The aftermath of World War II was the partitioning of Europe among the four superpowers: United States, Britain, France, and U.S.S.R. Eastern Europe was virtually occupied by USSR while Western Europe was occupied by other nations…
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After German invasion of the Soviet Union and the end of Nazi war, the four nations decided to divide Berlin the capital of Germany into four parts. Thereafter, a Cold War ensued between U.S and Soviet Union leading to the division of Germany into East and West Germany with East Germany under control of USSR and West Germany under the other three superpowers that had united their occupations to form Federal Republic of Germany. A wall was erected to divide the two Germans thus preventing travel or communication with either side of the divide. However, in 1989 after much pressure from civic organizations in East Germany and after an announcement by USSR president Mikhail Gorbachev that “the days of monolithic Soviet Bloc were over” thus relinquishing its hold on former satellite states (Fulbrook 243; Turner 230) the ‘iron curtain’ of Europe came tumbling down. ...
This led to mass movement of East Germans through Hungary-Austria border and others through Czechoslovakia while still others sought refuge in West Germany embassies in Prague and Warsaw until it reached crisis levels. There was shortage of housing in West Germany plus a strain on its economy. This was also a blow to the East as it lost much of its productive population. At first, German Democratic Republic (GDR) tried to imprison immigrants in Eastern Europe while conducting ‘house arrests’ in GDR to stop them but it did not work. Those who went and came back from the West came with new ideas and view of the world thus pressure began mounting on the government for reforms. This led to peaceful non-violent demonstrations, prayer meetings and discussions by churches. These Leipzig demonstrations were met with violence especially by the Stagi (secret political police) but in the end the SED led by Erich Honecker agreed to dialogue (Fulbrook 245). Honecker instituted few reforms but the GDR citizens were not satisfied. They wanted democratization and free elections. As such, the movement to the West continued and by September, more than 3500 GDR citizens in Hungary were demanding to be allowed to leave for the West (Turner 227). Some went to Warsaw to demand that West Germany embassy to allow them to leave for Federal Republic. Due to pressure by international media, SED allowed those in Prague and Warsaw to travel. However, in early October, it closed borders to GDR leading to unrest. Independent civic organizations such as the New Forum, Democracy Now Democratic Awakening, and Social Democratic Party (SDP) were formed. They were all demanding for free elections and removal of restrictions on travel. To appease the
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