Revolutions of 1989

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Revolutions of 1989
Jan 15-21 "Palach Week" a series of anticommunist demonstrations in Prague

Jan 18 Polish United Workers' Party votes to legalize Solidarity.

Jan 20 George H. W. Bush succeeds Ronald Reagan as the 41st President of the United States of America.
Feb 5 Border Guards shoot and kill a person seeking to flee to West Germany

Feb 6 Government of Poland holds formal talks with representatives of Solidarity movement for the first time since 1981.

Feb 14 Last Soviet troops leave Afghanistan.

Feb 21 Prague: Vaclav Havel sentenced to nine months in prison

March 16 Soviet Union approves agricultural reforms allowing farmers the right to lease state-owned farms for life.

March 23–28 Kosovo: 6 days of rioting by the Albanian majority, during which at least 29 people are killed.

March 27 The first contested elections for the Soviet parliament result in losses for the Communist Party.
April 5 Agreement signed restoring Solidarity to legal status, and agreeing to hold democratic elections on June 1.

April 7 Soviet submarine K-278 Komsomolets sinks in the Barents Sea, killing 41.

April 9 Georgian demonstrators are killed by Red Army soldiers in Tbilisi's central square; 20 citizens are killed

April 15 The death of Hu Yaobang sparks the beginning of the Tiananmen Square protests

April 17 Poland, Solidarity is again legalized and allowed to participate in semi-free elections on June 4.

April 21 Students from Beijing, Shanghai, Xi'an, and Nanjing begin protesting in Tiananmen Square.

April 27 A major demonstration occurs in Beijing, as part of the Tiananmen Square protests.
May 2 The first crack in the Iron Curtain: Hungary dismantles barbed wire fencing along the border with Austria.

May 11 Gorbachev visits China

May 17 More than 1 million Chinese protestors march through Beijing demanding greater democracy.

  • Havel released from prison

May 19 Zhao Ziyang meets the demonstrators in Tiananmen Square.

May 20 Chinese government declares martial law in Beijing.

May 29 Yeltsin gains a seat on the Supreme Soviet of the Soviet Union.

  • Goddess of Democracy statue is unveiled in Tiananmen Square by student demonstrators.

June 4 Tiananmen Square crackdown takes place in Beijing

June 5 An unknown Chinese protestor, "Tank Man", stands in front of a column of military tanks

June 16 A crowd of 250,000 gathers at Heroes Square in Budapest for the historic reburial of Imre Nagy.

July 9 –July 12 President Bush travels to Poland and Hungary.

July 10 Approximately 300,000 Siberian coal miners go on strike,

July 17 Poland and the Vatican re-establish diplomatic relations after approximately 50 years.

July 19 Poland elects Wojciech Jaruzelski to the new and powerful post of President of Poland.

Aug 21 Demonstration on the 21st anniversary of 1968 Soviet invasion of Czechoslovakia.

Aug 23Hungary removes border restrictions with Austria.

Aug 24 Tadeusz Mazowiecki of Solidarity becomes Soviet bloc’s first non-Communist prime minister.
Sep 11 Hungary opens border with the West. The exodus of East German refugees begins.

Sep 12 Polish Parliament ends 45 years of Communist rule

Sep 18 Large weekly pro-democracy rallies begin in Leipzig

Sep 30 Nearly 7,000 East Germans who had come to Prague on special refugee trains are allowed to leave for the West.

Oct 3 East Germany closes the country's border with Czechoslovakia to prevent further emigration to the West.

Oct 7 Gorbachev visits East Berlin. The first demonstrations against the East German regime take place.

Oct 18 East Germany, Erich Honecker, is forced to step down as leader of the country and is succeeded by Egon Krenz.

  • National Assembly of Hungary votes to restore multiparty democracy.

Oct 23 Hungarian Republic is officially declared by president Mátyás Szűrös

Oct 25 Soviets renounce Brezhnev Doctrine of military intervention

Oct 26 Pro-decocracy demonstration in Dresden, 100,000 people

Oct 31 Half a million people demonstrate in the East German city of Leipzig.

Nov 1 The border between East Germany and Czechoslovakia is reopened.

Nov 3 East German refugees arrive at the West German town of Hof after being allowed through Czechoslovakia.

Nov 4 One million East Germans protest for democracy in East Berlin’s main square.

Nov 7 Communist government of East Germany resigns.

Nov 9 Fall of the Berlin Wall

Nov 10 Bulgaria: Todor Zhivkov is replaced by Foreign Minister Petar Mladenov

Nov 15 Lech Wałęsa, leader of Poland's Solidarity movement, addresses a Joint session of Congress.

Nov 17 Czechoslovakian student protest leads to clashes with police, beginning the country’s “Velvet Revolution”.

Nov 20 Prague: protesters swells from 200,000 the day before to an estimated half-million

Nov 24 Prague: Miloš Jakeš and other leaders of the Communist Party resign. Jakeš is replaced by Karel Urbánek.

  • Alexander Dubcek addresses a rally of 250,000 people

Nov 26 Bulgarian secret police is dissolved.

Nov 27 A two-hour general strike takes place in Czechoslovakia.

Nov 28 Communist Party of Czechoslovakia announces they will give up their monopoly on political power.
Dec 1 In a meeting with Pope John Paul II, Gorbachev pledges greater religious freedom for citizens of the Soviet Union.

  • East Germany's parliament abolishes the constitutional provision granting the Communist monopoly on power.

Dec 3 The entire leadership of the ruling Socialist Unity Party in East Germany, including Egon Krenz, resigns.

  • Malta Summit –Bush and Gorbachev release statements indicating that Cold War may be coming to an end.

Dec 6 Egon Krenz resigns and is replaced by Manfred Gerlach, the first non-Communist to hold that post.

Dec 7 Lithuania becomes first of the republics of the Soviet Union to abolish Communist Party's monopoly on power.

Dec 9 Socialist Unity Party of Germany elects the reformist Gregor Gysi as party leader.

Dec 10 President of Czechoslovakia Gustáv Husák swears in a new cabinet and then immediately resigns as president.

Dec 11 In Leipzig 200,000 protesters urge German re-unification

Dec 13 The first of 580 East German Watchtowers dismanteled in Stapelburg

Dec 16 In Romania Timișoara: Anti-Communist riot suppressed by security forces and troops, a hundred people killed

Dec 19 Workers in Romanian cities go on strike in protest against the communist regime.

  • All East-West Berlin travel restrictions to end

Dec 20 United States invasion of Panama ("Operation Just Cause")

Dec 21 Nicolae Ceaușescu addresses 110,000 people in Bucharest. The crowd begin to protest and 30 killed

Dec 22 After a week of bloody demonstrations, Ion Iliescu takes over as president of Romania

Dec 23 Nicolae and Elena Ceauşescu are captured in Târgoviște.

Dec 25 Ceaușescu and his wife Elena are executed

Dec 29 Václav Havel is elected president of Czechoslovakia.

Dec 31 Poland's president signs Balcerowicz Plan, ending socialist system and Polish involvement in the Warsaw Pact.
East European Figures in 1989

East Germany

Erich Honecker – Head of State of East Germany

Egon Krenz – Second to Honecker, General secretary of Communit Party of East Germany

Erich Mielke – Stasi Chief

Heinz Kessler – Defense Minister

Gunter Schabowski – East Berlin Party chief who made announcement that led to fall of wall


General Wojciech Jaruzelski – Polish head of state

Czeslaw Kiszczak – Head of Polish secret police and minister of interior during the martial law years

Lech Walesa - Solidarity leader, became President of Poland

Tadeusz Mazowiecki - one of the leaders of the Solidarity movement

Bronislaw Geremek - played a crucial role during the debates between Solidarity and the authorities

Alfred Miodowicz, chief of the official trade union organization who debated Walesa


Imre Nagy – Hungarian head of state during the anti-Soviet revolution in 1956. Tried and executed by Soviets

Miklos Nemeth – Prime Minister of Hungary

Ferenc Karpati – Defense Minister

Gyula Horn – Forign Minister

Kalman Kulcsar – Justice Minister of Hungary

Karoly Grosz - General Secretary of the Hungarian Socialist Workers' Party

Vaclav Havel - a Czech writer, philosopher,dissident, and statesman, became president of Czechoslovakia

Miloš Jakeš – Head of State, First Secretary of the Communist Party of Czechoslovakia

Gustáv Husák – President of Czechoslovakia

Alexander Dubček – Head of State during Prague Spring of 68’ and part of Velvet revolution

Ladislav Adamec - a Czechoslovak communist politician.


Nicolae Ceasescu – Dictator of Romania

Elena Cesescu – his wife

Constantin Dăscălescu - Prime Minister

Emil Bobu - Secretary to the Central Committee

László Tőkés - Hungarian Reformed church pastor

Vasile Milea - Ceaușescu's minister of defense

Victor Stănculescu – replaced Milea as minister of defense

Army General Victor Atanasie Stanculescu and Virgil Măgureanu - members of the Military Tribunal

Todor Zhivkov – Communist leader for 35 years

Petar Mladenov – Foreign Minister who replaced Zhivkov
"1989." Wikipedia. Wikimedia Foundation, n.d. Web. 02 Apr. 2015.
Gilbert, Martin. Atlas of Russian History. New York: Oxford UP, 1993. Print.
Meyer, Michael. The Year That Changed the World: The Untold Story behind the Fall of the Berlin Wall. New York: Scribner, 2009. Print.

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