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People Power Brought Down the Berlin Wall

YES! Magazine - What brought about the fall of the Berlin Wall 20 years ago?

Some argue that it was the Cold War and the escalation of military spending that was just too costly for the Soviet empire to maintain.

If that was the case, that should be a cautionary tale for the United States as we struggle to maintain a nuclear arsenal, support over 700 military bases around the world, develop expensive new weapons systems, and, of course, fight two wars - including one in a country where the USSR, also, met its match.

But military over-spending was only part of the reason the people of East Germany were able to bring down the wall, according to an article in Forbes by Konrad H. Jarausch, professor of European Civilization at the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill. "Ultimately it was the spread of detente, helped by his personal rapport with the U.S. president that allowed [Soviet President Mikhail] Gorbachev to ... set the satellites free," he says.

Another factor was just as important. The wall couldn't have come down without a nonviolent people power uprising. Read more.

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