Sunday 3 May 2009

The turning point of 1989

Just been reading an excellent article in today's Sunday Times by Brian Moynahan which looks back on the momentous year of 1989. he makes a point about how used we'd all become to the Cold War in the West:

"In Britain, it was alarming in rare moments of crisis, but most often it was a sort of permanent background hum: woolly caps with CND badges, spy novels by Len Deighton, V-bombers at the Farnborough airshow, and lots of initials: ICBM, BAOR, MIRV, MiG, SS-20. The vast range of Soviet rocketry aimed at us was out of sight, of course, and our squaddies were in their bases in West Germany. The protests were inward: Ban the Bomb meant ban our bomb."

It is incredible now to think back on this year which totally altered the geo-political structure of Europe, in much the same way as the 1848 revolutions gave a warning to the ancien regimes of Europe. They fell sixty years later; the communist regimes in Europe fell, one by one, over the space of a few months. Of course, this also meant a seismic shift for thriller writers like Deighton, Le Carre and others, who found one of their principle dramatic constructs - the divide Europe - disappear almost overnight.

Well worth a read.

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