Skip to content

7 Working Paper

Why Did Communism Collapse in 1989?

1991 Charles Maier


This paper is to serve as the introductory chapter of a book on the history of the upheaval in the former German Democratic Republic and of subsequent German unification. Hence its dual focus: both on the broader crisis of communism and the specific changes within East Gennany. Subsequent chapters in the forthcoming book will examine the limits and crisis of consensus in the DDR; the nature of the popular uprisings in autumn 1989; the ideologies of the "New Forum": and similar movements on behalf of "civil society" in East Europe; the formation of political parties in the DDR, and the elections of March, October, and December 1990; and the economic problems arising out of reunification; finally, the process of assimilating or liquidating the cultural institutions of the DDR.