Essay: Political developments in Germany
His resignation triggered protest demonstrations all over East Germany in September 1989. The chants and protests graduated accordingly. They first expressed the desire of the Westerners to leave for East who roamed around the streets chanting “Wir wollen raus!” (“We want out!”). Later this transformed into “Wir bleiben hier”, (“We’re staying here!”). This was what many perceived as the call for peace and is famously called the start of the Peaceful revolution in Germany. The protests grew in intensity towards the end of 1989 and around a million people gathered in Alexanderplatz in East Berlin. (soft)
On the other hand the numbers of people leaving East Germany for the West were slowly and gradually mounting and had now found a new route through the Czechoslovakia. The Krenz government patiently bore this under its agreement with Czechoslovak government. To simplify the situation and relax the complications the government led by Krenz on November 9th 1989, in yet another land mark move allowed entry into West Germany directly through various crossing points that lay between the two ends. West Berlin was also allowed to commute in the process. On the eve of the same day, the ministerial administration molded a proposal for private travel. The new proposal was effective from November 10th. Mr. Gunter Schabowski who headed the Ministry of Propaganda of East Germany was stipulated to announce it. But as he was on vacations, he was not completely updated of the latest developments. (Reuters)
Just before a press conference on November 9th 1989, he was handed a written note in which he was asked to declare that East Berliners would now be allowed to travel to West Berlin. But they could not do so without prior permission. He was given no further briefing in this regard over how to handle the information. The regulations had been handed a couple of hours before the conference and were supposed to be effective the next day. He was however never informed directly. In the conference that followed he read the note out loud and when asked about the proposed date for the regulations to go in effect, he was caught unawares and said they would be effective immediately.
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