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November 9, 2009
Which leader contributed most to the fall of the Berlin Wall?

A section of the wall that still stands. Photo: Flickr user roozbeh11

Today is the 20th anniversary of the Berlin Wall’s demise, and world leaders and dignitaries are in Berlin to celebrate the occasion.

For three decades, the wall represented Cold War divisions between east and west.

Who do you think was most responsible for the fall of the wall: Gorbachev, Reagan, Walesa or someone else?

Tell us what you think in the comments section below. Please remember to be respectful and on-point in your comments. Malicious or offensive comments will be deleted and repeat offenders will be banned.

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It was the WORKERS who refused to put any effort or quality into work in which they had no stake. A phenomenon which will manifest HERE soon.


Mostly it was the behind the curtain fight for freedom, personified by Walesa who was supported by the Polish John Paul II, and the free world words and actions of Reagan and Thatcher. The weak Gorbachev no more ended the Cold War than Hitler ended WWII. Who believes that his intent was to take down the wall and end the Soviet Union? Nonsense! By not ordering “Shoot!” he saved himself from a war crimes court. His so-called “reforms” were attempts to save the communist system that he led and had always been a part of. Gorbachev did not tear down the wall. The wall fell on HIM!


What brought the wall down was the people of Germany. Case closed.


When J.F.K. Said He Was A Doughnut!, Raygun Gave Us The AIDS Pandemic, Lied About Iran/Contra, Disgraced Himself In Beirut, Gave Us Two Recessions, Tripled The Debt! Inspired Deficit Spending, Supplied Saddam With Chemical Weapons, Funded Osama bin Laden! The Man Who Actually Defeated The Soviet Union, Rayguns Waged The Dog In Grenada! I Think Raygun Caused This Recession!


Ronaldus Magnus brought down the evil formerly know as the USSR as he did the wall… called them like he saw them, evil…


Reagan, of course! Speaking truth to power. “Tear down this wall” was both a challange of strength and of political viability. In essence, Reagan was saying in front of the entire world, ‘if Communism is such a great political system, take down the wall and let the people choose for themselves.’ Reagan’s deployment of missles in western Europe and the notion of ‘Star Wars’ were brilliant moves, further weakening the Soviet Union to try to keep up militarily, bleeding their already anemic, command economy. Gorbachev was along for the ride, Reagan’s leadership and policies put the Soviets on this course which led to their demise. Any political system that only works if you have to pen the citizens in with a wall, will ALWAYS fail.


All of the leaders named were significant, but none played as socially determinative a role as the churches organized in their nation-wide Kirchenbund (Church Federation),led By the Berlin Bishop Albrecht Schoenherr, the leadership of the Kirchenbund’s OKR Christa Lewek in the Churches Human Rights Program for the Helsinki Final Act, and finally the nightly protest marches between the two main churches in the center of Leipzig shortly before the Berlin event, when the GDR army refused to obey its communist government’s order to use force to stop the marches, which had become so large as to be seen as politically dangerous. Kurt Mazur, then the conductor of the Gewandhaus Orchestra and later condurctor of the New York Philharmonic, also played an influential role in calling for non-violence and no use of military force. Leipzig citizens call this “die wende” (the turnning) when the government realized they had lost control of even their own military. This is the determinative reason why no military force was used against the citizens of Berlin when they forced the opening of the wall some days later. All of this was the result of the Kirchenbund’s organizing over several years the “Friedensdekaden” (10 days for peace), which developed into year long programs calling for nuclear disarmament, human rights, ecological activism, etc.


obviously, it was Gorbachov.
All the other figures the right likes to cite represent ideological fairy tales, supermen who magically brought down a wall and an Empire— but to rational observers the facts show that the Berlin Wall and the Soviet Union itself were clearly, on the contrary, dismantled from within.

By the way I marched through the Brandenburg Gate on the glorious day of opening. But your story did not do justice to the realities on the ground, in Germany & the rest of the so-called East.


Caspar Weinberger Took Runny Rayguns & “poppy” bush To The Woodshed Over Beirut!,. Now Tell Me That Coward Grade “B” Actor Scared Gorbachov!,. Star Wars Still Is Impossible.


On Feb. 21, 1972 Nixon Talked With Mao!!!!, Mao Told Nixon THEN That The Soviet Union Was Finished. Carter Knew That!!,. Rayguns Was Just Following Orders!,. Who Doesn’t Know That Star Wars Was Impossible!,. What Was Rayguns Doing In Iran In 1975?


Gorbachev and Reagan certainly were key players, but the person most responsible was John Paul II. For several decades preceding the collapse, he had prepared the intellectuals and the workers for their respective parts in this drama. He galvanized the people, he provided means of grass-roots communication to spread resistance, he displayed great personal courage. His own life experiences with naziism and communism forged him into a powerful and unique symbol of the determination of all people to oppose oppression.


Ronald Reagan. Without Reagan speaking truth to evil, it never would have happened.


I agree with Heinz Voss _ ordinary people are the ones who got this all going. I was there in 1989. During the summer I was in Vienna and saw Eastern people coming out of Hungary. Most shopped for Western products and then returned, some stayed in the West. That winter I spent in Berlin and was at Checkpoint Charlie the night the wall opened. The was a throng of people on the Western side, we couldn’t see the Eastern side. But then the gates opened and the first East german citizens came through, throwing their passports into the crowd. Later, in the center of town, everybidy greeted the Eastern people by pounding on the roofs and hoods of their Trabis. People flocked to the bright lights of the TV crews. One reporter asked a pedestrian who he thinks made all this possible. A mass transit bus was driving down Ku’damm and the interviewee pointed to the advertisement on the side of the bus – a vodka by the name of Gorbatschev (coincidental but poignant).
So yeah, it’s the people first who got the wall to fall, incl. the border guards who let people through. Some politicians were in line with the “Zeitgeist”, but I haven’t met anybody in Berlin then or now who gives Reagan and his politics any credit for it.


Ronald W. Reagan


Great Show. I agree with Heinz Voss’s statement on the spirit of the German people. During the height of the Cuban missile a reported stuck a microphone in front of President Kennedy’s face and asked: Mr. President who will win the cold war? His respond: We will, Human Nature is the same on both side. How prescience was his response! The Berlin War, the U.S.S.R, the evolution of Capitalism in Asia, especially China, the root of change is Human Nature.


NONE of the politicians had anything to do with the Fall of the Wall. Politicians did what they do best, posturing. It was the Spirit of the German People (and particularly those who lived in former East Germany), that dictated the events associated with the fall of the Wall (and Kommunism). If anything, politicians aligned themselves with the Determination of the East German People. And one more thing: Had Margaret Thatcher had her way, there still would be 2 Germany’s. What’s up with that?


Pope John Paul II. Solidarity was the spark that led to the ultimate collapse of the iron curtain. According to Zygmunt Preztakiewicw, who headed Solidarity’s office in America in August
1981 before martial law in Poland was declared,in an interview with me (published in the Catholic Worker, Dec. 1981) Pope John Paul II was intellectiually and spiritually key to the formation of Solidarity and its passive resistance and prepared the ground on his first visit to Poland after his election. Once solidarity won in October 1989 the spirit moved in the Iron Curtain countries. For sure Gorbachev deserves credit too for not using military power. It is remarkable, extraordinary, that the Cold War ended without bloodshed and war.


The Cold WAR and Gorbachev. The USSR was over $122Billion in debt to support their part of the cold war and they went bankrupt.


Mr. Gorbachev


I say the citizens of both East and West Germany were influential in the fall of the wall.


The people made the change happen, no one leader , no western proaganda but the foot soldeirs. The leaders had no choice but to accept the will of the people, it was a sad day though because the people did not fully understand the brutal and harsh realities of capitalism as a large number of them soon discorvered and now regret.They never knew extreme poverty, unemployment, and legally dishonest cut throat dealings


Charlie Wilson & Osama bin Laden Were Brothers! “poppy’ Bush Made An Enemy Of A Raygun Ally When He Put Boots On Saudi Soil!


I agree with only one off handed comment above. It was most due to Charlie Wilson or the CIA. I hate the results which are a worse situation in Afghanistan and really sick sort of capitalism in Russia.


I am an East German and was during the events in East Germany. I also grew up in this country in communism and after 1961 when the wall was built. I think it started all in Poland, Ronald Reagan played his cards and made pressure. But without Michael Gorbatschow I would not live in America!! He was the man!!
East German politicians were hardliners but without Gorbatschow the wall would still be in Berlin.




It had to be Gorbachev, Without Glasnost it could have never happened. The others in this play had bit parts.


Without a doubt, it was a tripartite effort of three of the greatest people of the 20th Century: Pope John Paul II, Ronald Reagan and Margaret Thatcher. All the others were reactors to the events those three people put in progress.


Osama bin Laden & Charlie Wilson!, Lech Walesa & Gorbachov, But Runny Raygun Knew He Had A Deal In His Back Pocket!, He Knew He Was Facing Disgrace At Home And Needed Another Photo Opp! Runny “The Coward of Beirut” Was A Pitiful Actor!,.


Gorbachrev decided to allow the East Germans, To choose their own Future. The Pope & Reagan Got people thinking about life Without the Wall. Gorbachev could have stoped them from destroying the Wall anytime.Nothing Changes Unless those in Power allow things to Change.Are you listening President Obama, and members of congress?


The Honorable Ronald Reagan, of course…Miss Thatcher as well and Mr Gorbachev…


that was a beautiful story


Pope John Paul II infused hope and removed fear from the hearts and minds of the people of Poland.The Pope encouraged people to believe in their dream for freedom.Lech Walensa and the Solidarity movement spread that message to the rest of communist oppressed Europe and to Berlin.


John Paul II. There is not doubt that John Paull II was the inspiring spark and the ever present inspiration which guided both the leaders of the communist states to recognize the inalinable dignity of the human person, the right to freedom and to self governing. Together with him, also we need to recognize million of people who never gave up their dream of freedom. Any serious historian and scholar will recognize that John Paul II gave the impulse to the Polish people first and to everyone else to keep on fighting – with no violence – for their own rights.


While lech Walesa nd other brave souls did their part, none of this would have been possible if Mr. vGorbachev had not cried “uncle” to the strategic build-up of the US in Europe and the architect of that build up was Ronald Reagan whose strategy was”We win, they lose” You did not mention his speech in which he said Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall”
Otherwise, the piece was excellent.


It would be ridiculous to credit Reagan. Gorbachev was – and still remains – an intelligent and practical man. His “peristroika” is a model for change, something that even our own President Obama could learn from.


I had been praying for several years that GOD would “crumble the Soviet Union” from within, without a war. I kept praying this prayer most every day. Then, when I saw the wall comming down in Berlin, I knew that Communism was crumbling , and that our mighty GOD was at work. MY prayers are always thru Mary and JESUS. Now I am praying that the evil regimes of Iran, China, and No. Korea will crumble from within , and also that Alkaida, the Taliban and Hammas will crumble from within. Praise GOD.


It was Gorbachev of course, and also the untold thousands who struggled for human rights. It’s rather silly, in my opinion, to credit Reagan.


If not for Reagan, it would have never happened.


Reagan nor Gorbachev had much to to with the fall of the wall. It was the people forced to live behind it in all those countries that did all the work to overthrow their corupt governments. The rot inside the Soviet Union brought it on along with visits by the Pope. The politicians just stood on the sidelines and took all the credit and made speeches as they saw what was happening behind the wall and knew they could fool the the press and all their readers. I have seen footage of the brave citizens that stood up to the weak and decaying governments. Their protests and marches made all the difference. But then so many believe otherwise and that is a slap in the face to those that died and fought for their own freedom! Reqagan and Gorbachev were the worse taking their credit.


President Reagan was the man of the hour who was inspired to act by the Polish struggle for freedom. With his focus and finesse, President Reagan allowed his enemies the freedom to play an equal role in the tranformation of the region. Mr. Gorbechev was a true visionary who cared more about his country than about his own political future, and found a true friend in President Reagan. Thank godness that he and Mr. Walesa were there today to be cheered on by the crowd. I just hope that President Reagan was able to hear us cheering for him too. God bless Germany today.


There was a combination of factors: Reagan’s out spending the Russians in the arms race; the imposed servitude and maltreatment of the millions in the Baltic and Eastern European satellite countries – they could only take so much, the leadership and inspiration of Pope John Paul II (read Bernstein’ book) giving the Poles the will to cast off the oppressive yoke and a pragmatic and visionary Soviet leader. The immediate cause was the strike at Poland’s Gdansk shipyards led by Lech Walesa and the restraint of the armed forces that were poised to attack ala Checkoslovakia. When it was shown that the Poles had had enough and stood up to the Russians the other countries followed suit. From that point it was just a matter of time before the perverted and sadistic system set in place by Stalin collapsed.


Thirdly – Gorbachev did well to realize it was inevitable and consequently allowed it to happen. Secondly – Reagan was a great leader in having the courage to stand up to communist Soviet Union, but most of all, it was the desire and the struggle of all who cried out for freedom all those years.

And rock and roll music.


Gorbachev unquestionably merits the original and dominant credit for the demise of East Germany and the destruction of the wall–as well as the beginning of orderly change in the Soviet Union, which was turned into chaos by Yeltzen. It was Gorbachev who had the vision of human rights, civil rights and economic opportunity for all Russians as had never before in history been a serious possibility.


The hand of God via Reagan. The Christian country, with Christian values, recognized as inalienable rights given to all people by God and effected by a President of destiny…Reagan


Ronald Regan.

Regan’s no nonsense policy toward the Soviets and his support for a strong U.S. defense system had a major and undeniable role in the collapse of, not only the Berlin Wall, but of the ‘Evil Empire’ itself. His policies terrified the communists. He spoke their own tough language and they understood. His talks with Gorbachev were significant in the process and made clear the reality of the situation.

President Regan’s speech was a sincere desire, backed by real power, to promote democracy. Regan was an accomplished politician and he was motivated by his sincere passion for freedom and democracy. He spoke from his heart and he spoke the truth. It was felt around the world as was Kennedy’s speech in the 60’s.

There is no way Gorbachev or any other communist was responsible for the fall of the Wall. Communism itself imploded. Gorbachev was like a kid with his finger in the dike who had the decency to acknowledge the truth and the inevitable. He had the intelligence to implement a policy of “Openess”, a relative term given the conditions under communism. And yet, what choice or alternative did he have given the circumstances.

Truly speaking, given deplorable economic conditions, (due in part to the aggression in Afghanistan), this fear-mongering regime or ‘Evil Empire’ was responsible for its own collapse.

The Poles led the way to this monumental change encouraged by Pope John Paul II. Without the backing of the United States with its strong defense program championed by Regan as well as the spirits of free and oppressed people around the world, it’s likely to have taken a different course. It certainly would have taken longer.

Ultimately, however, the communist system self-destructed and was responsible for its own demise.


Reagan! I agree with…
stephen Says:
Ronald Reagan was first among equals east & west to advance the Soviet demise, to say otherwise is to ignore history


President Reagan by pushing Gorbachev and by building our military force to the mightiest in the world. The Soviet Union could not financially match our buildup.


The unrelenting pressure on the Soviet empire caused by the different rates of change between free innovation and government controlled innovation, in all fields, caused the disintegration of the empire. Ronald Reagan, the great communicator, supplied the heat of truth to Gorbachev who became the catalyst for change. Gorbachev looked away and let it happen. The Germans tore the wall down.


The Beatles changed the ‘Mindset’ of the people and hence in time, the government! PBS Channel 13 just aired the documentary tonight! And, Pope John Paul the II.


Lech Walesa!!!


Jesus Christ.


only 5people are responsible for fall of berlin wall GORBACHEV 2 GORBACHEV 3 GORBACHEV 4 GORBACHEV 5 GORBACHEV . NOTHING ELSE WOR NO ONE IS RESPOSIBLE FALL OF BERLIN WALL. IF HE WAS NOT THE KREmlin leader none of the other leaders mentioned would have even the slimmest chance. His glasnot or whatever hecalled was mainly responsible. he fully deseved the noble peace prize(i think he got it, imay be wrong)


While all four of the most commonly mentioned in this discussion — John Paul II, Walesa, Reagan and Gorbachev — played necessary, though insufficient, roles, it must be noted that only the first three actually wanted the end of communist tyranny. Gorbachev did not want it; he merely recognized that, largely because of the other three, it was inevitable. He was wise enough, and perhaps decent enough, to try to guide that collapse in the least calamitous way.


Pope John Paul II and the natural desire to be a free person was most responsible.


The POLES led by Lech Walesa…who clearly has stated that the spiritual and political basis for their courage was Pope John Paul II! How could this half-hour spiel exclude even a mention! Terrible reporting. Wonder what the bias was with our ex-Ambassador to Poland, who seemed assiduously to ignore the Pontiff’s role but blithely states “the Polish people.” Secularism rules your airwaves too, I guess. RE Gorbachev, he merely initiated a desperate effort to secure a less imperialistic Soviet Union in the face of economic collapse by unburdening itself of support to satellite states and the cost of its global expansionism and an out-of-control military. One should give Maggie and Ronnie credit for steadfastness in the face of constant global criticism of them as war-mongers by the appeasers of the West and the Third World “caucus” at the UN. N.B. How quickly we forget that the recent virulent anti-Bush opposition was as deeply matched by anti-Reagan condemnation. Near-universal anti-Americanism is a fact of life, Obama apologies not withstanding. Has one noted that the Great Gorbie is now blaming post-Soviet Union Russia’s problems on the USA!!! Despite the billions that the US poured into the FSU, he is claiming that we “abandoned” Russia and wallowed in their distress.


The question is “which Leader…” Of those listed, the answer would have to be “all of the above.” Add to that, the Media. Without press coverage of the events that led up to the event, it wouldn’t have happened.


Gorby and other Central Europeans! Reagan was only watching from the sidelines. The Pope had no tanks. And God struck out all those years.


My life was drastically and bittrely altered by the Cold War–I was born in Cuba in ’63. I am not an expert on the Soviet Union, but I do have a degree in Russian Studies from UCLA.
Yuri Andropov was once head of KGB. While in the throes of death, he made the deal with the old- guard Politburo members to bring in Gorby AFTER Chernyenko. The KGB had access to unadulterated data that exposed the Soviet system as a failure. Vladimir Putin is ex-KGB. Medyedev is his man, and Putin will probably be back.
The right, and some liberals as well, in this country continue to idiotically delude themselves with thinking that ultra-conservative, belligerent foreign policy doctrines and Reagan’s cowboy image–an invention of MCA– brought down the Berlin Wall and ended the Cold War, seem to forget these inconvenient facts. Yuri Andropov was no fool. He knew who Gorby was and what his intentions were. Gorby and Andropov were well aware that change has traditionally come to this part of the world with a great deal of blood and suffering. They were sitting on an arsenal that could incinerate the planet several times over. They knew they had to be very careful as to how they would reform and/or bring about change. They were not perfect and they were certainly not saints, but they pulled it off with very little blood and violence. That is something historians will marvel about for centuries to come.
The movement for reform was internally driven. American foreign policy and military might forcing reform on the Soviets is a chimera. The sooner our leaders abandon such rubbish, the better we will be able to deal with the Russians and the legacy of the Soviet Union.


Reagan, Walesa and Pope John Paul II all contributed to the liberation of Poland and then Gorbachev came to power in the USSR. No one person was ‘most responsible’ for the fall of the wall as each of these leaders played a decisive roll in effecting the economic, social and political conditions that existed in 1989 leading to November 9th and the fall of the wall followed by the breakup of the USSR and freedom for Eastern Europe countries.


Overwhelmingly the comments chose Gorbachev. Right on and he signalled the GDR years before, that they could no longer count on a hard line. In 1984 the GDR government banned the little magazine “Sputnick”which carried Gorbachev’s speech on glasnost. At 40th celebration of the GDR in October 89, G. warned Honecker that history passes those by who do not change and on that fateful November day, the order to the Russian troops was “stay in your barracks”.
Yes, Reagan’s armament push helped to exhaust the Soviet resources but demise had already set-in in the Soviet Union before that. It was an implosion not a victory of capitalism. It was the happy constellation of a man like Gorbachev, the elan of the Solidarity movement in Poland, the assist in Hungary of taking down their barbed wire which started the flight of German visitors from Hungary to Austria, the help of the Czech authorities to give asylum to fleeing Germans and the safe passage for trains, locked and filled with East Germans, to travel to West Germany.It took much, topped by the desire of people to live in freedom, that made for a happy outcome.


Maharishi Mahesh Yogi is the person most responsible for the fall of the Berlin Wall.

This choice is the only one that can answer the questions:

1) Why did it happen at all contrary to general expectations and the predictions of all of the experts?
2) Why was it so spontaneous?
3) Why did it go so smoothly, effortlessly, without blood shed and in a joyous environment from all sides.
4) Why did the communist officials act so out of character?
5) Why was the order to shoot never given?

Something profound and fundamental must be causing such dramatic changes without effort.

Maharishi predated the fall of Communism in this quite, spontaneous and harmonious manor based upon rising collective conscious. War, crime, and conflict arise from stress and disorderly thinking. War starts in the mind of men and must end in the mind of men. With rising coherence or orderliness, people start to act in the best interest of all.

At the time the wall fell, Maharishi had organized a coherence-creating group large enough to produce this effect. Scientists have published over 50 replications of the Maharishi effect, as it is know in the scientific literature, in scientific peer reviewed scientific journals.

Individuals practicing the Transcendental Meditation program including Yogic Flying produce coherent brain functioning. Maharishi predicted that groups of individuals practicing together in groups strengthens the coherence and spills over into the environment.

Thomas Hall






The crucial events that led to the fall of the Communism, were the Solidarity Movement in Poland and election of Karol Wojtyla for the new Pope John Paul II.


Mr Gorbachev of course, with foresight & most patiently. Man of the century!


Gorbachev was very slow and subtle—and effective.


No one person deserves credit for the fall of the Berlin wall, certainly not Reagan or Gorbachev. It was the triumph of the common man. All those who stood their ground at the Gdansk shipyard, those who marched at Dresden and Leipzig, and so many more brought down the wall.


I think Reagan was most responsible for the destruction of the Berlin Wall. His constant opposition to communism, his acceptance of the need to “confront” communism, and his clear and powerful ability to put the revulsion most people felt toward communism, were what caused so many to correctly see through the communist propaganda. Even powerful leaders in the USSR and East Germany, while hoping communism would survive to continue to give them personally a good life, knew in their heart-of-hearts that communism was treating the common man in a horrible way. This is what drove Gorbachev to try to ease the worst aspects of communism, and what ultimately caused the wall and communism to fail.


November 9, 2009
Definitely Gorbachev. Gorbachev’s glasnost and other reforms were the beginning of the Soviet Union’s end. And though his policy changes did not directly lead to the fall of the Berlin Wall, it gave, in effect, momentrum to the nationalist movements in Poland, the Baltic countries, the Caucasus–and the fall of the Berlin Wall: the beginning of the end of the Communist East German regime.


Gorbi, Gorbi, Gorbi!!!
Actually, I believe it was George Washington, and I’m serious about that. Without him, there would be no reason to pull down any political wall…


Pope John Paul II was monumentally influential in that he started, encouraged, guarded and supported the determination in the people of the east to peacefully, yet determinedly, accept no less than justice for themselves and their children.

Presidents Reagan and Gorbachev were also essential to apply the necessary pressure and to accomplish the political changes within Russia that were needed to blunt the fear of freedom.


For sure, it has to be Gorbachev! A leader looking beyond his borders for the good of all the people.


I could have dreamed this, but didn’t I read in the Herald Tribune (circa 1988) that Gorbie ordered Chancellor Hoenecker not to shoot Wall- crossers?

I sure remember making a bet with my German girlfriend that the Wall would be coming down within a year – she (and her friend) accepted, both agreeing “not in our lifetimes.”

Does any one else recollect this news story?


Reagan and Gorbachev, for different reasons but in the end it worked out ok. Considering that the French vacillated and the British opposed it.


Gorbachev was certainly a key factor. Lech “showed” what was possible. I have
no doubt the cast of players is huge that contributed, but the human desire for freedom drove the train!


Mikhail Gorbachev was the person most responsible for bringing down the wall in that he allowed it.


Ronald Reagan was first among equals east & west to advance the Soviet
demise, to say otherwise is to ignore history


1) Gorby. But Gorby was being pushed very hard by 2) Reagan.
3) Walesa. What courage! His insistence began perestroika etc.
4) Wojtyla. Strong consistent leadership.


I believe it’s equally shared by both Reagan and Gorbachev. Without Reagan’s building up of U.S. military and the space-based Strategic Defense Initiative, which the Soviets could not keep up with financially, his calling to Gorbachev to “tear down this wall” and without Gorbachev’s policy of glasnost, it would not have happened.


Gorbachev was the the most responsible leader for bringing down the wall, Without his policy of glasnost and his agreement, the East Germans would have never agreed to the opening. It is true that Reagan spent the Russians under the table, but without Gorbachev the situation in Russia could have gone a very different way. If there is one hero in this, its him, and the Germans know that, just listen to the cheers he got today in Berlin.


i remember very well what the world was like before reagan and thatcher and gorby came onto the world stage…the west and east were locked tightly in a cold war…and during the 70’s the soviet union and it’s minions were united and on the march from southeast asia to central america to central africa. from ’76 to ’80 the soviet union had toppled and taken control of no less than a dozen countries around the globe, and showed absolutely no sign of going away. then reagan came onto the scene in the u.s, thatcher in the u.k, mulroney in canada, as well as other leaders who held stedfast and called out publicly, for the first time, what the soviet union really was; an evil empire. they forced gorby into taking positions he would normally have not taken. then to have the first non italian pope in over 4 centuries..and a native pole at that come onto the world stage was just the catylyst to make the soviet union start to unravel. all of these leaders played their role…all of them were necessary and all of them were absolutely essential…any one who says otherwise is a political hack with an agenda and a fool.


I would say Reagan and Gorbachev was the main two.


People have prayed for years for millions who are not free to live their own lives. I pray for those in China, Cuba, North Korea, Burma, Sudan, Iran, etc. I believe the prayers of millions brought the wall down. God still reigns. Read the Bible to see and understand the future. I took my daughter to Berlin in 2001. We thought Berlin was a very exciting city. I counted 29 construction cranes working. We stayed in East Berlin. We visited Checkpoint Charlie Museum finding it very moving. Phyllis in Oregon, USA


Gorbachev…without the Soviets consent the wall would have been not taken down when it did.


Cumulative; Reagan,Gorby,Polish Solidarity, Growing sense of shame, Growing longing for FREEDOM….all reached a critical point & VOILA!–


The wall falling was the symbolic beginning of the fall of the Soviet Empire. Totalitarianism cannot survive openness. If any one person was the catalyst, it was Gorbachev. Reagan was, if anything, the cheerleader, that’s all. His policies would have bolstered the continuation of the Cold War if it were not that it was too late.


The Iron Curtain came down for obvious reasons: Economics-pure and simple.Ex-President Ronald Reagan did absolutely nothing.If anything Gorbachov was more directly responsible with perestroika.


Ronald Reagan was a US Republican & Margaret Thatche was a UK Conservative….The BBC cannot stomach this and refuse to give them any credit


Ronald Reagan & Margaret Thatcher forced the Soviet Union to fall by making the arms race way to expensive for he Soviets and bankrupting their economy.Gorbachov took the only rout left to him.


i am from Thale/Harz Germany and was at the end of WW2 in the east Part of Germany under Soviets control for about 1 year.
I definitely think, that with the German people it was Gorbachov that freed the whole East!!!!
I now live in USA.


Gorbachev. We already knew at the time that he was making a historic difference with Perestroika and Glasnost. Changes were already happening — Reagan standing up and demanding that he “tear down that wall” was just grandstanding.


Samantha Smith. The whole chain of events started before Gorbachev, with her letter to Andropov.


I never had any doubt that Gorbachov was by far the most responsible for what happened. His Glassnost relaxation started s a stream of events. Est Germany, before November had allowed East Germans to take their Trabants to Tchecoslovakia where a friendly administration allowed them to go on to Hungary where they were allowed to continue to Austria and out of the comminuist world. It’s not just that Gorbachov allowed this to happen; he still had the power to stop it and decided to let freedom flourish.


Ronald Reagan was responsibile for the Iron Curtain coing down, and anyone who think the Russians would have done this had Reagan not made his speach are fooling themselves.


How could you run a whole program on the fall of Communism and the Soviet Union and fail to cite one of the persons most responsible, Pope John Paul II.


The Beatles, and LSD… “All you need is Love”


I think Gorbachev was the most responsible. He saw it as a burden on the former Soviet Union – and I think he felt the end would not justify the means to hold on to it. Yes, you can give some credit to Reagan – but Russia held the key to it actually happening. The polish political activist was instrumental in letting the world know particularly the Russians that the Eastern Block nations were fed up with Russian occupation and I think that Russian also knew that in a WWlll scenario that those nations would have turned on them and it would have been devastating for the Russians. JIM @ USA


Günter Schabowski of course.

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