Fall of the Berlin Wall

The Cold War

Europe 1989.111

Fall of the Berlin Wall

The Cold War in Europe (10 November 1989)

Historical Map of Europe & the Mediterranean

By the 1980s, the Eastern Bloc had begun to fall dangerously behind the West both economically and technologically. To address these issues, Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev introduced economic reforms and opened up Soviet politics. He also sought better relations with the West by declaring an end to Soviet meddling in Eastern Europe. The result was the peaceful dismantling of Communism in Poland and Hungary. East Germany followed suit a few months later, with demonstrators tearing down the hated Berlin Wall.

Main Events

Mikhail Gorbachev becomes General Secretary of the Communist Party and effective leader of the Soviet Union

Soviet withdrawal from Afghanistan

First democratic elections held in the Soviet Union to elect the Congress of People's Deputies

Tadeusz Mazowiecki of Solidarity appointed Prime Minister of Poland

Hungarian government opens borders with Austria, permitting East Germans to travel to the West

Berlin Wall torn down

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