1989: Key events in Europe's revolution

The fall of the Iron Curtain which lifted communist rule across a swathe of Europe was as swift as it was unexpected. Click on the links below to watch and read about the main events in a dramatic and tumultuous year.

6 February

Solidarity enters talks

Poland's government opens talks with banned trade union

Members of Solidarity at the start of talks with the Polish government


2 May

Hungary dismantles border

Tear in Iron Curtain as Hungary removes border fence

Hungarian border guards dismantle border fencing

4 June

Solidarity wins

Election success propels Solidarity into government

Solidarity supporters with Solidarity flag


23 August

Baltics link hands

Million-strong human chain links restive Baltic states

Women hold hands in the human chain linking Baltic states


10 September

East Germans go West

Hungary opens border for East Germans to leave

An East German holds up his new West German passport as he crosses border


2 October

Gorbachev in East Berlin

Soviet leader warns East not to delay reform

Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev greets East German leader Erich Honecker


28 October

Czech crackdown

Authorities battle students as Velvet Revolution unfolds

Czechoslovak police chase pro-democracy protesters


9 November

Berlin Wall falls

East Berliners flood through broken Wall

Crowds gather around hole in the Berlin Wall as East German guards look on


10 November

Bulgaria buckles

Longtime leader Todor Zhivkov resigns

Todor Zhivkov, Bulgaria's long serving Communist leader

24 November

Velvet Revolution

Czechoslovak dissidents force Politburo to resign

Czech dissident playwright Vaclav Havel and former Czechoslovak leader Alexander Dubcek


17 December

Romania erupts

Violence sweeps the country after bloody crackdown

Romania security forces in Timisoara during the crackdown


25 December

Ceausescu executed

Firing squad ends Romanian leader's hardline rule

Nicolae Ceausescu, Romania's executed Communist leader


Further in-depth analysis and maps showing the fall of Communism are available in the 1989 special report.

Has China's housing bubble burst?
How the world's oldest clove tree defied an empire
Why Royal Ballet principal Sergei Polunin quit


Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific