Mr Gorbachev Tear Down That Wall!

Jun 12th, 2007, 01:27 PM
  #41  
 
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>Let's not forget that KGB, under Gorbachev rule were still financing the anti-US/Nato demonstrations in western Europe.

You mean US government or it's agencies never ever financed pro-US movements and demonstrations in other countries? Really?
Sauce for the goose...
altamiro is offline  
Jun 12th, 2007, 01:34 PM
  #42  
 
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Bonzo went to Bitburg in 1985. If he visited again in 2005, it was spectrally; he died in 2004.

Lest we forget:

4/11/85
The White House announces that President Reagan will lay a wreath at the Bitburg, West Germany, military cemetery housing the graves of both American and Nazi soldiers. It is quickly noted that there are, in fact, no Americans buried there.

4/18/85
While Michael Deaver is in West Germany searching for an "appropriate" concentration camp for the President to visit, President Reagan defends his visit to Bitburg by claiming the German soldiers "were victims, just as surely as the victims in the concentration camps." They were in fact largely Waffen SS.

4/29/85
President Reagan defends the Bitburg visit as "morally right," adding, "I know all the bad things that happened in that war. I was in uniform for four years myself." President Reagan spent his time during World War Two in Hollywood, making training films.

5/5/85
After having visited the Bergen-Belsen death camp, President Reagan makes an eight minute stop at Bitburg. During the ceremony, he cites a letter from 13-year-old Beth Flom who, he claims, "urged me to lay the wreath at Bitburg cemetery in honor of the future of Germany." In fact, she urged him not to go at all.
fnarf999 is offline  
Jun 12th, 2007, 01:35 PM
  #43  
 
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Yes CIA and some other agencies did finance some pro-US/western European groups, but guess what?

What system turned out to be the better one and which economic/political system did the majority of Eastern Europeans fighting for? and eventually got, and are reaping the rewards?

I would love to see the western Europeans living in the Socialist/Communist world. That would have been lovely....
AAFrequentFlyer is offline  
Jun 12th, 2007, 01:37 PM
  #44  
 
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DAX, the "NATO Doppelbeschluss" was the enemy "we" did fight at the time. In person it was the Schmidt government. His party wa deeply devided because of it. New Cruise Missiles and Pershing II were to be stationed in western Germany and at the same time talks with the SU on the limitation of mid range missiles should take place. Our point of view was simply why do we need more wapons to kill eachother when both parties already kann kill eachother a thousand times. We didn't want to be nuked. All those missiles in our woods could only kill ourselves (in west and east) and nothing more. When the alternative to being dead is being red, being red doesn't sound so scary anymore...
logos999 is offline  
Jun 12th, 2007, 02:02 PM
  #45  
 
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That's interesting. I only read about Reagan, John Paul II or Gorbatchev being responsible about the fall of the wall. Did one of you give a thought to the idea that maybe the common people living in the former Communist Countries could have contributed a bit to that?

What about the many Polish workers who made the Solidarnosc so powerful? The people who demonstrated for a change in East Germany, Czechoslovakia, Hungary? And all these courageous guys who fought in the underground since the early 1980s? I don't know anyone in East Germany who thinks Reagan's speech was of any relevance. It was not noticed at all.

Btw, here in Saxony we call this delicious food 'Pfannkuchen'. If someone says 'Ich bin ein Berliner' we know he's from Berlin and hope he goes back to where he's from asap.
Ingo is offline  
Jun 12th, 2007, 02:08 PM
  #46  
 
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Agreed 100%, Ingo!
logos999 is offline  
Jun 12th, 2007, 02:13 PM
  #47  
 
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Politican's take credit..it's genetic.

History is simpler when you can point to one event and say...that's what caused this.

I've read that it was the massive losses on the Russian front that was more the cause of the German defeat than what was happening on the Western front.

I will assume that the Berlin Wall coming down was also more of a combination of what was going on in Eastern Europe and in the West....
Michel_Paris is offline  
Jun 12th, 2007, 02:17 PM
  #48  
 
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I did mentioned "eastern WEuropeans fighting for" and Reagan, JP2 and "some other factors"....

btw, I was born in Poland and still have family there. Some of my cousins were involved with Solidarnosc and not one will deny the fact that the Reagan administration + JP2 were not the turning point for the Warsaw pact at that time.

I was also privilaged to have met many of the Poles, Czechs, Slovaks, and Hungarians that were deeply involved in the counter revolution back in the 60s, 70s and 80s. I give any and all of them a great deal of credit, but to say that they would have done it on their own is ridiculous. All, and I mean all still give thanks to the west for the support when the support was most needed, and Reagan administration was on the forefront of the support. (at least according to the people I've met since), but the Monday morning quarterbacks know better, I guess?
AAFrequentFlyer is offline  
Jun 12th, 2007, 02:18 PM
  #49  
 
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I meant to say "were THE turning point at that time"....
AAFrequentFlyer is offline  
Jun 12th, 2007, 02:26 PM
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>Reagan administration was on the forefront of the support
For Iran it surely was ;-).
logos999 is offline  
Jun 12th, 2007, 02:29 PM
  #51  
 
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What exactly was the support for the East Germans, Czechs, Hungarians etc.? Ah, I see you didn't mention East Germans. On purpose?
Ingo is offline  
Jun 12th, 2007, 05:12 PM
  #52  
DAX
 
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Ingo: You brought up a good point. Yes, we must absolutely recognize the brave & timely actions of the Czechs, East Germans and the Poles, but we also know that the most powerful politicians have the final say as far as guns & tanks(left or right). Gorbachev could have easily made an order to crush the commoner bravados. One may also consider Reagan's rhetoric as lending support to encourage/instigate the Eastern commoners to rebel against Russia.

logos: Thanks for clarifying Doppelbeschluess. I don't know much of the details but I can see it as a simple logic of bargaining. The west was just trying to put a couple more chips on the table to raise the bet and bluff. All's well as it ends well but I never thought about the effects it had on the people who were living on the betting table at the time. It's not something we give much thought of as we've been so fortunate that all the betting has been occuring elsewhere not in our backyard.
DAX is offline  
Jun 12th, 2007, 05:19 PM
  #53  
 
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Gorbachev let it happen. It was mostly an economic and consumer goods revolution that caused the wall to fall.

Yes Zeus, the Soviet Union was a huge threat, but they were and still are a third world country with nuclear weapons.
2Italy is offline  
Jun 12th, 2007, 05:29 PM
  #54  
 
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Yes, Reagan's speech was just grandstanding. Communism sort of imploded from within. It had more to do with Pope John Paul sort of setting it off when he went to Poland and the Solidarity protests got going than it did with Reagan. As with much of what Reagan "did", it was great theater but not much else.
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Jun 12th, 2007, 05:54 PM
  #55  
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I have long been surprised that no one offers this analogy, to explain the Kennedy "slip"...

If you were giving the same speech in Copenhagen, and said

"I am a Danish" instead of "I am Danish" - - well that's the kind of thing that (if Bush delivered it) would get added to David Letterman's "Great American Presidential Speeches"...

I head the same aforementioned piece on NPR today, and found it interesting that someone gave his account of a recent visit to the Museum of the History of the Berlin Wall (I might not have that exact name right) - - and said that he found no reference to the Reagan speech there.

A fairly thoughtful commentary on the "famous" Reagan speech appears today in http://www.nytimes.com/2007/06/10/opinion/10mann.html - - "Tear Down That Myth".

As the NPR intereview pointed out this morning, if Reagan got it right when he said "Mr. Gorbachev..." it was due in no small part to the fact that he had studied foreign relations at the knee of Lady Margaret Thatcher. It was she who...

"was the first Western leader to respond warmly to the rise of the future reformist Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev, declaring that she liked him and describing him as <<a man we can do business with>> after a meeting in 1984, three months before he came to power." (cited from Wikipedia, whose entry is no doubt assembled from many sources).

Best wishes,

Rex
rex is offline  
Jun 12th, 2007, 06:18 PM
  #56  
 
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A couple of posters mentioned Solidarity, but I read no mention here of Lech Walesa. Surely he had great influence on events in the Eastern bloc.

It seems to me a gross misjudgement to credit Reagan with any real effect on the fall of the Soviet Union.
Pegontheroad is online now  
Jun 12th, 2007, 08:35 PM
  #57  
DAX
 
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Peg: Amen to your second statement if you're talking about the rhetoric alone, but I still think that it wouldn't have happen if Carter had a second presidential term. Reagan did make the US a stronger threat to the USSR even if it was a bluff.
DAX is offline  
Jun 12th, 2007, 08:51 PM
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Looking at the film clips of Kennedy making his Berlin speech, I think the crowds had no problem understanding his point, they react with a roar! And he managed to keep his watch in that crowd....
beaupeep is offline  
Jun 12th, 2007, 10:01 PM
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Saw a BBC documentary some years ago with interviews with various East German leaders, which claimed that in many ways the actual fall of the wall was accidental.

There had been demonstrations all over East Germany, and the leaders figured if they came up with a 'sweetener' they could perhaps cool things down. So they decided people could go over to visit relatives, and sent their spokesman to the television station with a press release. While on the air, someone asked when this was going to happen - I guess as of now, he says, having had no direction. And of course there was no protocol drawn up as to how it was to be handled.

So people started swarming to the wall, where the guards had also had no direction. They tried calling HQ, where no one was on duty, and the senior guard on the wall at that time (also interviewed) looked at all the people outside his cabin, and said, 'Either I have to shoot all these people, or let them through.' So he opened the gates, and as he watched thousands of people massing through, asked himself why he had spent the last 20 years trying to keep them all out.
Carlux is offline  
Jun 12th, 2007, 10:14 PM
  #60  
 
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Hungary was actually the first country to break off from Russia. The others followed soon after.
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