Twenty Years After the Wall

Twenty years after the fall of the Berlin Wall, on November 9, 1989, many revolutionary consequences of that night lie behind us. But the real era of upheaval lies ahead, as 400 years of eurocentrism draw to a close and the limits of our planet's capacity to sustain the demands we place on it are reached.

BERLIN – Those who witnessed that night 20 years ago in Berlin, or elsewhere in Germany, will never forget what happened – the night the Wall came down.

History in the making is all too often tragic. Only rarely is it capable of irony. November 9, 1989, was one of those rare moments when irony reigned, because East Germany’s bureaucratic socialism died as it had lived – with a bureaucratic snafu.

The Speaker of the Politburo, Günter Schabowski, had simply misunderstood that body’s decision and, by releasing to the public incorrect information about the lifting of travel restrictions, triggered the fall of the Wall! Groucho Marx could not have bettered Schabowski that night. It was Germany’s happiest hour.

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