There are unique periods in history when a single year witnesses the total transformation of international relations. The year 1989 was one such crucial watershed. This book uses previously unavailable sources to explore the momentous events following the fall of the Berlin Wall twenty years ago and the effects they have had on our world ever since. Based on documents, interviews, and television broadcasts from many different locations, including Moscow, Berlin, Bonn, Paris, London, and Washington, "1989" describes how Germany unified, NATO expansion began, and Russia got left on the periphery of the new Europe. Mary Sarotte explains that while it was clear past a certain point that the Soviet Bloc would crumble, there was nothing inevitable about what would follow. A wide array of political players - from leaders like Mikhail Gorbachev, Helmut Kohl, George H. W. Bush, and James Baker, to organizations like NATO and the European Community, to courageous individual dissidents - all proposed courses of action and models for the future.
In front of global television cameras, a competition ensued, ultimately won by those who wanted to ensure that the 'new' order looked very much like the old. Sarotte explores how the aftermath of this fateful victory, and Russian resentment of it, continue to shape world politics today. Presenting diverse perspectives from the political elite as well as ordinary citizens, 1989 is compelling reading for anyone who cares about international relations past, present, or future.
Mary Elise Sarotte is professor of history and of international relations at the University of Southern California. She is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations and the author of "Dealing with the Devil" and "German Military Reform and European Security". She has served as a White House Fellow and is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations.
List of Illustrations ix Preface: A Brief Note on Scholarship and Sources xi Abbreviations xvi Introduction: Creating Post-Cold War Europe: 1989 and the Architecture of Order 1 Chapter 1: What Changes in Summer and Autumn 1989? 11 Tiananmen Fails to Transfer 16 The Americans Step Back 22 The Status Quo Ceases to Convince 25 East German Self-Confidence Rises 28 Television Transforms Reality 38 Chapter 2: Restoring Four-Power Rights, Reviving a Confederation in 1989 48 On the Night of November 9 50 What Next? 62 The Four (Occupying?) Powers 65 Candy, Fruit, and Sex 68 The Portugalov Push 70 Specters Revive 76 The Restoration and Revival Models Fall Apart 81 Chapter 3: Heroic Aspirations in 1990 88 The Round Table 92 Counterrevolution? 95 The Consequences of the Brush with a Stage of Terror 99 Emerging Controversy over Reparations and NATO 103 "NATO's Jurisdiction Would Not Shift One Inch Eastward" 107 Property Pluralism 115 Chapter 4: Prefab Prevails 119 The Security Solution: Two lus Four Equals NATO 120 The Political Solution: Article 23 129 The Economic Solution: Monetary Union 132 The Election Campaign and the Ways of the Ward Heeler 135 The Results of March 18 142 Reassuring European Neighbors 145 Chapter 5: Securing Building Permits 150 The First Carrot: Money 152 The Washington Summit 160 The Second Carrot: NATO Reform 169 Breakthrough in Russia 177 Pay Any Price 186 Conclusion: The Legacy of 1989 and 1990 195 Counterfactuals 196 Consequences 201 Acknowledgments 215 Notes 219 Bibliography 287 Index 309
Sarotte's focus is on Germany... [She] describes a host of competing conceptions of post-cold-war Europe that flourished, mutated and perished in the maelstrom of events that led up to German unity... Two decades later ... [t]here are still nuclear missiles aimed across the continent. It's hard to imagine that it could have been otherwise--but, Sarotte shows us, it could have been. -- Paul Hockenos, New York Times Book Review A great virtue of Mary Elise Sarotte's 1989 is that she makes the problem of hindsight bias explicit, and systematically explores the roads not taken. -- Timothy Garton Ash, New York Review of Books Much the most exciting of these books is Mary Elise Sarotte's 1989. In contrast to the other authors, Sarotte treats the uprisings and collapses of that year as a prelude to the biggest change of all: 'the struggle to create post-Cold War Europe', as her subtitle puts it... Sarottte [is] a lucid and compelling writer. -- Neal Ascherson, London Review of Books The author embeds her interpretation in a sharp-eyed, fluent narrative of 1989-1990 that sees the realpolitik behind the stirring upheavals... [S]he offers a smart and canny analysis of the birth of our not-so-new world order. -- Publishers Weekly Mary Elise Sarotte's 1989 ... shows why this post-Cold War world, and not a different one, came out of the dramatic events of 1989, and why the result was bound to pit the U.S. against Russia again in the twenty-first century. -- George Packer, NewYorker.com A hugely impressive study that looks beyond 1989 to the many-faceted battle to shape the new Europe. -- Gerard DeGroot, Washington Post Sarotte's book is compact and highly interpretive. Yet Sarotte has thoroughly mastered the original source material in all the key countries. She distills it with great skill, constantly enlivening her account with a sensibility for what these changes meant in life and culture. Hers is now the best one-volume work on Germany's unification available. It contains the clearest understanding to date of the extraordinary juggling performance of Kohl. -- Philip D. Zelikow, Foreign Affairs [A] scrupulous account of the high politics and diplomacy of 1989. With remarkable diligence, [Sarotte] has interviewed almost all the surviving participants, and quarried government archives and other libraries for documents that illustrate the decision-making (and lack of it) that year. The result is a tale of hypocrisy and indecision in high places. -- Economist The tragic hero of 1989, for Sarotte, is Gorbachev. He was, and is still seen by many Russians as a King Lear figure: a man prepared to give away what he should have retained to a west bent on extracting as much as possible from the Soviet collapse--under the cover of honeyed words and rhetoric of a new age. -- John Lloyd, Financial Times  is a work of coruscating intelligence and inspired scholarship that brims with provocative conclusions, well-argued and documented. It will appeal to casual readers and scholars alike who want to revisit how history turned on its hinges 20 years ago. -- Mike Leary, Philadelphia Inquirer Sarotte's readable and reliable diplomatic history will no doubt take its place as the classic overview of this period. It is sensible, balanced, and well documented, drawing on what is now an extensive international body of primary and secondary sources. -- Andrew Moravcsik, Foreign Affairs Your humble blogger's all-time favorite historian, Mary Elise Sarotte, has just published her magnum opus, 1989, about the fall of the Berlin Wall and the year of diplomacy that led to a reunified Germany ensconced within NATO and the European Union. -- Dan Drezner, Foreign Policy blog Mary Sarotte's 1989, shows how the Wall's opening was not planned but was the immediate consequence of a bungled press conference by an East German official. -- Mitchell Cohen, Dissent [A] fresh analysis of the year's events and their after-effects. -- Megan O'Grady, Vogue.com [A] truly great book... [A] whodunit of world politics that uses sources from Germany, the USA, Russia and other countries to reveal both the details and the drama of the year of German unification in an unprecedented fashion. -- Stefan Kornelius, Sddeutsche Zeitung This is a cracker of a read, a fast-paced policy study of a year that transformed Europe and the world. Mary Elise Sarotte sets out how fairly standard politicians saw the chance to extend democracy and the market economy throughout the Soviet empire and took it...This is a book for everybody who understands that politics is the application of policy and, when done well, can transform the world for the better. -- Australian Sarotte has a good feel for the internal politics of all four external powers which, as a result of the 1945 settlement, had a continuing stake in Berlin and the broader issue of Germany's fate. But she is especially good on Germany. -- Archie Brown, History Today 'On November 9, 1989, the Berlin Wall opened and the world changed.' With this simple statement, Sarotte begins her timely, highly readable book in which she revisits the remarkable events in Europe between November 1989 and the end of 1990, with a focus on Germany... Stimulating reading for a general audience, students, and faculty/researchers. -- Choice Sarotte's outstanding book shows that Europe's prefab post-1989 order was a messy improvisation, but at no point during the collapse of communism did conditions favourable to the alternatives cohere. -- Richard Gowan, International Journal  is widely and deeply-researched, gracefully written, and admirably concise. I especially liked the author's ability to express the human dimensions of her story by combining an analysis of big issues and long range trends with carefully-chosen vignettes and contemporary quotations. The book is full of astute and totally convincing judgments. -- James Sheehan, H-Diplo Roundtable Reviews This book sets the record straight on several issues [and] popular misconceptions and exposes the truth behind the positions of the major players. It is a valuable book that helps understand the international political power play. -- Vaidehi Nathan, Organiser Sarotte's book ... conveys a much-needed appreciation that history, even at its hinges, is anything but simple. -- William W. Finan, Current History Mary Elise Sarotte has produced a first-rate scholarly book. It is thoroughly researched, well written, intelligent, and full of interesting vignettes that complement the larger story she tells. -- Michael Bernhard, American Historical Review Mary Elise Sarotte's ... lucid and thoughtful book ... very effectively combines a detailed historical narrative with a conceptual framework which clarifies the significance of what happened, and of what failed to happen. -- Roger Morgan, International Affairs The prose and style are lucid...  is valuable to students, academics and general readers alike in learning more about these epochal happenings... [T]his is an excellent work which is likely to become a key text for this period. -- Alex Spelling, Diplomacy and Statecraft [T]his book truly underscores the necessity of entering a post-triumphalist phase in writing the history of what came after the Wall came down. This book provides a wonderful example of how an enlightened diplomatic history can contribute to this endeavor. -- Andreas W. Daum, Central European History
Mary Sarotte's 1989 reinterprets, in a striking manner, the end of the Cold War in Europe. Based on extensive multiarchival research, it suggests a Bismarckian preeminence for West German chancellor Helmut Kohl in driving the course of events. All students of this subject will henceforth have to grapple with this provocatively persuasive argument. -- John Lewis Gaddis, Yale University, author of "The Cold War" Sarotte makes an essential contribution to the literature on the revolutions of 1989. Her focus is on Europe and Germany, East and West, in the context of the international system. The research is stunning, including new archival sources and revealing interviews with the historical figures involved. Her narrative is fast-paced--like the events themselves--and highly readable. Scholars, students, and the informed public at large will enjoy and learn a lot from this impressive book. -- Norman M. Naimark, Stanford University, author of "Fires of Hatred" The first international history of the diplomacy that produced the miracle of German reunification, this will be the starting point for all research on the international history of reunification from now on. -- O. A. Westad, London School of Economics and Political Science, author of "The Global Cold War" Challenging conventional wisdom, Mary Sarotte questions why the West opted to extend existing Euro-Atlantic structures east in the wake of German unification, instead of creating a new system that would have included Moscow. Based on new archival material and extensive interviews with participants in these events, she argues convincingly that the United States and its partners missed a one-time opportunity to devise a post-Cold War architecture that would have made Europe more secure. -- Angela Stent, Georgetown University, author of "Russia and Germany Reborn" Sarotte has written a major book about one of the most important events at the end of the Cold War--the international negotiations which culminated in the unification of Germany. Notably, she has managed to get access to primary sources that would be the dream of any historian. She vividly describes the efforts of powerful individuals to create order out of fast-moving and chaotic circumstances. This is a terrific book. -- A. James McAdams, University of Notre Dame, author of "Germany Divided"
Winner of Marshall Shulman Book Prize 2010.
Runner-up for Choice Magazine Outstanding Reference/Academic Book Award 2010.
Princeton University Press
Mary Elise Sarotte
Princeton Studies in International History and Politics
Princeton University Press
The Struggle to Create Post-Cold War Europe
Place of Publication
Country of Publication
20 halftones. 4 maps.