November 9, 1989

Saturday, November 9, AD 2013

Twenty-four years ago today my wife and I arrived home from buying software for our Commodore 64  (Yeah, it is that long ago.) and watched stunned after we turned on the tv as we saw East Germans dancing on top of the Berlin War, tearing into it with sledge hammers.   It is hard to convey to people who did not live through the Cold War how wonderful a sight this was.  Most people at the time thought the Cold War was a permanent state of things.  Not Ronald Wilson Reagan.  He knew that Communism would end up on the losing side of history and throughout his career strove to bring that day ever closer.  His becoming President so soon after John Paul II became Pope set the stage for the magnificent decade of the Eighties when Communism passed from being a deadly threat to the globe to a belief held only by a handful of benighted tyrannical regimes around the world, and crazed American professors.  In most of his movies, the good guys won in the end, and Reagan helped give us a very happy ending to a menace that started in 1917 and died in 1989.

Here is an interview Sam Donaldson did with Reagan immediately after the fall of the wall:

The thirst for freedom that the hand of God places in each human soul can be held down by force for a time, but it never can be killed forever.

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10 Responses to November 9, 1989

  • Twenty-four years…

    The link below is to a July 4 2011 article written in the Spectator Coffee House blog by Colleen Graffy to mark the unveiling of the Grosvenor Square statue of President Reagan.

    I wrote then:

    “Regarding the Wall and with due apologies for any perceived crudity. In company with several German, Dutch and American colleagues I had the very great pleasure of p*****g on the rubble within hours of its fall. I am not ashamed to say that I wept constantly during those blessed days. As I recently mentioned somewhere hereabouts, I have a lump of the accursed thing in my study at home with a wee NATO flag stuck in it.”

    President Ronald Reagan 1911-2004

    Karol Józef Wojtyła, Blessed Pope John Paul Magnus 1920-2005

    Baroness (Margaret) Thatcher of Kesteven 1925-2013

    All gone now.

    God be good to them…

  • I will never forget the sight of the Berlin Wall coming down. I was working on DC at the time and went to my grandmother’s home in Washington, PA for the weekend. I saw the whole thing on TV and it was amazing. Every network was covering the event….but the NBC station in Steubenville, Ohio showed a tape delay broadcast of the Steubenville High School football playoff game.

    I never have forgotten that.

  • And the fight continues in every generation:

  • Amazing point in history, like many I remember clearly watching it all unfold on tv, I was building bookshelves at the family cottage and they came tumbling down (like the Wall)—directly on my head 😀
    Hopefully the architects of the destruction of Communism, mentioned in Kennybhoy’s post, will pray for us. Because the same stupid ideas just keep popping up.

  • I wasn’t old enough to remember it coming down, and it sure wasn’t mentioned in school, but my folks’ general reaction at any mention of it spoke volumes when I was a kid.

  • The next time a liberal friend scoffs at Pres Reagan’s “evil empire” speech refer him to Ta-Neshi Caotes of the Atlantic writing about postwar Europe:

    More than anyone, Stalin is the most fascinating figure in the early chapters of Postwar. I can’t get a handle on him. He bumbles constantly. When Stalin goes to subjugate Poland, he is crippled by the fact that he’s purged an entire generation of Polish communists. He was caught totally by surprise when Hitler invaded. And yet somehow Stalin does not just hold on to power he increases his power.

    The politics at work in this era of Central\Eastern Europe remind me of the politics at work during in the early 17th century. There’s that same sense of chaos and shifting alliances. As history, it is totally gripping. I have argued, repeatedly, that white people have never done anything to black people they haven’t done to themselves. You see this in the Stalin’s empire–right down to the slave ships.

  • At the same time as the Achille Lauro incident, my father and I were on a month-long Battlefield Tour in Europe, which would eventually take us through West Germany (how weird that looks now,) Austria, Czechoslovakia and East Germany.

    Having stood on both sides of the Berlin Wall, I remember kicking myself for not grabbing the first plane over and joining in the party when the Wall was coming down. I kick myself even harder today. The ability to speak of those events in the first person would bear incredible weight these days, when so much of what we see transpiring in this country becomes redolent of those tyrannical systems brought down just a generation ago.

    To this day, I imagine myself deplaning, small overnight case in hand, hailing the first cab I see and simply saying “Die Mauer, bitte, und schnell.”

  • Interestingly, communism or socialism really isn’t dead. It represents the ideals of many still. They imagine it is the way of progress or its goal.

  • Mr. Colli9ns –

    I think nobody ruled through fear the way Stalin did. Stalin could never have been anything in politics except what he was. Stalin needed enemies. He never wanted friends. Of course, FDR thought he could be friends with Uncle Joe after Hitler invaded, but Stalin considered him to be a useful idiot.

    Stalin had a special hatred for Poles, as Stalin was a Red Army officer in the Polish Bolshevik War of 1920-21 (and a lousy one at that).

November 9, 1989

Wednesday, November 9, AD 2011

Twenty-two years ago today my wife and I arrived home from buying software for our Commodore 64  (Yeah, it is that long ago.) and watched stunned after we turned on the tv as we saw East Germans dancing on top of the Berlin War, tearing into it with sledge hammers.   It is hard to convey to people who did not live through the Cold War how wonderful a sight this was.  Most people at the time thought the Cold War was a permanent state of things.  Not Ronald Wilson Reagan.  He knew that Communism would end up on the losing side of history and throughout his career strove to bring that day ever closer.  His becoming President so soon after John Paul II became Pope set the stage for the magnificent decade of the Eighties when Communism passed from being a deadly threat to the globe to a belief held only by a handful of benighted tyrannical regimes around the world, and crazed American professors.  In most of his movies, the good guys won in the end, and Reagan helped give us a very happy ending to a menace that started in 1917 and died in 1989.

Here is an interview Sam Donaldson did with Reagan immediately after the fall of the wall:

Continue reading...

7 Responses to November 9, 1989

  • This is of course the world-changing “9-11” in Europe.

    And, though Carter is hardly is hardly my far from my favorite president I’ve always thought he deserves some of the credit for the Wall’s demise. His “human rights” campaigns and the Helsinki accords forced the USSR to open up at least somewhat and that was enough to expose the cracks in the system.
    They humored Carter by allowing a “little” freedom here and there but discovered “a little” freedom doesn’t work, esp. when Reagan followed up with his arms build up.

  • The Soviets and the Warsaw Pact were doomed Thomas when they failed to crush Solidarity in Poland. A system built on little but force simply cannot long endure when its domestic adversaries no longer fear it. Solidarity, backed by the Pope and Reagan, demonstrated that the Soviets no longer had the will, or the stomach, to engage in the type of repression necessary to keep the Communist regimes in power.

  • Two cool things:
    I got to touch a chunk of the wall at the “Newseum” in DC, and my oldest daughter was born on the 20th anniversary of the fall of the wall.

  • “This is of course the world-changing 9-11 in Europe”

    Interesting that it is (because European usage is to put date first, then month), because 11-9-89 and 9-11-01 just about perfectly bookend the decade of the 90s, when some people were actually convinced that “the end of history” was at hand and America would reign forever as an unchallenged superpower.

    I do remember the fall of the Wall; it is probably the one historic event in my lifetime that really gives me hope that anything is possible and no evil is so entrenched that it cannot be conquered, or destroy itself from within.

  • Foxfier your daughter had an auspicious birthdate!

    Elaine, the hand of God places into each human soul a desire for freedom. Tyrannies can do their worst to suppress that desire, but what God places into us no mere human regime can ever triumph over forever.

    “The Spirit of the Lord GOD is upon me; because the LORD hath anointed me to preach good tidings unto the meek; he hath sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to them that are bound;”

  • My good friend’s son-in-law,Lance King was in Berlin when the wall came down. He has a piece of stone from the wall which has pride of place on his mantlepiece in his living room.
    Certainly a memorable time. Now there are different tyrannies that attempt to subjugate us.

  • Indeed Don. The bad news is that in every generation new tyrants arise. The good news is that there are plenty of us ready to fight them if necessary.

November 9, 1989

Tuesday, November 9, AD 2010

Twenty-one years ago today my wife and I arrived home from buying software for our Commodore 64  (Yeah, it is that long ago.) and watched stunned after we turned on the tv as we saw East Germans dancing on top of the Berlin War, tearing into it with sledge hammers.   It is hard to convey to people who did not live through the Cold War how wonderful a sight this was.  Most people at the time thought the Cold War was a permanent state of things.  Not Ronald Wilson Reagan.  He knew that Communism would end up on the losing side of history and throughout his career strove to bring that day ever closer.  His becoming President so soon after John Paul II became Pope set the stage for the magnificent decade of the Eighties when Communism passed from being a deadly threat to the globe to a belief held only by a handful of benighted tyrannical regimes around the world, and crazed American professors.  In most of his movies, the good guys won in the end, and Reagan helped give us a very happy ending to a menace that started in 1917 and died in 1989. 

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12 Responses to November 9, 1989

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  • My close friend’s son-in-law was in Berlin at the time on his OE, and he collected 2 small rocks from the wall, which he considers priceless souvenirs.

  • I have a piece also Don, and I agree that such bits of the wall are priceless reminders that tyranny can be defeated.

  • Small correction – the USSR fell on December 25, 1991, I believe.

  • A good point Mark, but I think 1989 was the decisive year for the ending of Communist regimes in Europe. 1789 ushered in the era of totalitarian regimes in Europe and 1989 ushered them out. God has an exquisite sense of humor.

  • My daughter will remember the date, and tell folks about it, because she was born on the 20th anniversary.

    Can’t ask for a better start!

  • Indeed Foxfier, and happy birthday to your daughter!

  • Ahhh I remember being in 6th grade and winning 1st place ribbons and a gold medal for all the physical fitness tests our school went through. I was the fastest girl runner in the whole school. But what I remembered the most, and cherished, was my physical fitness award signed by none other than the greatest president of my time, Ronald Reagan. It was great to be a kid back then. So many hopes and dreams. I’m sad to say my kids don’t have those same hopes and dreams of the America today. But , I do believe that the hope we all still have is eternal life after death. So know matter how bad it gets here in this life we always have the after life to look forward to and if that’s the only hope I can encourage my kids with then I’m one up! 🙂

  • Happy birthday to your daughter, Foxfier. My eight year old daughter was born on D-Day. I affectionately call her my D-Day girl and her birthdays serve as an opportunity to recall that great and horrible day. Last birthday when I asked “And what is D-Day again”, she replied in one of those questioning tones, “when we won the war.” I replied, “No no no. It was when the Allied Powers assaulted Fortress Europe at the rocky beaches of Normandy to begin the long drawn out process of wresting the continent free from the dark power of the National Socialism.” Oh what fun it was to say that!

  • “Mr Gorbachev, tear down this wall” is the perfect ante-upper to “Ich bin ein Berliner,” in my opinion.

  • “An OCED (Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development) study of 1985 carefully examined the performance of the advanced capitalist economies and concluded… [that] Sweden, with one of the most generous welfare states, outperformed Ronald Reagan’s America at a time when he was cutting programs… As the Wall Street Journal editor computed those Reagan percentages [of his public spending ratio], they were over 23 percent of the GNP and therefore higher than at the end of the Carter presidency, which Reagan himself had excoriated for its big spending… ” – Michael Harrington’s Socialism – Past & Future

The Banal Evils of the Police State

Tuesday, November 10, AD 2009

With the twentieth anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall, many who lived under the communist regime of East Germany have taken the opportunity to go to the state archives and view the files which the Stasi secret police kept on them. Stasi files were not kept only on spies and political dissenters, but on ordinary people whose “offenses” were almost shockingly mundane, and whose betrayers were often friends or family:

A West German pudding. That was all it took. Once the Stasi found out about it, a family breadwinner was fired from his army job and an East German household was plunged into destitution.

Even worse, the family later found out that they had been turned in by a close friend. “She was watering the plants and went through the cupboards to find a Dr. Oetker dessert,” Vera Iburg, who has worked with files kept by the East German secret police for the last 20 years, told SPIEGEL ONLINE, referring to the snoop. “What was she doing? She had no business there!”

It’s an interesting example of the corrupting power of temptation that the availability of the means to easily hurt those around you by reporting others to the police motivated many to inform merely for the satisfaction of it:

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7 Responses to The Banal Evils of the Police State

  • What is interesting to ponder is, how much of a “soft” police state will Americans tolerate? It’s not likely that America will have the likes of the Stasi any time soon, except in the minds of those who hyperventilate about socialism at the drop of a hat. But signs of a soft informant culture are already here. As an example, there was a PSA ad campaign running on the bus stops here in L.A. about water conservation. It featured “mug shots” of various ordinary people, with something accusatory above their faces, like “Driveway-watering Dan.” Apparently, no one thought this was the least bit disturbing. Maybe they should run something similar about people who eat trans fats.

    I don’t even want to think what will happen when gay marriage becomes the law of the land (and you know it will).

  • The structures of sin are the sins of individuals.

  • We already live in a police state. 40% of the population is on the take and will keep voting for ‘freebies’ from the largesse of the political class.

    Everyday we fall farther and farther into sin and will be willing to do anything to keep our material comforts. Sell our mothers or ‘gently let them go’ for the good of the country. Kill our sexual punishments, er, ah, babies, no, I meant fetus or is that zygot. Turn in our boss becuase he doesn’t pay enough or has some of those gold coins.

    I think there is a movie out that offers you millions of dollars at the push of a button and the button kills someone somewhere in the world. Sadly, I think there are many Americans that wouldn’t hesitate to push the button.

    The only thing that can check a police state is a moral and vigilant people who distrust their government.

  • I think the movie “The Lives of Others” which is about the East German police state, should be shown in high schools and colleges. But that would entail revealing how Communism degrades the human soul – and unfortunately, too many of the products of our schools of education still think Communism is a good idea that just needs to be executed properly.

    As an American of Eastern European descent I was estatic when the Wall came down. Now I fear the lands of my ancestors might once again be swallowed by the Russian bear.

  • Donna,

    You are assumign they won’t be swallowed by the American Eagle first. We are getting to the point where Russian Bears, American Eagles and Chinese Dragons are no different from each other. Ain’t globalism grand?

  • American Knight,

    I can certainly sympathize with feeling that the US government has become too big and too intrusive, but a police state it most certainly is not, and I’m not clear that anything is gained by exaggerating our problems out of proportion in that direction.

  • DC,

    Tha apparatus for a police state has already been put in place. Those Germans not hunted by the Gestapo may not have been bothered but they were still living in a police state.

    The greater concern is not so much the apparatus but the mentality of the people. Many so-called Americans have no problem of conscience turning on those who propose to cut the ‘freebies’.

    The current abortion issue re: the assault on health care is giving rise to anti-Catholic sentiment and there are many who want us silenced becuause we make them uncomfortable. It wouldn’t be the first time a nation that showed so much promise, had material prosperity, realtive peace suddenly takes a left turn and starts attacking Catholics. Perhaps this time it will be happier and nicer and maybe even more effective becuase Catholics will bend and blend and may not even know they are being persecuted.

    I am not trying to paint a gloomy picture and I am hopeful that we will defeat these measures and that seperated Christians will return to Rome through this; howerver, we cannot ignore the reality that the apparatus for a police state is in place and that a large minority of Americans will welcome it.

Res et Explicatio for AD 11-9-2009

Monday, November 9, AD 2009

Salvete TAC readers!

Here are today’s Top Picks in the world of Catholicism:

reagan pope john paul ii

1. Today is the twenty year anniversary of the fall of the Berlin WallPope John Paul II, Ronald Reagan, and Margaret Thatcher all played pivotal roles in bringing down Communism and discredited all socialistic and atheistic systems the world over.  Pope John Paul II played the most important role of the three, providing the moral backbone that is needed when confronting these manifestations of evil.

Newt Gingrich, Callista Gingrich, and Vince Haley wrote a timely article concerning this important anniversary titled The Victory of the Cross: How spiritual renewal helped bring down the Berlin Wall.  For this article click here.

2. Dave Hartline has already posted three articles here with us.  His latest is titled, Following the 2009 Election Results which Way is the Tide Turning toward Truth or Relativism?

For the article click here.

For all of Dave Hartline’s articles on The American Catholic click here.

3. Catholic Culture has changed their look again.  Unlike the last time I mentioned their new look, I have to say it is a major improvement.  It’s much easier to find Diogenes of Off the Record (under Commentary).  Blue has replaced what I think was the color pink as it’s primary color and the fonts are much stronger.

For the Catholic Culture link click here.

For Diogenes, which is under Commentary, click here.

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2 Responses to Res et Explicatio for AD 11-9-2009