Europe 1990: Reunification of Germany
Czechoslovakia, Romania, and Bulgaria threw off Communist rule shortly after East Germany, marking the effective end of the Cold War. On October 3, 1990, East and West Germany were reunited after 45 years of division.
24 Nov 1989 Velvet Revolution▲
On 17 November 1989, a violent state crackdown on student protests sparked mass demonstrations in Prague. After seven days, the entire top leadership of the Czechoslovak Communist Party resigned. By December 29, single-party rule was abolished, with Prague Spring leader Alexander Dubček appointed Prime Minister and playwright/dissident Václav Havel appointed President.
22 Dec 1989 Romanian Revolution▲
On 16 December 1989, demonstrations by ethnic Hungarians erupted in the city of Timișoara, followed by a violent crackdown by the Romanian military. On 21 December, President Nicolae Ceaușescu attempted to address the public in Bucharest, only for the crowd to erupt in protest. The following day, the Armed Forces defected to the side of the protesters, arrested Ceaușescu, and proclaimed dissident Ion Iliescu President. Ceaușescu and his wife Elena were tried and convicted on 24 December and executed on December 25.
15 Jan 1990 End of Communism in Bulgaria▲
In November 1989 moderate Communists within the Bulgarian government ousted long-time State Council Chairman Todor Zhivkov, replacing him with his foreign minister and rival Petar Mladenov. Following Mladenov’s announcement to the public, on 15 January 1990 the National Assembly officially ended single-party rule by the Communists and in April the Bulgarian Communist Party was renamed as the Bulgarian Socialist Party (BSP). Following the BSP’s victory in elections in June, the People’s Republic of Bulgaria formally became the Republic of Bulgaria in November.
11 Mar 1990 Act of March 11▲
On 24 February 1990, parliamentary elections in the Lithuanian SSR resulted in an overwhelming victory for the reform movement Sąjūdis. Less than a month later, the Lithuanian Supreme Council unanimously declared independence from the Soviet Union.
2–4 Aug 1990 Invasion of Kuwait▲
To finance the 1980–88 war against Iran, Iraq had borrowed more than US$14 billion from the Emirate of Kuwait, and in 1989 lobbied to have its debt to that country forgiven. Kuwait’s refusal to forgive the debt—coupled with Iraqi allegations of Kuwaiti economic warfare and slant-drilling for oil across their shared border—prompted Iraq to invade on 2 August 1990. In a little over two days of fighting, Iraqi forces overwhelmed the Kuwaiti army and occupied the country. Under Iraqi control, Kuwait became a short-lived republic before accepting annexation by Iraq on the 28th.
3 Oct 1990 German reunification▲
The German Democratic Republic (East Germany) acceded to the Federal Republic of Germany (until this point often called West Germany), forming a reunited Germany. The capital of the Federal Republic was moved from Bonn to Berlin, although its government and membership in international organizations remained unchanged. The historical East German states of Brandenburg, Mecklenburg-Vorpommern, Saxony, Saxony-Anhalt, and Thuringia were re-established as German states.