A Revolutionary activist named Fournier, known as "the American" because he had been born in the French colony of Guadeloupe, here recalls his own role as a National Guardsman in the October Days as being more important than that of the market women.
The commission investigating the October Days took testimony from twenty–five women who had participated, including Marie–Rose Barré, a twenty–year old unmarried lace–worker, whose testimony is excerpted below. Barré had been one of the women chosen to meet directly with the King to present the women’s concerns.
On 25 December 1979, the Soviet Union deployed its army in Afghanistan, in support of the Afghan Communist government against a group of Muslim opponents. For the next nine years, the Soviet army was involved in a long-drawn out military conflict without a victory, creating a constant embarrassment for Soviet military might. The expense of causalities and supplies was a constant drain on the... Read More »
Prague Embassy cable, November 21 Morning Demonstration At Wenceslas Square: Overheard Conversations
Just a week before the Velvet Revolution began, it was smarter to look for public opinion in a family kitchen rather than on a city sidewalk. People still monitored what they said outside their homes. By November 21, the squares in Prague were becoming open forums. This embassy report described the "word on the streets" overheard by an American official's spouse that day on Wenceslas Square.... Read More »
The fall of 1989 was a turbulent one. A new reform-oriented government had been elected in Poland, new elections were scheduled in Hungary, and East Germany had a new leader, Egon Krenz, who was speaking openly about reforms in the GDR (German Democratic Republic, also known as East Germany). In this telephone conversation, U.S. President George H. W. Bush discusses the situation in Poland,... Read More »
West German Chancellor Helmut Kohl and U.S. President George H. W. Bush kept in close contact throughout the period between the fall of the Berlin Wall in November 1989 and Germany's unification on October 3, 1990. The process of German unification was complicated by the fact that there was never an official treaty ending World War II. Thus, the four victorious powers (France, the United... Read More »
Tadeusz Mazowiecki, a founder of Solidarity, who became Poland’s first noncommunist prime minister in forty years, visited Washington for three days of meetings in March 1990 as European and American diplomats were engrossed in negotiations to devise a plan for German reunification that would be acceptable to all nations involved. The Polish government feared that a powerful reunited Germany... Read More »
Soon after President George H. W. Bush learned the news that the Berlin Wall had opened allowing East Germans to crossover into West Berlin, his press secretary convened an impromptu press conference in the Oval Office. Bush’s wary responses to reporters’ questions, included in the excerpt below, left an impression that he was less than moved by the historic event. The Washington Post noted... Read More »