The Cold War
is almost won. Communist contries are broke, Warsaw Pact
starts to detoriate.
October 9, 1989
First citizens of the German Democratic Republic (GDR] aka East Germany manage to escape to the Federal Republic of Germany (FRG) aka West Germany via Prague and Budapest. People in Leipzig protest against the government every Monday for weeks now, chanting "We are the people".
October 9, 1989 - noon
GDR Zentralkommittee (heads of the regime) decide that, to get financial aid and to relieve internal pressure, new travel regulations would allow for regulated, private trips to foreign countries for everybody. Details of the new regulations to be published in the papers on the 10th.
A note about this is sent to Politbuero member Guenter Schabowski, who is holding the regular press conference in the evening.
October 9, 1989 - 7pm
The press conference is televised live throughout the GDR.
Schabowski mentions that new travel regulations allowing for unrestricted travel would soon be in place. Asked when they would be in place, he consults his note and replies : "Immediately. Yes, immediately."
October 9, 1989 - 7:31pm
GDR newscast : "Permissions to travel abroad can now be obtained even without important reasons."
October 9, 1989 - 8pm
FRG newscast: "GDR opened borders."
October 9, 1989 - 10:30pm
Border police (who was surprised by the events but decided not to use violence) opens the border gates after tens of thousands gather at every border crossing in East Berlin requesting to be allowed to visit West Berlin. Similar scenes take place at border crossings all over the common border with the FRG.
October 10, 1989
GDR Politbuero discusses using military to regain control of the borders, finally decides against it.