Post-1989 Germany an Unexpected Success

Successes in Europe would boggle a 1989 mind: Applebaum
By Harry Kimball,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 9, 2009 12:42 PM CST
The illuminated Brandenburg Gate is seen in Berlin, Germany, today during the commemorations of the 20th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall on Nov. 9, 1989.   (AP Photo)
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(Newser) – As “the exhaustive and perfectly blameless celebrations” of the 20th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall unfold, Anne Applebaum has a bone to pick. The festivities are “focusing on what didn’t happen rather than what did,” she writes, treating “the past two decades as a foregone conclusion.” But those 20 years have been perhaps the “best in Central Europe for 300 years,” and no one thought that would happen.

In 1989, “no one had the slightest idea” of what was to come, Applebaum writes for Slate. “Angela Merkel has said that she thought it was ridiculous even to speculate on the possibility of a united Germany,” and “those who did make predictions saw a dark future” of hypernationalism, rabid anti-Communism, even a “Fourth Reich.” There have been problems, of course—but the takeaway is "what an extraordinary, almost unbelievable, success it has all been."