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How the Wall Really Fell
Calling for democratic reforms, some of the one million demonstrators in East Berlin on November 4, 1989, hold a sign reading "Who lies once cannot be trusted" at the Palace of the Republic. The building housing the Communist Parliament is decorated with the national emblem, the hammer and pair of compasses. (AP)

Calling for democratic reforms, some of the one million demonstrators in East Berlin on November 4, 1989, hold a sign reading "Who lies once cannot be trusted" at the Palace of the Republic. The building housing the Communist Parliament is decorated with the national emblem, the hammer and pair of compasses. (AP)

Twenty years ago this fall there was an earthquake brewing in Eastern Europe.

On November 9, 1989, the almost unthinkable happened. The Berlin Wall came down. The front line of the Soviet empire fell. It was astounding.

Americans have come to think it fell because Ronald Reagan said, “Tear down this wall!” My guest today gives Reagan his due, but says that is a simplification tied directly to a myth that drove the Iraq War. The facts of 1989, he says, are far richer.

This hour, On Point: The real story of the fall of the Berlin Wall.

You can join the conversation. Tell us what you think — here on this page, on Twitter, and on Facebook.

Guest:

Joining us from New York City is Michael Meyer. He was Newsweek bureau chief for Germany, Central Europe, and the Balkans from 1988 to 1992. His new book is “The Year that Changed the World: The Untold Story Behind the Fall of the Berlin Wall.” He is now director of communications and chief speechwriter for Secretary General of the United Nations Ban Ki-Moon.

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