Given the prevailing thermonuclear Cold War endgame prediction of the 1980s, was the “Fall of the Berlin Wall” back in November 9, 1989 the unlikeliest Cold War conclusion ever?
By: Ringo Bones
Even though when Francis Fukuyama published his essay “The End of History” during the summer of 1989, it was primarily inspired by the passing of Japan’s Emperor Hirohito, rather than the “Fall of the Berlin Wall” which has still a few months left before falling, most people at this point back in 1989 still harbour the notion that a full-scale thermonuclear war between the United States and the Soviet Union is still possible. I mean during the time I heard of the news that the Berlin Wall fell back in November 9, 1989 - I was both still listening and composing heavy metal songs about a post thermonuclear war world circa 1999 as seen from late 1980s era Cold War. The Fall of the Berlin Wall may seem an anti-climactic ending for those old enough to have lived through the Cold War and did their respective military service – both compulsory and voluntary – but at least it’s a peaceful one.
Back then, a “peaceful” transition of totalitarian style Marxist-Leninist-Socialism to a more democratic system in the then East-Bloc countries is still inconceivable to the most of us during the middle of 1989 due to the recent brutal crackdown of peaceful student demonstrators at Tiananmen Square back in June 4, 1989. To tell everyone the truth, I’m still surprised that when the Berlin Wall crumbled, it was largely a peaceful, almost routine passing of power in light of the recent Tiananmen Square Massacre back then. Does this mean that – then and now - the “Slavic People” have a better grasp of what Marxist-Leninist-Socialism is all about in comparison to the Mainland Chinese?
After seeing the recent 25th Anniversary fanfare of the Fall of the Berlin Wall – with the releasing of the white LED illuminated balloons marking where the Berlin Wall used to be and the musical extravaganza that featured Daniel Barenboim conducting Beethoven’s Ninth which has since become the “theme song” of post Cold War German reunification and Renée Fleming singing. The Fall of the Berlin Wall is probably one of the historically significant event of Generation X’ers.