In spite of obvious physical and historical barriers between the two opposing political systems, one overran the other, almost overnight. The changeover was swift and bloodless.
As television viewers, we all know how easy it is to sway large groups of people, but still, it’s stunning how easily East German authorities convinced people that walls and borders were there to protect them from the immoral and dangerous influences of the West.
In spite of all the available firepower, attack dogs, machine guns, landmines, barbed wire, Stasi and whatever else they threatened people with, not one single shot was fired on the night of November 9, 1989.
Not long after der Berliner Mauerfall, citizens of Leipzig, Dresden and other eastern cities tested the waters and got the same response. Guards were either ambivalent about what to do, overwhelmed by the crowds or unwilling to stop them.
In the case of the Berlin Wall, we join most of the world in applauding the coup, but we should never assume progressive movements will always be the ones that prevail.
I repost these excerpts with some hesitation, but urge you to revisit the series as a reminder (and warning!) of how easily the tide can change, even when the odds are against it, even in a democracy, even in this day and age: