A chronology of the events in the collapse of communism in Europe

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Timeline of events leading to communism’s collapse

Key dates in the collapse of communism across Eastern Europe in 1989:

— June 4: Poland holds first partially free elections in four decades; Solidarity-led opposition wins all but one freely contested seat in parliament.

— August: Tens of thousands of East Germans swamp West German diplomatic missions in East Berlin, Czechoslovakia and Hungary seeking asylum.

— Aug. 24: In Poland, longtime Solidarity adviser Tadeusz Mazowiecki becomes Soviet bloc’s first non-communist prime minister.

— Sept. 11: Hungary opens its border with the West to East German refugees.

— Oct. 7: During visit to East Berlin, Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev indirectly urges reform; thousands demonstrate against East German regime in first of series of protests that grow to rally of 1 million people Nov. 4.

— Nov. 7-8: East Germany’s ruling Politburo resigns.

— Nov. 9: Berlin Wall falls: Border between East and West Germany opens.

— Nov. 17: Students clash with police, starting Czechoslovakia’s “Velvet Revolution.”

— Dec. 17: Romanian police fire at protesters; dictator Nicolae Ceausescu and wife try to flee uprising five days later and are executed Christmas Day.

— Dec. 29: Communist rule ends in Czechoslovakia; dissident Vaclav Havel elected president.


— Oct. 3: Germany is reunited.

— Dec. 9: Lech Walesa wins Poland’s first popular presidential election.

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