The Mornings After the Opening of the Berlin Wall: Todor Zhivkov Replaced in Bulgaria (Washington Post xeroxes plus Videos)
Posted by romanianrevolutionofdecember1989 on November 11, 2014
“The 70s and the 80s? You’re not missing anything! I looked into it. There’s a gas shortage and a flock of seagulls. That’s about it.”— Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me (1999)
In early 1989 in the United States, there was little in the news to suggest the momentous events which were to transpire in Eastern Europe during that year. For some reason I remember ABC News leading off for days with stories about a whale trapped in the ice in Alaska and about the great Grape Scare of ’89 when two grapes from Chile were alleged to have been found with traces of cyanide.
Two quotes capture well the surprise of 1989 as it progressed and the significance of the Opening of the Berlin Wall on 9 November 1989:
“Our jaws cannot drop any lower. Our predictions could not be more confounded. By the end of 1989 the face of Europe was totally different from what it had been at the beginning, even from what it was halfway through the year. Nothing that had happened before, not even the breaking of ground that had occurred in Poland and Hungary, pointed to this.” (Ron Linden, quoted in J.F. Brown’s Surge to Freedom, p. 41)
“In China, the Communists had just massacred the students in Tienanmen Square and won themselves another quarter-century in power. On the other hand, the Poles voted overwhelmingly for Solidarity in June, and by September Hungary had opened its border with the West. But it was the fall of the Berlin Wall on 9 November, 1989, that really opened the flood-gates.…” (Gwynne Dyer, “The Berlin Wall, 25 Years Later,” http://bangordailynews.com/2014/11/10/opinion/25-years-later-the-berlin-wall/
On 10 November 1989, Todor Zhivkov, Bulgaria’s communist leader of more than three decades, was replaced.
Photos from my stay in Sofia in June 1987 (on the left Georgi Dimitrov mausoleum and the inside of my hotel room)
(as I don’t krow Bulgarian, I cannot vouch for the accuracy or credibility of the above videos)