Remembering the Collapse of Communism
By Bryan Caplan
The collapse of Communism in Eastern Europe is – and will probably remain – the most glorious political event of my life. I’m a little embarrassed to admit that I missed the 20th anniversaries of the end of Communist rule in Poland (August 24) and the opening of the Hungarian border (September 11). Here‘s a list of all the other 20th anniversaries not to forget this year. Highlights:
- Nov. 9 – Berlin Wall and East German borders open.
- Nov. 10 – Bulgaria’s long-time communist dictator, Todor Zhivkov, removed by Politburo colleagues.
- Dec. 25 – Ceausescus executed by firing squad.
- Dec. 29 – Communist rule ends in Czechoslovakia after 41 years, with election of dissident playwright Vaclav Havel as president.
When I think about how quickly the world came to take these changes for granted – changes that liberated hundreds of millions and could easily have prevented World War III – it makes me sad. But that’s nothing compared to how happy I get when I remember how much we have to be grateful for. Terrorism, global warming, whatever – it’s all small potatoes compared to the totalitarian threat that crumbled before our eyes two decades ago.