend that one could not justifiably attribute a happening as massive as the collapse of a regime, to any one man, or indeed to any one cause. It was the interrelating dynamic of events, which has confounded historians and contemporaries alike, and contributed to the complex narrative that is the dialogue of history. Therefore, one must approach the question by evaluating the relative internal and external factors in terms of which was the most influential in bringing about the collapse of the USSR. One must also prioritise within these, and specifically respond to the questioning of Gorbachev’s role. I intend to mark November 9th 1989, the date of the fall of the Berlin wall, as the pivotal point at which East German communism essentially collapsed. Aside from being hugely symbolic of the ending of Communism and the Cold War, when the wall was breeched, and the physical movement of people across the border happened, the collapse of the GDR became extremely likely, if not inevitable. Essentially, the internal flaws of the GDR’s economy, government and society prove insuperable by the end of the 1980s, especially under the pressure of accumulated discontent, precipitated by external developments, especially those from the East. One must principally analyse Gorbachev’s role, and consider the impact of his policies in shaping events in the GDR. His establishment of Glasnost (openness) and Perestroika (reconstruction) released uncontrollable, pent-up revolutionary forces, which ‘shook the foundations of the internal order’1. Glasnost especially encouraged thought, and thus not only fostered the desire for change and human rights, but also ‘triggered a new political discourse in East Germany’2. GDR citizens were used to following the USSR unequivocally, and therefore began to crave, expect and demand the same privileges, freedoms and reforms. Thus when the USSR held its first democratic elections on 26th March 1989, it was only a matter of time before the rest of the East would want to follow suit. ‘Gorbachev’s political reforms in the Soviet Union sowed discontent among the East German people, as they cast doubt on the Soviet commitment to guarantee the existence of the East German regime.’3 USSR became a beacon of hope and Gorbachev a huge icon, whose presence further eroded support for Honecker, and further undermined the regime. Citizen protest had occurred before across Eastern Europe, but what partly facilitated the collapse of the GDR, was Gorbachev’s transformation of the USSR’s position. Gorbachev’s policy changes initiated what other external events, such as opposition movements in Eastern Europe had failed to do.
Gert-Joachim, Glaessner, The Unification Process in Germany, From Dictatorship to Democracy, (London, 1992), p. 34. 2 J.K.A. Thomaneck & Bill Niven, Dividing and Uniting Germany, (London, 2001), p. 57. 3 Suzanne Lohmann, ‘The Dynamics of Informational Cascades: The Monday Demonstrations in Leipzig, East Germany, 1989 – 1991’, World Politics, 47, (1994), p. 44.
propaganda and prosperity in the West created unease in East. This meant that the GDR lost its political support and military might. p. is misleading as it suggests it was done purposefully. but he would not resort to this. and opposition that could not be dealt with. Without the 4 5 Charles S.http://www. the Cold War was coming to a close ended the general necessity for a divided Europe. Dissolution. the reality of Soviet Communism was becoming too much. almost inevitable was due to the fact that after he had opened the USSR up. and all over Eastern Europe. the fall of Communism in the USSR as in the GDR and the rest of Eastern Europe. Expanding from the influence of Gorbachev. and a new tone was set across the East. The economic problems of the USSR can also be held partly responsible. True. Evans. he inadvertently provoked underlying problems of legitimacy and economics. and moreover. However. Richard J. Force was the only option to secure the continuation of communism. 1800-1996. communism collapsed as Gorbachev’s ‘Sinatra Doctrine’ announced that Eastern Europe would no longer be held together by the Soviets. these regimes collapsed. 53. as it could no longer afford to maintain its satellite states. or the even Cold War. e. it was impossible to satisfy Communists and reformers. not get rid of it. 213 2 . the relative significance of other external factors must be taken into account. the west gave the GDR credit that worsened economic situation. Gorbachev’s moves to end the Cold War meant moves to end the division too.g. ‘The question of reunification figured well down the list of political issues which West Germans identified as urgent or important’5. and specifically a divided Germany. Consequently. p. where in fact Gorbachev sought to heal Communism. ‘once Soviet leaders made it clear they would not intervene. and quickly found that it couldn’t stand on its own two feet! Whilst the GDR had the backing of the USSR. and thus hindered the hostile relations. The military and defence spending was simply unsustainable. Rereading German History. Was this fact recognised by many. That the problems proved irreparable and the collapse of Communism.com – The Best Custom Essay Writing Service we serve the best from the rest The proposition that ‘Gorbachev was entirely responsible for the collapse of the GDR’. as he failed either to continue the repression that would secure its complete continuation. One can relate this to developments in the USSR. which had kept the division of Germany in place. Indeed. Additionally rapprochement between the GDR and the GFR did show a gradual but significant movement towards peace. I would deny the West’s ‘responsibility’ in applying pressure for change. citizen movements. and Gorbachev was left with no choice but to release its financially burdening buffer zone. 1997).’4 Hence the triggering causes of the collapse were those stemming from Gorbachev. indicated as. Another challenge to the claim that ‘Gorbachev was entirely responsible for the collapse of the GDR’ can be made in reference to the Western allies role in inducing the collapse. Maier. (London. (Chichester. 1997). there was no possibility for opposition.BestEssays. just like the GDR. Division of Europe only remained as long as the US and the USSR remained at loggerheads with each other and embroiled in the conflict. In March 1989. From Unification to Reunification. particularly as East-West relations improved. but when Gorbachev made the decisive move away. can be blamed on Gorbachev’s ‘middle-way’. or to sufficiently reform to obtain voluntary compliance. The fact that in the late 1980s. or risk ruin. and this partly caused the collapse? Glaessner emphasises external influences in arguing that ‘the people of the GDR owe their freedom in large part to the national movements in Eastern Europe.
which forced reliance on imports. 3 . including. p. one can discern that the Age of Communists was dying out. the GDR has been seen as merely part of a process of disintegration in the Eastern block.’6 Thus the bursts for freedom. p. which East Germany’s weak economy and failing leadership could not overcome.http://www. Such economic inferiority and massive debt weakened the central power of the USSR. and state that external events only really provided the catalyst for change. ‘postponing the 6 Gert-Joachim. (London.com – The Best Custom Essay Writing Service we serve the best from the rest radical change in Poland and Hungary and without Soviet acceptance that such change could not be arrested by force. The Unification Process in Germany. internal factors in providing the necessary preconditions for revolutionary change. Fulbrook. that changes were ordered either by Big Brother Gorbachev. The 1973 oil crisis. 15. To again fit the GDR into the broader spectrum for change across Eastern Europe. Gorbachev.’8 I would be inclined to support this. there would have been no revolution. dating to post-war devastation.BestEssays.J. and instead underline the significance of underlying. as the opening of its border triggered further mass emigration. though apparently beneficial to the USSR as a large oil producer. International Security. 204. 26. or by Big Brother West Germany. The Age of Extremes. p. p. (London. (London. as it is popularly assumed. International Security.’7 On 2nd May 1989. 37. 9 M. The Fontana History of Germany 1918 . 12 M. In this context. A History of Germany. p. 1815-1990. 15. Hobsbawm. which ‘strained the economy to breaking point’. ‘A Wall Destroyed: The Dynamics of German Unification in the GDR’. 489.’12 During the 1970s and 1980s. (1990). 1991). 1991). and made people look to alternatives to the collapsing Communist system. or had never had it. its reasons for collapse being altogether reliant on external factors. the barbed wire and divides between Hungary and Austria were beginning to be broken down. East European communist states were suffering economic failures and eventually bankruptcy. In this context. in providing an example of a strong and unyielding opposition. 10 Elizabeth Pond. actually proved destructive. though not limited to. and the emergence of Polish solidarity are said to greatly influence events in the GDR. and ‘those who ran the Soviet satellite regimes had lost their faith in their own systems. meant a distinct vulnerability to changes and problems in the world market. Maier highlights the economic and political reasoning behind the end of the GDR. The Fontana History of Germany 1918 . (London. In this juncture. I would thus dispute the accuracy of the view that ‘Gorbachev was entirely responsible for the collapse of the GDR’. though the 1968 Prague Spring involving Dubček’s attempt to establish ‘socialism with a human face’ in Czechoslovakia was crushed. worsened by reparations. and Ulbricht’s plans for economic reform. Fulbrook. p. and consequently negates the opinion that Gorbachev is exclusively accountable. (1990). 1994). 378. 8 Elizabeth Pond.1990. 1991). 323. From Dictatorship to Democracy. 1992). as ‘There was a failure to develop an adequate long-term plan.11 are central to this analysis. 7 E. it could still act as a vital precursor for events in the GDR.’10 Long-term economic problems. (London. A notable example of this extends to ‘…the changes in Hungary which were to prove the proximate cause of the East German revolution’9. 41 11 William Carr. p. Glaessner. as ‘For the first time East Germany had an obvious economic crisis it could no longer deny. ‘A Wall Destroyed: The Dynamics of German Unification in the GDR’. A lack of raw materials. Elizabeth Pond makes the contention that ‘It was not the case..1990.
the SED fatefully attempted to backtrack and repress opposition. Other practical issues of crime and corruption also signalled the failings of communism. the first allowed in East Germany. This fragile situation worsened in the 1980s by the shift in attention towards technological means of production. his successor. p. Dissolution. The SED was guilty of misjudged responses as well. which they ignored. showing how ‘…political turmoil had many of its roots in economic dissatisfaction’15. and in the process only fortified resistance. stubborn and increasingly incapable. and thus compounding problems for Gorbachev.. and equally unable to deal with the snowballing opposition movements. (Chichester. demonstrations (e. Fulbrook. by this time. 1997). 13th February. (Chichester. p. 1997). 79. (London. loans and much discontent. ‘East Germany’s claim to statehood was always in question’17. and regular protests in Leipzig) were oppressed and Honecker even spoke of the longevity of the Berlin Wall. 16. Dresden for human rights. rather than the constitutional provisions’16.5 billion)’14. This shows why the economic system. Charles S.J. and plans for rapid modernisation were unreachable. as the GDR had relied so heavily upon it. Even more responsibility for the collapse of the GDR can thus be attributed to the SED in light of the demonstration of the 7th October 1989. and refusing to pass on power resented them. Economic and industrial progress degenerated drastically when the USSR withdrew. Principally. Maier. and developments east of the GDR. M. 4 . Maier. On May 7th 1989. the GDR was in even greater foreign debt as Honecker’s ‘unity of economic and social policy’ failed. in other words its existence was constantly undermined by its lack 13 14 15 16 17 E. and continued the military show commemorating the 40th anniversary of the GDR. Also.http://www. Charles S. In doing so. A foremost example of this was the September 1987 mass march for freedom. leading to an increased rate of demonstrations etc. areas in which the GDR was extremely backwards. By October 1989. Throughout 1989. the leadership’s failure to react to the circumstances can be blamed for the collapse. also generated hostility at the leadership of the GDR. The Fontana History of Germany 1918 . as they were aging. harbouring outdated visions of a socialist regime. ignoring both domestic protest and economic instability. The fact that the leaders isolated themselves in rumoured luxury in Wandlitz. (Chichester. 1994). The executive was too far removed from the situation all along. Instead of contemplating the blatant warning signs. 474. 1991). Hobsbawm. and Communism throughout Eastern Europe did not collapse until 1989. Dissolution. Charles S. 59. and by association towards the entire fabric of the East German Communist state.com – The Best Custom Essay Writing Service we serve the best from the rest need for economic reform’13. another anger-provoking blunder by the SED took place as they falsified the election results.g. Many who perceived this as a sign of selfish dictators consumed with infighting. for instance the chemical industry and computers.BestEssays. Fulbrook attributed the GDR’s course to ‘the political realities. As Maier identifies. p. it was too late. The SED flatly refused reforms. 174. productivity was too low. the GDR ‘had accumulated a foreign debt of 49 billion “valuta marks” ($26. Krenz. proved just as unpopular. p. Trade competition from Asia and financing defence and army also expensive. using violence against peaceful demonstrations.1990. by the time they reacted by visiting Leipzig on 13th October. The Age of Extremes. (London. Dissolution. p. 1997). another creditable challenge to the accuracy of the view that ‘Gorbachev was entirely responsible for the collapse of the GDR’ is posed. and induced debts. Maier.
and thus undermined the foundation of the GDR with the anniversary of Martin Luther in 1983. 495. by 1989. Political repression was very significant as people lacked basic freedoms (e.g. and this is pertinent in the context of the collapse of the GDR. or a successful removal of the opposition. was controlled by the SED. 12. A History of Germany. a process that was accelerated when the Soviet Union removed its protective shield. 1815-1990. and influence and stability hard to establish if repression was lessened. 22 William Carr. p. and no forum for their grievances in the undemocratic and unrepresentative regime. Hobsbawm. (Oxford 1994). Thus despotism was paradoxically a reason why the regime survived for so long. p. In August 1961.com – The Best Custom Essay Writing Service we serve the best from the rest legitimacy. 1991). Totalitarian control was too high-risk and high-maintenance. ‘The political and economic systems in the GDR – and elsewhere in the Eastern bloc – collapsed because of their own structural deficiencies. 2001). society took on an increasingly militaristic edge. police and state security’21. had no right to strike. The Fall of the GDR. Donald Hancock & Helga Welsh (eds). 5 . 380.1990. 47 21 David Childs. this was 18 19 M. and this must partly explain what became of the GDR. Conformity. Fulbrook. 1994). 1991). Such a situation was bound to backfire eventually. amongst other things. one naturally draws parallels between them. (London. ‘On 13 August the GDR authorities started to build a wall physically dividing East from West Berlin. Even the Trade Union.’20 This exposes how internal instability is eventually brought to light. FDGB. ostensibly to prevent ‘spies and diversionists’ from entering their capital city but in reality to prevent the collapse of the East German economy. the wall was not only unable to mitigate problems. and also why it fell. indeed bred dissent. p. The regime consisted also of certain inherent contradictions. No ‘middle-ground’ as adopted by Gorbachev was possible with a dictatorship.J. E. The only serious opposition was repressed in June 1953.http://www. (London.BestEssays. 188. 20 Johannes L. it seems. and one could assert that although the Berlin Wall temporarily diverted a crisis.. Between 1953 and 1989 there was the overriding feeling that one should accept the regime and make the best out of it and thus the population was subdued and neutralised. rather than being converted into active promotion of the regime. ‘One noticeable trend in the Honecker period was the growing numbers of military. and it did in 1989. ‘West-German Policy Toward East Germany: A Motor of Unification?’ in M. The Age of Extremes. Kruppe. The Fontana History of Germany 1918 . German Unification: Process and Outcomes. and the 750th anniversary of Berlin in 1987. but this was nonetheless a potent symptom of the GDR’s floundering course. Another fundamental problem was that the GDR was ‘based more on repression than success’18 and consequently Communism’s control was too ‘superficial’19. particularly the fact that there was societal equality without the political equivalent to complement it. The Stasi was too harsh. (London. but it had become a major one itself. Certain events in the latter stages of the 1980s highlighted the common German identity. Hence the Berlin Wall is a not insignificant aspect to the collapse of the GDR. and with the establishment of the KVP and the NVA. Amongst the GDR’s shortcomings was its failure to establish a separate national identity. p. which prevented its long-term viability and workability.’22 Nevertheless. which had a destabilising effect. Clearly the GDR had not managed to procure either complete conformity. (London. the building of the Berlin Wall stalled the emigration movement and opposition once more. and since this coincided with a growth in opposition. p. movement / speech etc).
This alternate culture was located in the two types of citizen movements to be mentioned below. and the masses were forced to find alternate means to voice dissent. 2001). organised by the church and led by intellectuals. 24 Gert-Joachim. 68 6 . The emergence of domestic opposition thus holds what I would deem a large share of the responsibility for the collapse of the GDR. p. Welsh. 1992). Donald Hancock & Helga Welsh (eds). in M.http://www. (London. Revolution and Diffusion’. The 1980s thus saw the emergence of a serious. released in 1989.’23 These freedoms ‘…succeeded only in bringing discontent to boiling point and therefore leaving the party leadership…with only one set of alternatives: either capitulation or the opening of the wall. Richter. However.com – The Best Custom Essay Writing Service we serve the best from the rest only a short term expedient whose ‘shelf-life’ and effectiveness would indeed be limited. ‘The Collapse of Communism in Eastern Europe and the GDR: Evolution. Donald Hancock & Helga Welsh (eds). Thomaneck & Bill Niven. and in this respect. The Unification Process in Germany. More and more people sympathised with reformers’ demands. 1992).’27 Opposition became increasingly determined and demanding as they grew in size and strength and as the government faltered. peace and anti-weapons movements proliferated. Therefore I would assert. The Unification Process in Germany. it was new freedoms over travel given by the SED in November 1989.’24 Eventually people’s anguish eroded trust in authority. From Dictatorship to Democracy.K. Glaessner. 62. who’s publishing of ‘Grenzfall’ demanded unification through demilitarisation and peace.’28 However. p. despite appealing rhetoric from the East. in M. Glaessner. they fled into Western Germany as a visible sign of their resentments.’25 Firstly. directly challenged the division of Europe. (London. ‘… Helmut. This had serious economic ramifications. (Oxford 1994). Such movements. what caused this discontent and resulting unrest? Aside from the aforementioned political repression. German Unification: Process and Outcomes. that it was the years of built-up repression and anger.’26 Secondly. Some political activity. (London. (Oxford 1994). (London. Glaessner. Kohl and Genscher took the initiative and can be credited with decisive action contributing to the collapse of the GDR. 29. Opposition movements ‘undermined the cultural hegemony of the SED by the introduction of new and competing values and the reinterpretation of party principles. p. as those who fled were mainly young. particularly since censorship and subjugation continued. 99 26 Helga A. ‘The Initiative for Peace and Human Rights’ (IFM). 1992). 25 Michaela W. The situation was worsened by the opening of the Hungarian borders. strong.A.BestEssays. 14. 27 J. principled opposition that united with popular mass discontent to bring down the GDR. skilled and educated workers. ‘proved to be the backbone of the “revolution” in the former GDR. which ‘would become the direct catalyst for the implosion of the political system. From Dictatorship to Democracy. ‘Exiting the GDR: Political Movements and Parties Between Democratization and Westernization’. 28 Gert-Joachim. ‘standards of living stagnated and 23 Gert-Joachim. delivering meagre reforms. which holds much responsibility for causing the collapse on the GDR. 14. German Unification: Process and Outcomes. for instance. From Dictatorship to Democracy. and this worsened the labour shortage. p. Dividing and Uniting Germany. The Unification Process in Germany. Instead of voicing their anger and opposition verbally. p. as ‘The combined impact of exit and voice finally brought the regime down. p. the environmental. the emigration movement boomed as many protested by “voting with their feet”.
1989 – 1991’. The preliminary statement is accurate to the extent that Gorbachev facilitated the collapse. and argued that socialism was impossible given the globalising setting of the 1980s. Fulbrook. 47. and ‘opening up’ the USSR itself. The Fontana History of Germany 1918 . Diametrically opposed to the argument that ‘Gorbachev was entirely responsible for the collapse of the GDR’. and worsened when details of prosperous conditions in the West became known. p. German Unification: Process and Outcomes. p. (Chichester. (Oxford 1994).’33 ‘Most western commentators would have countered that the switches were set wrong from the moment central planning was imposed in post war Eastern Europe’34. Moreover.http://www. Donald Hancock & Helga Welsh (eds). Though one must remember that collapse was unexpected. but also opened them further to the affluence of the West. is the suggestion of the inevitability of collapse. must also be considered. p. 32 Charles S. 30 Helga A. ‘The Collapse of Communism in Eastern Europe and the GDR: Evolution. as it lacked the necessary purchasing power to break into the West. Maier’s suggestion that unification. 31 J. ‘Soviet policy at the Potsdam Conference envisaged the eventual re-emergence of a unified but hopefully compliant Germany’32 and consequently had the intention for it to happen all along.com – The Best Custom Essay Writing Service we serve the best from the rest popular discontent increased. 60 7 . (1994). ‘The continued reductions in those permitted to enter universities. the lack of upward mobility. (Chichester. 25. lack of consumer goods and the fact that the best products were exported were prevalent. was always on the cards. The desire for peace. The opening of Intershops with West German goods not only contributed to everyday frustration as East Germans lacked acceptable currency to purchase the goods on offer. and what it stood for – especially the forbidden freedom of movement. and opposition to nuclear weapons and military service. Thomaneck & Bill Niven. 1991).’29 Therefore grievances over poverty. and the entire basis of their own regime. poor housing conditions. and the changing international order (specifically the conclusion of the Cold War). and the very fact that the GDR was failing in its social aspects also lessened trust and confidence in socialism.1990. in M. ‘While the GDR made economic progress…it was clear to East Germans that the West of the country offered greater wealth. World Politics. as the GDR could compare itself and realise its deficiencies.K. travel and human rights. 8. and the selective use of material privileges…furthered feelings of depravation and disillusionment. one has established that Gorbachev was not ‘entirely responsible’. East Germany. in its visual presence. providing the basis for possible future reunification.A. additionally created the necessary preconditions for civil revolution. Welsh.BestEssays. 1997). led to Gorbachev liberating Eastern Europe. (London. Maier. 1997). freedom. All this upset accumulated over time. a natural successor of collapse. ‘The Dynamics of Informational Cascades: The Monday Demonstrations in Leipzig. which was not ratified by popular vote. Maier. ‘The constitution. In determining the relative importance of internal and external factors in effecting the collapse of the GDR. (London. A response to financial necessity. These 29 Suzanne Lohmann. 42. 171. more consumer goods and wages with more purchasing power. 33 M. and led them to question their poverty. food shortages.’31 Thus increased communications between ordinary people in East and West during the 1970s and 80s hastened the collapse. Revolution and Diffusion’. 2001). p. p. Dissolution. 34 Charles S. 59. was designed to be compatible with that of the Federal Republic. Dividing and Uniting Germany. Dissolution.’30 The Berlin wall was also highly psychologically damaging. p.
http://www. Revolution and Diffusion’. 266. 1992). p. that it was the overriding drive of internal developments that one should more readily highlight as long term causes. (London. 41 Michael G. p. Donald Hancock & Helga Welsh (eds).’37 I would however argue. one can thus conclude that it was internal developments with an external influence. who underestimated popular fervour and refused change. ‘…It was the decision by the Hungarian government to dismantle the border fortifications to the West…that set in motion unprecedented and unexpected developments’36.. (London. and as Welsh examines.’41 Therefore. Meanwhile East Euopean revolutions. Indeed. Fulbrook. Welsh.1990. 35 36 Charles S. in M. Dissolution. 18.1990. in M. popular discontent over repression and living standards. (Oxford 1994). Huelshoff & Arthur M. 39 Gert-Joachim. ‘…inaugurating the whole process of revolutionary change in eastern Europe. rather than causing collapse. German Unification: Process and Outcomes. 1996). 1991). Hanhardt Jr. It was ultimately an interplay of a plethora of factors which effected the end of the GDR. A History Of Modern Europe. The Unification Process in Germany. The opening of Hungary’s border on September 11th was one such catalyst. 8 . which led to mass civil activism and collapse. (Oxford 1994). (Chichester. coupled with ‘structural defects’39. sustained by economic weakness brought about the collapse of the GDR. p. Donald Hancock & Helga Welsh (eds).BestEssays. ‘Step Towards Union: The Collapse of the GDR and the Unification of Germany’. 52 Helga A. to provoke underlying economic difficulties and bring the GDR regime crashing down. 38 John Merriman. triggered a proliferation of thought. ‘The Collapse of Communism in Eastern Europe and the GDR: Evolution. The Fontana History of Germany 1918 . One can thus logically affirm that ‘…Soviet power was critical for the regime’35. p. Internal weakness and opposition (through ‘exit and ‘voice’) provided the necessary preconditions. 1991). p. whilst it took actions from above in the form of Gorbachev. 35. and with it political dissent in the GDR. it was a fateful combination with unavoidable consequences. p. I would contend. A certain amount of blame can undoubtedly be apportioned to the failures of the SED leadership. 40 M. Coinciding with the context of East European rebellion. even if it was not exclusively responsible for its fall. From Dictatorship to Democracy. (London. ‘While the effective challenge posed to the Communist regime in 1989 was in large measure only made possible by the radical changes in the Soviet Union and its European and global policies. which brought about the collapse of East Germany in 1989. Glaessner. The Fontana History of Germany 1918 . 323.’40 ‘A more satisfactory explanation for the events of 1989 can be developed from the observation that domestic and international politics are inseparably intertwined. 1383. 1997). Maier. through the proliferation of civil opposition. (London. Such mismanagement. p. 74. clarifies why the GDR so readily collapsed in 1989. as ‘Communist rule slowly floundered under the weight of economic decline and popular dissatisfaction’38. the character of the ‘gentle revolution’ was crucially shaped by the ways in which movements for reform had been developing in the preceding decade.com – The Best Custom Essay Writing Service we serve the best from the rest actions. I would similarly categorize the events of Eastern Europe as activating.. Fulbrook. German Unification: Process and Outcomes. 37 M.
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