30 years ago

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MurphCID
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30 years ago

Post by MurphCID » Sat Nov 09, 2019 2:44 pm

November 9th 1989 the wall came down. I never thought it would come down in my lifetime. In 1985 I drove to Berlin from the West where I was stationed with the US Army, entered Berlin, then later crossed Checkpoint Charlie, and saw East Berlin. Too all our Berliners, I also say Ich Bin Ein Berliner on this day.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n4RjJKxsamQ

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q9pTh2thiBk

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Re: 30 years ago

Post by Pjotr » Sat Nov 09, 2019 3:22 pm

Yes, it was a magic moment.... I vividly remember the images on TV. I couldn't believe my eyes.

Communist dictatorships falling like houses of cards all over two continents; a sudden and abrupt end to the horrible threat of worldwide nuclear destruction. All this thanks to the magnanimity and greatness of one man: Mikhail Gorbatschow (do the English say "Gorbachev"?), who was then the leader of the Soviet Union.

In my opinion Gorbatschow is the greatest man of the 20th century. By far. We all owe him such a great debt of gratitude.
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Re: 30 years ago

Post by lsemmens » Sat Nov 09, 2019 8:24 pm

"Gorbachev" is correct for us lot Pjtor. Being rather younger, and many thousands of miles away it was certainly not as significant to me as to those who had direct experience with it. It was, though, a significant moment that many of us will remember.
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Re: 30 years ago

Post by Portreve » Sat Nov 09, 2019 8:53 pm

Interestingly enough, Gorbachev only made it into office because the three other guys who were actually more popular in the Politburo, Grigori Romanov, Vladimir Shcherbitsky, and Dinmukhamed Konayev, were quite literally all out of town at the time Chernenko died, and none were informed nor recalled to Moscow. One can imagine Gorbachev probably made some kind of power play, but nevertheless, Romanov and Shcherbitsky were to the two favorites, and it's a reasonably likely bet one of them would have become Premier instead of Gorbachev had they been in attendance at the time.

In case you're curious:

1. Grigori Romanov was with his wife in Vilnius, Lithuania, visiting a sanatorium;
2. Vladimir Shcherbitsky was in the United States; and
3. Dinmukhamed Konayev was in Alma Ata, Kazakhstan.

The reason I even know this is that I had done some research early on during my work developing a continuation of a crossover story between Buck Rogers and Battlestar Galactica, and I was trying to figure out how, in an alternate universe, World War III might have happened. So, digging and research turned up this little gem, along with another event, Able Archer '83, wherein a nuclear WW III actually almost did happen, and it took better-informed, slightly less paranoid East German spies reporting back to their bosses at the Kremlin that this was just a joint exercise and not, in fact, a sudden military strike against the Soviet Union (the Politburo, even after Stalin's time and de-Stalinization, was still a hyper-paranoid bunch) and they had their fingers on the trigger.
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Re: 30 years ago

Post by MurphCID » Sat Nov 09, 2019 9:07 pm

I agree to an extent; here are my four "heros" for ending the Cold War (In which I served in the Army, and grew up during):

1) Ronald Reagan- He spent the USSR into the graveyard
2) Margaret Thatcher- She backed Reagan
3) Pope John Paul II- He had a moral force that the USSR in the end could not fight.
4) Gorbachev- He was wise enough to know it was over, and brave enough to not take "the other road", which he so easily could have.

You can also add if you wish:
Lech Walesa- Solidarity led the way
Francois Mitterand- He backed Reagan, and is an unsung hero of the end.
Helmut Kohl- He did not take advantage of things, but allowed them to unfold.

And of course:

Guenter Schabowski- Who (I think) knew the time was up, and opened the wall.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IInG5nY_wrU

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Re: 30 years ago

Post by absque fenestris » Sun Nov 10, 2019 12:14 am

While we're on heroes, I like him: The Man Who Saved the World by Doing ... Nothing

Станисла́в Евгра́фович Петро́в

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stanislav_Petrov
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Re: 30 years ago

Post by Pjotr » Sun Nov 10, 2019 6:46 am

Several people contributed to the end of the Cold War, but in my opinion Gorbachev played the most important part. He easily could have kept the Soviet Union going for decades to come, in a North-Korean style. But he deliberately opened up the system with his initiatives "Glasnost" (openness) and "Perestroïka" (reform).

Initially his intention was simply to reform the Soviet Union; to maintain the state "as is" but improve it by allowing criticism and by making it more humanitarian and less repressive. When this caused the communist regimes of the Eastern European satellite states to crumble, he had the magnanimity and greatness to allow this to happen.

He even cooperated freely, despite immense contrary pressure from his military, with the re-unification of Russia's arch enemy Germany. That was even more magnanimous.

Shortly after, humanity was suddenly freed of almost half a century of living with constant fear of global nuclear extinction. We can't thank this great statesman enough for that.
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Re: 30 years ago

Post by lsemmens » Sun Nov 10, 2019 7:32 am

Thank you all for illuminating this mind upon the actions of this man.
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Re: 30 years ago

Post by cliffcoggin » Sun Nov 10, 2019 8:49 am

For a comical view on the process of Russian presidential succession the film The Death Of Stalin is worth watching.
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Re: 30 years ago

Post by ColdBootII » Sun Nov 10, 2019 10:33 am

Pjotr wrote:
Sun Nov 10, 2019 6:46 am
Several people contributed to the end of the Cold War,
Is it the end of it really? Sanctions against Russia at every turn, slander all over media, then this as the crucial point mean, it's not the end or never was : https://www.bbc.com/news/world-us-canada-49198565

Strangely enough, I don't have any feelings, let alone positive, about the Berlin Wall. We all know how and why that came about...

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Re: 30 years ago

Post by absque fenestris » Sun Nov 10, 2019 11:16 am

ColdBootII wrote:
Sun Nov 10, 2019 10:33 am
Pjotr wrote:
Sun Nov 10, 2019 6:46 am
Several people contributed to the end of the Cold War,
Is it the end of it really? Sanctions against Russia at every turn, slander all over media, then this as the crucial point mean, it's not the end or never was : https://www.bbc.com/news/world-us-canada-49198565

Strangely enough, I don't have any feelings, let alone positive, about the Berlin Wall. We all know how and why that came about...
Bar charts: they look so precise - but do they correspond to reality?
Just as an example, civil nuclear power was publicly sold in the peace-loving, neutral Switzerland at the end of the 1950s with a view to a possible nuclear armament.
And dear little Switzerland has such a dirty little secret in Lucens...
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Re: 30 years ago

Post by Hoser Rob » Sun Nov 10, 2019 12:12 pm

I agree Gorbachev was the main one, he just basically informed the other Warsaw Pact leaders that if they got into trouble of the civil unrest sort he wouldn't help them at all. SImple but effective.

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Re: 30 years ago

Post by MurphCID » Sun Nov 10, 2019 3:34 pm

Hoser Rob wrote:
Sun Nov 10, 2019 12:12 pm
I agree Gorbachev was the main one, he just basically informed the other Warsaw Pact leaders that if they got into trouble of the civil unrest sort he wouldn't help them at all. SImple but effective.
Very true.

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Re: 30 years ago

Post by BG405 » Wed Nov 13, 2019 4:46 pm

Pjotr wrote:
Sun Nov 10, 2019 6:46 am
"Glasnost" (openness) and "Perestroika" (reform)
I haven't heard or read those words for a long while but they are something many of us will never forget. I was watching the TV when the news broke .. something I certainly will remember for life. I actually was going to mention those but you got there first. :)

I wonder if the awful incident at Chernobyl was one of the early triggers for this new openness .. if so, at least some long-term good came from it following the tragic loss of life and livelihoods.
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