Mary Elise Sarotte
Basic Books, €27.50;
The fall of the Berlin Wall on November 9, 1989, was one of the most significant events in 20th century history. It led to the end of the Communist regime in East Germany, and to full German reunification and the death of Communism in Europe.
American university professor Mary Sarotte has, in great detail and partly through the experiences of ordinary people, described the demise of the wall. She says it came about mainly through a series of “accidents” combined with the bravery of Germans in East Berlin and elsewhere in East Germany, who had for a long time demonstrated peacefully for change. Prime minister Margaret Thatcher was concerned that it might lead to a resurgence of German nationalism and Vladimir Putin was unhappy because “the Soviet Union has lost its position in Europe”. This well-researched book will be a valuable addition to the vast amount of literature about Germany and the chequered history of Berlin.
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