Architecture and Revolution: Contemporary Perspectives on Central and Eastern Europe

By Neil Leach | Go to book overview

Introduction

Neil Leach

Figure 1 A West Berliner takes a hammer to the wall by the Brandenburg Gate, dawn, 10 November 1989

In 1989 Europe witnessed some of the most dramatic events of the twentieth century. The fall of the Iron Curtain and the collapse of the Soviet Bloc were as unexpected as they were sudden. These were events that might have been anticipated with time, but which could hardly have been expected at that precise moment. Although there had been tell-tale signs, the very speed of change took the world by surprise. While many Western observers had been following the steady rise of the Solidarity movement in Poland, few would have predicted that by May 1989 Hungary would have started to dismantle portions of the Iron Curtain along its border with Austria, and that by 9 November the Berlin Wall itself would have been breached. By 25 December 1989, Nicolai Ceausescu the last surviving communist leader, had been tried and summarily executed, and Central and Eastern Europe was largely free of communism.

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