For those in the former Soviet Bloc, 1989 has been called an annus mirabilis—a year of miracles. Father James Altman: Which Road Will You Choose? The ascent of Mikhail Gorbachev to power as the chairman of the Soviet Communist Party in 1985 was an epochal moment. The residues, people, and institutions of the past continued to haunt efforts at change. Lee Edwards is a In our Northern Hemisphere, we are enjoying in this beautiful, bursting season of the year one of the great recurring miracles of nature—the regeneration and renewal of the earth that we call spring. ", Among the long-winded clauses, some snippets leapt out: "exit via border crossings" and "possible for every citizen. Opposition simmered and seethed where it could—at kitchen tables, on private walks, in clandestine groups, and through certain intellectual, cultural, and sports organizations—occasionally bursting out into mass movements. That is with good reason: we need to be reminded of the bad things in order to understand our world better and to seek change. And then there was Jäger, the senior Stasi official on duty at the Bornholmer Street crossing, who could have fired on the demonstrators - but chose instead to open the wall. the 20th century, suddenly collapsed in Eastern and Central Europe Resignations of Communist Party officials and talk of free elections followed. Instead, the regime started negotiations with the trade union Solidarity led by the electrician Lech Walesa. Furthermore, "the debate over these questions could be positively influenced if the Federal Republic [of West Germany] and if NATO would commit themselves to and carry out disarmament.". But extraordinarily brave Russians and other east Europeans stood up to demand the human rights provisions which had been theoretically agreed as part of the Helsinki Final Act in 1975. Origins: Current Events in Historical Perspective gratefully acknowledges the generous support of the Stanton Foundation. Click the photo above to learn more about this Servant of God, The best and most successful revolutionaries, "There is but one law for all, namely, that law which governs all law, the law of our Creator: the law of humanity, justice, equity — the law of nature, and of nations. But BBC and other Chinese In May, the Hungarian government started to dismantle the Iron Curtain along its border with Austria, allowing East Germans to cross over into West Germany. History 499. 1989: The Year of Miracles. ", "The preservation of the sacred fire of liberty, and the destiny of the republican model of government, are justly considered as deeply, perhaps as finally staked, on the experiment entrusted to the hands of the American people. 1989 was also the year that millions of pro-democracy Chinese 1989 in Eastern Europe (History 499/ver. All rights reserved. There are other tragic anniversaries in 2009 that should be

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