UCSB Hist 133C, L 23:
The Opening of the Berlin Wall, II
by Prof. Marcuse, March 1, 2004

What were the causes of the fall of the wall?

EIEIO Model of Causes in History

Rosa Luxemburg: 1918; 1/17/88 (follow-up from last time)

Luxemburg: Freedom is freedom for dissenters

  • "Freedom is always also the freedom of those with dissenting opinions."
  • marginal note in 1918 manuscript: 'Freedom only for the supporters of the government, only for the members of a political party - no matter how numerous they may be - is not freedom. Freedom is always the freedom of those who think differently." ["Freiheit nur für die Anhänger der Regierung, nur für die Mitglieder einer Partei - mögen sie noch so zahlreich sein - ist keine Freiheit. Freiheit ist immer Freiheit des Andersdenkenden."]
  • East German state: "Freedom is the insight into necessity"

Jan./Feb. 1988

May-Oct. 1989


6 October 1989 demands

  • free access to information
  • open political discussion
  • freedom of thought and creativity
  • right to maintain pluralist ideology
  • right to dissent
  • right to travel freely
  • right to exert influence on government authorities
  • right to reexamine our beliefs [not to adhere rigidly to doctrine]
  • we the people demand the right to voice opinions in affairs of state

Leipzig, October 1989Leipzig="periphery", numbers at Monday demonstrations:

  • Sept 4: 100s
  • Sep 25: 8000
  • Oct. 2: 10,000-25,000
  • Oct. 9: 50,000
  • Oct 16: 100,000
  • Oct 23: 250,000
  • Oct 30: 500,000
  • Nov. 4: 750,000-1 mio. (B.)
  • Nov. 6: 500,000

Leipzig, Oct. 9

Leipzig, Oct. 1989

Berlin, Nov. 4

Berlin, November 4, 1989: demonstrationNov. 4, 1989 "artists' demonstration," slogans:

  • Against monopoly socialism -- for democratic socialism
  • Revolutions are holidays for the people
  • Skepticism is a citizen's first obligation
  • Stepping down is a step forward
    (Rücktritt ist Fortschritt)
  • Reforms, but unlimited
    (unbekrenzt, a pun on Egon Krenz)
  • Those who don't move, don't feel their chains
  • No power for anybody!
    Privileges for All!
  • To go is silver, to stay is gold

Stefan HeymStefan Heym on Nov. 4

"... it is as if one pushed open the window after all the years of stagnation --spiritual, economic, and political-- the years of dullness and mustiness, of phrasemongering and bureaucratic arbitrariness, of official blindness and deafness. [...] Someone wrote me - and the man is right: In the past weeks we have overcome our speechlessness, and we are now in the process of learning to walk upright."

Christa Wolf on Nov. 4

Christa Wolf, Nov. 4, 1989"The 'people of the state of the GDR' have hit the street in order to identify themselves as a 'people'. And for me, this is the most important sentence of these past weeks - the thousandfold cry: We - are - the - people! A simple statement. We don't want to forget it."

Neuruppin, Nov. 28

Stasi Principles

  • Every person is a potential security risk
  • Know everything in order to be secure
  • Security has precedence over law

page by H. Marcuse, prepared for web March 1, 2004, update 11/15/04
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