← Unequal Democracy

The Year that Changed the World


Michael Meyer was Newsweek’s bureau chief for Balkans, Central Europe and Germany between 1988 and 1992. He wrote different stories on the dissolution of Socialist Europe and German union. Meyer concealed the revival of Solidarity Movement in Poland led by Lech Walensa; he also planned the Velvet Revolution together with Czech Vaclav Havel. Moreover, he was one of the last Americans who interviewed Romanian ruler. Therefore, he put pen to paper to create The Year that Changed the World: the Untold Story behind the Fall of the Berlin Wall. The author provides the reader with a hard-boiled reevaluation of the ground-breaking depth that disrupted the secret curtain in 1989. He restores the actions former to November, 9, 1989. During the time frame there was the increase of disappointments, confusions, and requests to act through Eastern and Central Europe in many places in neighboring series through the district. The atmosphere dragged the basics from under the socialist system so that, eternal and immovable as it appeared, it unexpectedly distorted underneath its own weightiness.

Get a Price Quote
Title of your paper
Type of assignment Writer level
Spacing Timeframes
Currency Pages
First order only:


Michael Meyer is considered to be a perfect historian. In his book, the author intends to bust a myth concerning the influence of the U.S.A. in making a breakdown of the socialist regime in 1989. Many Americans are used to believe that the communist regime failed down because of White House influence. In reality, American interfering was slightly benevolent and, during that year, obviously premature. The favored fable starts with Ronald Reagan utterance at the Brandenburg Gate. He said that Americans heard from Russia about a new direction. Moreover, he stated that Gorbachev had opened the gates and tore down the wall. According to that mythos, the wall came down because of the American president Reagan, similar to a compassionate magician, who screamed "Open Sesame!".

The ethical haggard is that immoral, despotic regimes smashed while challenged by virtuous resentment. George W. Bush worshiped Reagan and tried to imitate his idol. His past misrepresentation stimulated disaster in the present days. The existent story is complicated but enormously exciting. In contemporary world, Reagan plays a great role, but as a civil servant, not a hero. His influence came in commodity; his readiness to have a discourse with Gorbachev provided the Soviet groundbreaker with the assurance to disrupt patterns. However, Gorbachev had not torn down the wall; he just recommended that modification would be accepted.

There is a perfect phrase in the book that shows all the hidden deeps. Meyer says that all happenings were formed by “the logic of human messiness”.

Hidden deep in this brilliant book is the perfect phrase to characterize the manual, as events were shaped by "the logic of human messiness." The systems in Europe were devastated not by monumental force, but by innumerable people responding spontaneously to the independence of possibility. Watching from far away, the reader could notice what appeared like well-ordered tiny dominoes falling down. Actually, the happening was unpredictable and disordered as a storm. Therefore, everyone can understand that a chance played a great role. The author says that the overthrow of the Berlin Wall was not made occasionally. It happened as an accident. Everything occurred when Hungary separately resolved to open its boundary to Austria, consequently giving people from East Germany a prospect to join their partners in the West part of the country. Thousands of people moved day after day. After the aforementioned events, Egon Krenz decided to permit free travels as his country was on the brink of collapse. The reason was that if movement was not prohibited, his populaces would have come back.

The other German story about the misperception and blundering in the Politb?ro proclaimed new pass rules by mistake and left frontier guards without any commands, according to thousands of people who gathered near the Berlin Wall. Nonetheless, the story is a deception. The author says that communism comes from Hungary and not from Germany. The economy of Hungary was collapsing. The Hungarian governmental elite agreed that economy needed serious support. The author purposes to credit where it is due to precisely insignificant group of East European adventurers, with Hungarian Miklos Nemeth, a Prime Minister recently selected in 1988 by a team of socialists taking their sign from innovative Soviet frontrunner Gorbachev, who, consistent with Nemeth, took the lid off a boiler.

Nemeth and his associates planned to reform the crushed Hungarian economy by faintly acquaint with free enterprise and social equality, thus bringing into line the state with the West. They had an aim to “fall” the Berlin Wall, by first appealing the infested Hungary’s border with Austria by German cyclic travelers, who were able eliminate the West then. The task to Soviet governor was unique, up till now Gorbachev had not any interest to a forceful reprisal. Moreover, a chance given to thousands of people, who were standing on the border, was of the great importance. The border guard had no guidance what to do. Therefore, he waited some time and then opened the gates.

Surely, the Berlin Wall and the logic of East Germany were destroyed. What was thought to have been successful reform became a messy rebellion of populaces. Krenz had wanted to save certain fundamentals of communism; however, he lost control over happenings when Eastern population went across to Western Germany. History revolved on the misconception of a word. Krenz named it a fiasco. Somewhere else, Meyer inscribes, main reorganizations were in progress. Wojciech Jaruzelski activated to share force with the Unity labor union after the elections in Poland. Uncompromising representative Erich Honecker, who overseen the structure of the Berlin Wall, had been troubled by the force in East Germany. Massive protests occupied Wenceslas Square in Prague.

Here, Meyer reveals some intellectual people, not likely the idols who, at this moment in time, acted astutely. The Czech nonconformist Vaclav Havel told that their leaders wore the unchanging masks and declared the same phrases. He said that at that moment, all masks would disappear, and everybody would be able to know who was who. It could surprise people to recognize an intelligent person under the masks. Obviously, the main player among them was Miklos Nemeth. He was Hungarian Prime Minister, a socialist who decided to put an end to the communist regime. Contrary to Czechoslovakia and East Germany, Hungary’s rebellion was a revolution performed by some levelheaded people. The author expertly holds the root of these happenings and skillfully expresses their extraordinary impact.


As the result, Meyer creates a book which unconditionally means writing and unconditionally means reading, a good going over of the concluding episodes preparing to November 1989 – the organization, the discussions, the taking away of a border barrier with Austria. The Europa picnic kept by an elderly Otto Habsburg whose idea of a unified Europe was unexpectedly being brought to life.

Every reader can call this book a friendly one. Meyer narrates important happenings in an easily reached, attractive and deeply vivid way. The reader needs to remind himself seldom that he is reading the fact-based book. It is great that history can be written with such vitality. The book kills two birds with one stone: a reasonable portion of exploration and an attractive individual description.

Consequently, everyone should be thankful to the author, the American citizen, for creating a book mostly for Americans, as he hopes to bring them a much closer consideration of new history with the aspect of persons who came through it. Moreover, it is a great story for Europeans, as well. It is an unusual chance to read the history observed from other point of view and side.

Related essays

  1. Unequal Democracy
  2. Sociology: Literature Review