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About a unique political event

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At times one is led to believe that history loves to celebrate itself, so many “historical” events it produces in the precise rhythm of the centuries. Exactly two hundred years after the event that marked Europe like no other before it, the changes brought about by the French revolution were echoed by the fall of the Berlin Wall and the reorganization of the European and global order that it precipitated.

In many respects, both of these events can be qualified as European: by taking place in the middle of the continent, they put an end to the established order and inaugurated an entirely new configuration for the coexistence of European nations. Some believe, however, that in contrast to the French revolution, which despite of its “universal” vocation was in some ways only the beginning of the repartition of the world between the European states (see EUROSTUDIA. Transatlantic Journal for European Studies, vol. 3, no. 2: Europe – Africa: Crossed Perspectives on a “Spiritually Undefendable Europe”), 1989 could coincide with the decline of European power and the end of its domination of the planet.

The present issue of EUROSTUDIA is dedicated to a reflection on this type of question in the light of the evolution of the last two decades. This issue thus reunites four contributions by three historians (Reiner Marcowitz, Stephan Martens and Olivier Wieviorka) and that of a witness and protagonist of the political and social movements that led to the fall of the German Democratic Republic (Jens Reich). The aim of their contributions is not only that of remembering the events of twenty years ago, but also to analyse the changes that they triggered and to reflect on their future consequences.

Special thanks go to Izabela Potapowicz for her manifold support in providing this issue.

Dietmar Köveker