Dialogue with Prof. Grimm - From the fall of the Berlin wall to the German unification and its implications in the contemporary history of the Bundesrepublik
Q: The first question is regarding the reasons, which led to the victory of the pacific revolution in the German Democratic Republic (Deutsche Demokratische Republik-DDR) in order to understand the meaning of the 9th November 1989 and the beginning of the Deutsche Wende. The new politics of the soviet leader, Michail Gorbachev, had an important role in bringing to light the contradictions into the DDR. At the same time the people became more conscious of the discrepancy between the official imagine of the DDR Institutions and the effective reality. How and in which measure those factors were determinant?
A: Nothing would have changed hadn’t citizens of the DDR started to publicly express their growing dissatisfaction with the political regime and hadn’t thousands of DDR citizens left the country to reach the Federal Republic via Hungary and Czechoslovakia. The protest that had begun in small circles soon became a mass movement. But all this would probably not have happened without Gorbachev’s prior turn to Glasnost and Perestroika in the Soviet Union, compared to which the DDR looked immovable and doctrinal. In addition, the protest movement was encouraged by the assumption that the USSR would not defend the DDR leadership with military means, like in Hungary 1956 and in Czechoslovakia 1968.