Dealing with the Stasi

The great riddle of German reunification involves the two dogs that didn’t bark. The first dog was the Stasi, the East German secret service, which did so little to prevent the demonstrations of 1989 from bringing down Party chief Erich Honecker, the Berlin Wall, and then the entire Communist regime. The second dog was the East German people, who exacted so little revenge against the Stasi...
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Bridging the East-West Divide

In the 1970s and 1980s, the West European peace and environmental movement reached out, tentatively at first and then more vigorously, to the dissident groups in Eastern Europe. Nowhere was this more evident than in West Germany. The Green Party, established in 1979, integrated the peace and environmental agendas and cultivated links with the emerging independent peace movement in East Germany....
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The Monday Demonstrations

The citizens of Leipzig are very proud of the fact that the East Germany revolution of 1989 began in their city. Leipzig has two famous churches in the heart of its old quarter. Bach made St. Thomas Church famous for music when he was its choir director for 28 years in the first part of the 18th century. Nearby St. Nicholas Church, meanwhile, became the center of the protests in 1989 that...
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Why North Korea 2014 Is Not East Germany 1989

Policy analysts, pundits, and politicians have long predicted that the North Korean government will go the way of East German Communism. Just as the seemingly impregnable Honecker regime rapidly disintegrated along with the Berlin Wall in November 1989, the Kim dynasty in North Korea has been expected to collapse at any minute. This minute, of course, has lasted for more than two decades. The...
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Countering Sexism in East Germany

In March 1990, just after the first and only democratic elections in East Germany, I visited the House of Democracy in East Berlin. In this building on Friedrichstrasse, at a prime location near Unter den Linden and the luxurious Grand Hotel, were located all of the major civic initiatives that had ushered democracy into the country. “Ushered” is the operative word here, for these groups did...
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