Like other area specialists, I was astonished when, in the spring of 1989, the Hungarians took down the barbed wire separating them from Austria and the Poles elected the first non-communist prime minister, without arousing repercussions from the Soviet Union. I followed with amazement the news of what was happening in East Germany in late summer and fall—the hoards of people camping out in embassies, the ever-larger demonstrations in Leipzig.

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