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Chronicle 1989

"The Wall … will still be standing in fifty and even a hundred years' time": that's what Erich Honecker is still saying at the end of January 1989. And the GDR does seem stable to most people at the time, even though the dilapidated condition of industrial plants, the old parts of cities and the roads, as well as the air and water pollution, all herald the imminent economic disaster. more
  • January 
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  • May

     
    • 1 May

      1989

      "International Day of Struggle and Celebration for Workers": May Day demonstration in Görlitz (Photo: akg-images)
      Seven hundred thousand people take part in a four-and-a-half-hour-long march for peace and socialism in East Berlin on May 1. Large "May demonstrations" take place in all districts of the GDR.
    • 2 May

      1989

    • 6 May

      1989

      The number of people leaving the GDR for the West has reached record heights during the previous days: on May 4, 345 people arrived in the reception centre in Giessen and 250 on May 5. more
    • 7 May

      1989

    • 8 May

      1989

      The Central Committee of the Hungarian communists remove the former party leader János Kádár completely from political office.
    • 15 May

      1989

      Student demonstration for democracy and human rights in Tiananmen Square in Beijing, May 1989
      In Beijing, the first summit between Soviet and Chinese leaders in thirty years takes place. more
    • 16 May

      1989

      The head of planning, Gerhard Schürer, tells the inner circle of economics experts in the SED Politburo that the GDR’s debts to the West are now increasing at a rate of over 500 million marks per month. He warns that, if this development continues, the GDR could face insolvency by 1991.
    • 23 May

      1989

      The West German Federal Assembly elects Richard von Weizsäcker as president for a second term.
    • 24 May

      1989

      In Bonn, the 40th anniversary of the introduction of the constitution is celebrated at a state ceremony.
    • 25 May

      1989

      Mikhail Gorbachev, the General Secretary of the CPSU and Chairman of the Presidium of the Supreme Soviet, is elected as president by the newly created Congress of People’s Deputies, without any rival candidates.
    • 25/26 May

      1989

      At a consultation of the deputy finance ministers of the Comecon, the Soviet representative suggests – as recorded in a GDR transcript of this meeting – "changing over to methods of clearing that are based on the use of different currencies in the period 1991-1995. This particularly means clearing in convertible foreign currencies. more
    • 29 May

      1989

      A summit of the NATO heads of government in Brussels adopts a "Comprehensive Concept of Arms Control and Disarmament".
    • 30/31 May

      1989

      George Bush
      After the NATO summit, US President George Bush visits West Germany. In a speech in Mainz, Bush, as a friend and ally, offers the FRG a role as "partner in leadership".


      He demands that "Europe must become united and free" and calls for free elections and political pluralism in Eastern Europe. Referring to the removal of the barbed wire on the Hungarian-Austrian border, the US president calls out: "Let Berlin be next!" The Wall is a monument to the failure of communism, he says, and must come down. Speech by US President George Bush in Mainz, 31 May 1989 (in German)
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    • May 1989

      In May, 10,642 GDR citizens manage to flee to the West; 9115 are given permission to leave the GDR.
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