Today in American Heritage: 1989



1989: The Annus Mirabilis

Stalin: “How many divisions does the Pope have?”

Revolts in Eastern Europe

1953  East Germany                U.S. Ignored

1956  Hungary                        U.S. Ignored

1968  Czechoslovakia              U.S. Ignored

1979  Poland                          U.S. Ignored



Key events in the Collapse of Russian Communism   

1973-1975                     Western Publication of Solzhenitsyn’s Gulag

October 1978                Election of Karol Wojtyla as JPII

June 2, 1979                 JPII gives Homily in Warsaw: “Be Not Afraid”

Lech Walesa, the leader of Solidarity, said of JPII: “The pope started this chain of events that led to the end of communism,” Walesa said. “Before his pontificate, the world was divided into blocs. Nobody knew how to get rid of communism. “He simply said: Don’t be afraid, change the image of this land.”


Communist General Jaruzelski, leader of Poland, said, “That was the detonator.”

November 1980             Election of Ronald Reagan as 40th U.S. President

Spring 1981                           Assassination attempts on RR and JPII

May 17, 1981                RR Commencement address at the University of ND

June 7, 1982                 RR and JPII meet for the first time

Richard Allen, RR’s National Security Advisor: RR and JPII “agreed to undertake a clandestine campaign to hasten the dissolution of the communist empire.”

June 8, 1982                 RR Speech to British Parliament: “Ash Heap of History”

October 10, 1982          Canonization of Maximilian Kolbe

1983                             RR announces the Star Wars program

“Reagan’s SDI was a very successful blackmail,” Gennady Gerasimov, an official Soviet spokesman, remembered. “The Soviet economy couldn’t endure such competition.”

March 8, 1983              RR major address to the Nat. Assoc. of Evangelicals

June 12, 1987               RR at Berlin Wall: “Tear down this wall”




1989: An Annus Mirabilis in World History

Soviets had planned world-wide celebrations to commemorate the 200th anniversary of the French Revolution


April:                  Poland announced free elections

May 2:                Hungary opened its borders to West Germany and Austria

June:                   Hungarians reburied Imre Nagy and martyrs of the 1956 revolt

September 12:     Poland’s first non-communist party elected

October:              Hungarian Communist Party disbanded

October 16-20:    Hungarian government reformed as representative democracy

November 4:        Demonstrations began in East Germany

November 9:        After the protestors circled the extant medieval walls of Leipzig seven times, Hoenecker resigned and sought refuge with the Lutheran minister he had tortured

December 3:        President Bush and Premier Gorbachev declare Cold War over at Malta Conference

December:           Romanian leader Ceausescu arrested Lazlo Tokes, a prominent Calvinist minister

December 15:      Timisoara (Romania) massacre

December 22:      Baptist minister Peter Dugulescu led counter demonstration: “God exists!”

December 24:      Ceausescu arrested and executed

December 25:      Romania celebrated death of the “Anti-Christ”


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