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Friday, November 5, 1999 Published at 13:08 GMT


Programme times



Ten years ago communism suddenly collapsed in Eastern Europe. But was it really a triumph of people's power? Historian Misha Glenny talks with decision makers on both sides of the barricades and to ordinary people caught up in revolution to tell the extraordinary story of the liberation of Eastern Europe.

Hear the programme on Radio 4 at the times listed below or select a link below to listen on demand.


The cracks appear (1979-1985)
30 September: 2000 BST 1900 GMT

Ten million Poles join the independent trade union Solidarity and secret meetings in Bonn between Hungarian communists and the West German Chancellor.


Round the table (1985 - 1989)
7 October: 2000 BST 1900 GMT

The communist authorities in Poland and Hungary are forced into dialogue with the opposition. Mikhail Gorbachev arrives in the Kremlin.


Breaking the Bloc (Summer 1989)
14 October: 2000 BST 1900 GMT

Solidarity wins the elections in Poland. IIn Hungary 100,000 go to the streets to take part in the reburial of Imre Nagy, leader of the 1956 uprising and thousands of Germans begin to leave East Germany through Hungary and Prague.


The Wall falls (Autumn 1989)
21 October: 2000 BST 1900 GMT

Gorbachev visits Berlin for the 40th anniversary of the GDR, encouraging change. There are demonstrations in Berlin and Leipzig and the government begins to lose control. A slip of the tongue leads to the opening of the Wall.


A Velvet con? (November 1989)
28 October: 2000 BST 1900 GMT

Heavily controlled and oppressed Czechoslovakia finally erupts on 17 November. Students, intellectuals and workers take to the streets. By the end of December writer and former dissident Vaclav Havel is president.


Blood on the barricades (December 1989)
4 November: 2000 GMT

The overthrow of Romanian dictator Nicolae Ceausescu was the last revolution of 1989 - and the bloodiest. The tyrant fled and was shot, but were the brave citizens on the barricades duped by a sinister Communist cabal who used them as a smokescreen to cling to power?


The programme will be re-broadcast on the World Service beginning Sunday 14 November.




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