1989's story could have had a much darker and bloodier ending

30 years ago, Europe experienced a truly miraculous few months. Today, we should honour not only those who fought for change, but also those who refused to send out the tanks

20th August, 2019
1989's momentous change was not inevitable. Pic: iStock

This month marks 30 years since Europe – and human civilisation generally – began to undergo a miraculous transformation that is now etched in the world’s memory. By the summer of 1989, the Soviet Union was already in terminal decline. The only question was whether communism would disintegrate peacefully, or amid an explosion of violence and devastation.

Meanwhile, on the periphery of the Soviet empire, many feared that a potential collapse of the system would...

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