Die Wende

1989 - 1990

The Peaceful Revolution was the process of sociopolitical change that led to the opening of East Germany's borders with the west, the end of the Socialist Unity Party of Germany in the German Democratic Republic and the transition to a parliamentary democracy, which enabled the reunification of Germany in October 1990. This happened through non-violent initiatives and demonstrations. This period of change is also referred to in German as Die Wende.
These events were closely linked to Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev's decision to abandon Soviet hegemony in Eastern Europe as well as the reformist movements that spread through Eastern Bloc countries. In addition to the Soviet Union's shift in foreign policy, the GDR's lack of competitiveness in the global market, as well as its sharply rising national debt, hastened the destabilization of the SED's one-party state.
Those driving the reform process within the GDR included intellectuals and church figures who had been in underground opposition for several years, people attempting to flee the country, and peaceful demonstrators who were no longer willing to yield to the threat of violence and repression.
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