In this writeup
I will attempt to give a few short reasons why the Berlin Wall
fell, and what it was symbolic of.
As we all know, the Berlin Wall
fell in November 1989, reuniting Communist
East and Democratic West Germany
. But why?
One reason for the fall was the introduction by the USSR
of the Sinatra Doctrine
to replace the Brezhnev Doctrine
. The Brezhnev doctrine allowed Russia to use force to keep countries in the Warsaw Pact
(which they did, twice). The Sinatra Doctrine removed the pressure
on these countries to keep their Communist government
s and almost as soon as this was done, many of the Warsaw Pact
countries were dropping Communism
to save their governments from crumbling into nothing. East Germany
remained...shortly. When it was found that East Germans, desperate to flee the awful East German infrastructure
and restrictive government to the prosperous West Germany, were going to newly-democratic Hungary and then on to the West, the rapidly falling apart government moved to open the checkpoint
s along the Wall. Thus, it fell that same night.
's Sinatra Doctrine
played a major part in the fall of the wall as it spelt the end of Communism (helped along by Gorbachev's decisions to make the USSR slightly less totalitarian
(such as releasing political prisoners
and relaxing border control
). It was obvious that given the chance, many of the Warsaw countries would have happily given up their Communist governments for Democracy. Poor East Germans could just look over the Berlin Wall and see the prosperous
life their western counterparts were living under Democracy, yet they were barred from changing to this government type because the USSR would come and "have words", holding up the Brezhnev Doctrine as a reason.
One of the biggest factor
s however, was the new Democratic Hungarian administration removing border restrictions. This allowed for a free flow of East Germans to the West which could not be stopped, and so the East German government relented and removed their own border restrictions
. This was combined with a large number of demonstrations against the communist regime, full of people who had lost faith in the system and believed that there could be no such thing as a just socialism. Therefore, we have a combination of the USSR's and Hungary's legislation, plus the will of the people, to thank for both the fall of the Berlin Wall and the end of the Communist domination of Eastern Europe
. However there was one person who had a lot of responsibility for the opening of the wall...Guenther Schabowski.
During a radio broadcast, this governmental figure made a monumental slipup as he announced the opening of the wall at that very moment. Thus, thousands upon thousands of East German citizens flooded the wall and (with the help of some machinery) brought down the wall.
What was the fall symbolic
of? Obviously, the fall of Communism and the end of the Cold War
. The wall was an embodiment of the tensions between the (disintegrating) Warsaw Pact and NATO
, and once it fell it was obvious to the world that Communism had had its day, and that . 11 month
s later, East Germany
decided to reunify with West and so, after the USSR split up, Europe was moulded into the continent
we have today.