East Germans Protesting (1989)

Dresden, Montagsdemonstration

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.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s