By the end of the 1980s, the Soviet Union could no longer maintain its sphere of influence in Eastern Europe and East Germany. The East German population was growing more restless with lack of reforms in Erich Honecker’s East Germany. The collapse of the East German state began with a decline in the standard of living and a much larger police state apparatus. The picture shows what East Germans rarely did : having protests. It is uncertain that if Honecker embraced reforms, that his leadership would have survived. Already members of the Socialist Unity Party were gradually turning against him. The reform movement evolved far beyond gaining more political freedoms. There was a desire for unification. The East Germans who chose to protest risked imprisonment or death. Protesters could easily be arrested by the Stasi . Mikhail Gorbachev’s concepts glastnost and perestroika spread throughout Romania, Hungary, East Germany, Bulgaria, Czechoslovakia, and other European one party communist states. This would result in the end of communism in Europe. Germany reunited in 1990, but there were social as well as political problems. The former East Germany struggle with high unemployment and a resurgence of far-right extremism appeared. Economic shock therapy did not bring prosperity to all. Unification did not solve all German problems and challenges such as xenophobic nativist racism, maintaining economic strength, and the questions surrounding Germany’s role in European affairs still remain.