09 November 2009

The fall of the wall, plus 20

Berlin Wall, 9 November 1989

The autumn of 1989 was an exciting time to be teaching political science, due to the extraordinary events occurring in the former east European Soviet bloc. The culmination was, of course, the dramatic opening of the Berlin Wall on 9 November. A political illusion that had seemed so immovable for four decades collapsed with unprecedented swiftness over the course of a very few weeks. By Christmas it was all over, and a new era had begun. To my current students, of course, this is all ancient history, of which they have no memory.

I might add that, in 1993, one of my former students travelled through Europe and brought back for me two pieces of the wall, which I have on a book shelf in my campus office.

Later: The New York Times carries some wonderful before and after photographs of the Berlin Wall: A Division Through Time. They’re definitely worth a look.

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