Mikhail Gorbachev

Mikhail Sergeyevich Gorbachev paid a State visit to the Federal Republic of Germany on this day in history–on June 13, 1989. Mr. Gorbachev, then First Secretary of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union, had come to sign a declaration along with German Chancellor Helmut Kohl www.cvce.eu. The joint statement affirmed the right of peoples and States to self-determination.

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During his four-day stay in West Germany, Mikhail Gorbachev visited and spoke in several cities. Each time, the crowds cheered affectionately, “Gorby, Gorby, Gorby.” When the First Secretary and his wife, Raissa, appeared on the main plaza of Bonn, the former German capital, thousands of well-wishers applauded. A young boy presented him with him flowers. The people tied their hopes to the man who had introduced Glasnost and Perestroika in the Soviet Union. He had instilled new hope for change and peace.

Despite the general enthusiasm, no one realized though that Glasnost and Perestroika had opened a crack that would continue to widen. Five months later it would allow the Berlin Wall to come down. On November 9, 1989, the Berlin Wall fell after twenty-eight years. Mikhail Gorbachev refrained from giving orders to intervene militarily. On October 3, 1990, the unification of East and West Germany was complete. It is doubtful that any of that could have happened without the restraint shown by the First Secretary of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union.

 

For a sneak peek at the first 20+ pages of my memoir, Walled-In: A West Berlin Girl’s Journey to Freedom, click “Download a free excerpt” on the home page of http://www.walled-in-berlin.com. Walled-In is a story of growing up in Berlin during the Cold War.

 

 

 

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