10 November 2009
Reflections on the fall of the Berlin Wall
Twenty years ago this week the Berlin Wall came crashing down, and for many people who lived in the old Comecon countries, life took a decided turn for the worse. Whether we are talking about an East German academic or a Hungarian schoolgirl, the memories come thick and fast of these lands of lost content that have gone, probably never to return.
Why did socialism collapse in Eastern Europe? There are many possible explanations, but the main factor is surely that socialism arrived courtesy of the Soviet Union in 1945. It was always something that could be held up as a foreign import which all patriotic men had to oppose. Once the Soviet Union announced that it would no longer step in to keep Communist governments in power, then it was only a matter of time before nationalist forces overthrew the existing orders.
Let this be a lesson to the left: their are no short cuts on the road to power, and it has to come from within a country, it cannot be introduced from without.