The fall of the GDR
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20th Anniversary of the fall of the GDR
The Fall of the GDR: After several visits in the late 1970s and early 1980s David concluded that, the East German state, the DDR, was not sustainable. He made such a prediction at a conference at Dundee University in 1981. As Professor Marianne Howarth later found in the East German archives, a secret report on this was duly sent back to East Berlin.
The Stasi attempted to monitor his activities not only on visits to East
Germany but also in Britain. His appearance at a conference in Bradford
in 1983 was duly recorded in the Stasi archives. He was put on a Stasi
Fahndung [investigation] list and denounced in DDR publications as a
'British imperialist East researcher'.
David delivered the same 'Dundee' analysis at the German Historical Institute London, 24 November 1987, and elsewhere. When he spoke at the Pacific Workshop On German Affairs: The Two Germanies at Forty, - Long Beach California, in 1989, about the likely collapse of the DDR, he met with strong opposition. However, the organiser, Professor Christian Soe, invited him back, after German reunification, in 1991, writing, 'We are happy that David Childs, who in April of 1989 took a minority position in clearly diagnosing the moribund condition of the East German system, returns to give us a post mortem…' In an article written the day before the Wall was opened, and published in the Yorkshire Evening Post, 9 November 1989, David predicted full German reunification and welcomed it. The following day The Guardian wrote, 'It would mean that a dangerous situation in the heart of Europe has been liquidated…'
David's books on the subject are available by clicking here.
Below are two videos. The first, shows classic footage and commentary from David Childs - November 1989 . The second, shows photographs by Monire Childs from the exhibition, Berlin: The Wall Has Two Side December 1987.
Audio from News Hour (BBC World Service) 9/11/1989. Whilst the programme was on air, the news came through that travel restrictions had been lifted in the GDR and people could now obtain a “no questions asked” visa to travel freely. As Professor Childs said at the time, “this is a case of too little too late”.
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