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tv   The Eighties  CNN  May 7, 2016 11:00pm-12:01am PDT

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the only morality they'll recognize is what will further their cause. they reserve under themselves the right to commit any crime, to lie, to cheat. >> the russians are gearing up for war. >> the senate approved $136.5 billion defense budget. >> the largest anti-nuclear protest in u.s. history. >> president reagan is more eager to meet with new leader of the soviet union. >> mr. gorbachev, tear down this wall. ♪
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♪ >> in afghanistan today, soviet troops are reported on the move in several areas, but it is also clear the russians are meeting
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resistance from muslim tribes men and members of the afghanistan army. >> they moved into afghanistan, it was nicaragua, it was in the caribbean. there was a feeling that the united states and i felt it, the united states could lose the cold war. >> there was a model of behavior during the cold war, and the way i often described it, it was the red side of the map and blue side of the map, separated by the iron curtain. the rest of the world we competed for. >> that fundamental clash between communism and capitalism, between dictatorship and freedom divided the world. but it is a revolution starting to stir. >> there has been an unexpected development abroad. polish workers in the baltic area are standing firm in their strike against the government. >> the demands of striking polish workers concluded free press, release of political prisoners and right to strike. they assumed the risk of striking illegally.
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>> along comes solidarity, but not a union run by communists, it is a union run by polish patriots, so it is a tremendous threat to the ussr because of possible contagion, it would wipe out communism if allowed to spread. >> in this season of discontent, spent part of the weekend reinforcing the link between the poland workers and the catholic church. >> it is important to understand solidarity without the impact of john paul ii. >> the soviets are nervous about john paul ii, he is anti-communist and beloved by the pols. they're pressuring the government how to keep control. >> the strike by polish ship yard workers is over. for the polish strikers, it was
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a day worthy of hyperbole, telling his followers we are co-masters of this land. >> they're showing that you could have an independent union in a communist country, and the question was how independent were they going to be allowed to be. >> how the u.s. deals with poland, with the eastern block and with russia, the early challenges for the foreign policy of the president elect ronald reagan. >> reagan spent much of his career blasting the soviet union, attacking any republican or democrat who said we can negotiate. he had been the leading opponent of detente, the policy of trying to ease relations with the soviets. what he disliked about detente, they were hitting the negotiating team as equals. reagan thought there are two super powers, but we have moral superiority because democracy is inherently good and sovietism is
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inherently bad. >> the only morality they recognize is what will further their cause, meaning they reserve under themselves the right to commit any crime, to lie, to cheat. i think when you do business with them, even at a detente, you keep that in mind. >> and everybody was like oh, this cowboy is shooting from the hip, actor, doesn't he understand that's not diplomatic. boy did he get the soviets' attention, but there was tush tushing about whether this was appropriate for the president to say. >> ronald reagan had a more radical view of american goals in the cold war than any president before him. as he put it, my policy toward the communists is simple. we win, they lose. it shocked people. >> it sounds as if, sir, you're saying that there isn't going to be any summit meeting with -- >> no, i don't know. but i do believe this, that it
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is rather foolish to have unilaterally disarmed by letting a margin of safety deteriorate, and then you sit with the fellow who's got all of the arms, what do you have to negotiate with? >> the senate today approved a record $136.5 billion defense budget for fiscal 1982. the vote wasas overwhelming. 92-1. >> reagan was trying to spend the ussr into oblivion. he said what we spend on our armed forces is a much smaller proportion of our economy than is the case with you. now see if you can compete. >> ronald reagan's clear anti-communism made many people worry that though he didn't want war, the effect of his thinking would come up with unwanted war. >> this decree is the induction of marshall law, beginning today. >> the leader of solidarity is said to be in a government guest
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house, not under arrest, but dozens of polish activists and dissidents were locked up along with former leaders of the communist government. >> there was concern the soviets were going to invade and that the pols in drive for self determination were going to go beyond whatever mental threshold the soviet leadership had. >> the pope expressed concern for the worsening situation in native poland. he told 200 polish pilgrims in the crowd that they and all fellow pols should pray for peace. >> the cold war became as cold as it had ever been before. it got so cold, it was capable of becoming hot. >> there had been rumors, today confirmation. deaths and injuries among enforcers and resisters to military rule imposed since sunday.
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tragic events in poland almost two years to the day after soviet afghanistan have been precipitated by secret pressure from the soviet union. the united states is taking action to suspend economic relationships with the polish government. >> the first crisis in poland
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provides a vehicle for reagan to begin to think maybe the communist system in eastern europe is not as stable as people imagine. >> this is the missile, a new version will be deployed in europe. this is the cruise missile to join nato's arsenal and point for the soviet union and communist block. >> reagan started to push for those missiles in europe, and we are going to ratchet up the cold war further. >> many demonstrations in the next two days are protesting deployment of the missiles. they fear in event of war, it makes europe a battlefield, and leave america unscathed. >> they are for the most part nonviolate, trapped by geography on the front line of the east, west struggle.
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>> the fears in the early 1980s, if things went wrong, they would go totally wrong, we might be at the cusp of total nuclear war. >> the largest anti-nuclear protest engulfed manhattan. >> up to 700,000, comparable to largest of the anti-vietnam rallies a decade ago. >> this is life, this isn't political. >> ronald reagan thought the freeze was ridiculous. the numbers were way too high, it would block in soviet superiority in numbers he wanted to eliminate. >> the nuclear freeze proposals, beware of declaring both sides equally at fault. to ignore the facts of history and the impulses of an evil empire, to call the arms race a misunderstanding and thereby remove yourself from the struggle of right and wrong, good and evil.
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>> he delegitimized the soviet union. trouble is you're both poised with weapons pointed at each other, mutually assured destruction. reagan said let's put a protective shield between us so i have some other option. that's the birth of the strategic defense initiative, sdi or unkindly called "star wars." >> what if free people could destroy ballistic missiles before they reached our soil or our allies? >> the united states is spending a billion dollars on laser technology, the buck rogers technology the president talked about. >> he didn't understand the technologies, he thought well, if we have a defensive system that stops their offensive miss independence, then their offensive missiles have no value. >> the soviets were nervous and afraid.
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there's a stasis at the top of the leadership, they were fearful the reagan administration would take advantage of their weakness. as a result, the soviets are very reactive. >> if you are watching this broadcast last night, you probably went to sleep with the same impression we did. there had been some kind of hassle between soviet fighter jets and korean airline 747, and we led you to believe the plane landed safely on soviet territory. sadly that was not true. >> at approximately 1600 hours, the aircraft strayed into soviet air space, the korean aircraft was recorded at 10,000 meters. at 1826 hours, the soviet pilot reported that he fired a missile and the target was destroyed. >> they went on a peaceful trip, they weren't any spies or anything like that. >> i think the russians are gearing up for war and doing everything that they can to prepare for it.
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>> it was not an intentional hostile act against korean airlines, it was a mistake of a system that was falling apart. >> this crime against humanity must never be forgotten here or throughout the world. it was an act of barberism, born of a society that wantonly disregards individual rights and value of human life, seeks constantly to expand and dominate other nations. >> the timing was particularly bad because the united states and soviets were not talking at all. two great powers are afraid of each other. and 007 happens at the climax of a period of fear. it makes 1983 one of the most dangerous years of the cold war. >> because of the suspicions about ronald reagan, the soviet intelligence agencies thought that under the cover of military exercise called able archer, a first nuclear strike on moscow
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could be launched. >> when reagan discovered that the soviets actually did think that the united states might launch a preemptive strike, it was kind of one of these moments. my gosh. look upon them in a different light. >> an estimated 100 million americans watched last night as some of the horror of a nuclear bomb attack on the united states was portrayed in a tv movie. >> reagan processed a lot of history through movies, and the fact that this fear of nuclear annihilation was very real, he started feeling that maybe he was put on earth here to avoid nuclear war. >> just suppose with me for a moment that they could be in a waiting room with jim and sally, there was no language barrier, would they then debate differences between their
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respective governments or would they find themselves comparing notes about their children, what each other did for a living. they would prove that people don't make wars. >> reagan comes to understand he's made a mistake by not trying to meet with the soviets, and his desire to do this gets stronger, after it becomes clear to him that there's such a level of misunderstanding between the two adversaries that an inadvertent war is possible. >> this is a cbs news special report. gorbachev takes control. >> when the death of konstantin chernenko was announced, the world waited to see who would get control of the kremlin. a short wait, four hours, 15 minutes. winning that power, 54-year-old mikhail gorbachev. the world is watching what the new leader will do. >> they reached for the youngest man among full members.
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at 54, gorbachev is the youngest to lead the soviet union since stalin. unlike his predecessors, he may
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feel less tied down by the burden of soviet history. >> he is a revolution in himself, talking about a new soviet union, allowing some freedom of speech, allowing a more open society. gorbachev had seen how the gap between how the soviet people lived and what the party said was growing wider and wider. but he is a child of the system. he did not want to destroy it. he had in his mind i have to save it. >> i want him to fight for peace and for better life. >> i think that he will be a good leader and i like him. >> the first couple of years of the reagan first term, reagan didn't meet any soviet leaders. when asked about it, reagan said they keep dying on me. that was true, but he wasn't
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making much of an effort, and there was a fear that if you don't reach out to the soviets, they're so afraid of us, they'll do something stupid. >> president reagan had a change of heart, he is much more eager to meet with the new leader of the soviet union, and he has sent michaela gorbachev a letter suggesting a summit. >> all previous sum its had a communique worked out ahead of time by the foreign ministries. here's what we say at the end, and some gaps to be filled in during the meetings. reagan said we are not doing any communiques. whatever comes from the summit is what we develop while there. >> after 70 minutes with advisers, mr. reagan invited gorbachev to stroll the garden to the pool house where they sat alone before a fire. mr. reagan talk without notes, not about arms control but about
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reducing the level of fear and misunderstanding between the two nations. >> the main thing is they met each other as human beings, reagan in particular concentrated his attention on gorbachev as a person. he spent more time studying gorbachev than he did the esoteric things having to do with arms control. >> it is understood the president tried to dispel his negative image of the u.s. gorbachev wouldn't budge but wasn't as combative as he was with other officials recently. >> is it a good sign? >> of course. >> i would think so. >> i was at lunch when ronald reagan came out of the first meeting with gorbachev and he said this is a new type of soviet leader. >> the president announced gorbachev will visit the u.s. next year and they agreed to accelerate arms talks. the soviet leader was more negative. >> the most important problem concerning the arms race and increasing hopes of peace, we
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didn't succeed in reaching at this meeting, so of course there are important disagreements on matters of principle that remain between us. >> the general feeling here is that president reagan deserves credit for starting a dialogue with soviet leader gorbachev, that in the nuclear age any lessening of tension must be applauded. but many pronounced the summit only a modest success because it failed to achieve significant progress on arms control. the first word that something was seriously wrong came from the power plant in eastern sweden where workers coming on the job registered abnormally high levels of radiation on their bodies. as tests were conducted, similar reports of high radiation came from scandinavia. still no accidents were reported. finally a surprise.
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radiation was coming from 750 miles away, at chernobyl, in the soviet union. a terse announcement picked up from radio moscow. >> they report an accident at the chernobyl nuclear power plant in the ukraine. >> the instinctive reaction of the soviet bureaucracy was to deny anything had really happened, as a result of which people died not only, not only soviets not getting the truth about chernobyl, the top leaders weren't getting the truth. gorbachev discovered he was also in the dark as the soviet leader. >> soviet news casters deliberately played down the incident, reporting it after the latest five-year plan and crop report. eight or nine minutes into the news, an announcer said only two people had been killed in the incident, contradicting one news report that casualties numbered in the thousands. >> chernobyl wasn't a flash in the pan. every few weeks there would be something like chernobyl because
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of structural defects of the soviet system. >> officials say because it took place at the newest reactor, it is another indication of inferiority of soviet technology and they say they brought on the accident not taking the same safety precautions taken in the united states. >> chernobyl reminded the soviets they couldn't play in the game of modern technology, they couldn't protect their own people and they couldn't hide it any more. >> gorbachev's biggest challenge was how to get the country moving again, and in order to do that, he needed to end the arms race, spend more money on improving living standards of ordinary people. for that he needed a relaxation of tension with the west. >> iceland? >> that's what i was here to tell you about. yeah. well, i am pleased to announce president gorbachev and i will meet in iceland.
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meeting proposed by general secretary gorbachev and i accepted. >> no agreements at the meeting next week? >> i don't know. all we've agreed upon is we're having a meeting. >> gorbachev needs a show of progress overseas to boost his stature in moscow. the irony will be that when reagan, leader of the free world, meets gorbachev, the autocrat, it will be gorbachev that most needs the publicity back at home. (vo) what's your dog food's first ingredient? corn? wheat? in purina one true instinct grain free, real chicken is always #1. no corn, wheat or soy. support your active dog's whole body health with purina one. ♪
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the feeling was we didn't have to prepare all that much. according to everything we knew, it would be howdy, hello, handshake. turned out to be anything but that. after the first morning when reagan and gorbachev met, we were called into the embassy which was right nearby. reagan says gorbachev really wants to reduce nuclear weapons, so he hands a piece of paper to no one in particular. all of us kind of grab it, looked it over, and it was a holy cow moment. this guy really wants to reduce nuclear weapons. here's a soviet leader not going by the script, here's a guy that wanted to do business.
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>> the first indication that some progress may have been made at today's talks came at a white house briefing a few minutes ago. there's no prediction yet on the outcome of the talks, but they give rise to some optimism. >> i was up there as the clock was ticking down. they had worked and worked and worked on an arms control agreement and at the last minute it fell apart. >> mr. president. >> do you have an agreement, mr. president? >> do we have an agreement, sir? >> will you meet again? >> when i saw reagan come out of the room with gorbachev, his face was a mask of rage. gorbachev was stiff, the guy beside me said i don't like the body language. >> president reagan, secretary gorbachev appear to have reached tentative agreement on much of a historic breakthrough arms reduction arrangement. but in the end, the soviets insist that president reagan must drop his "star wars" program to get the deal.
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president reagan wouldn't do that. >> the soviets feared that sdi was more real, that this could really protect the united states. it wasn't mutually assured destruction at that point, it was assured destruction of the soviet union but assured protection of the united states. so they went crazy. >> insisted until the end on retaining for the united states the right to test things relating to sdi. it would have taken a madman to accept that. >> inside the united states there is astonishment and beyond that fear of what reagan talked about doing, banning nuclear weapons. >> he moved to sign a deal with the soviets, was criticized by president nixon and kissinger.
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they said it would be a profound mistake to allow medium range missiles in europe. >> many conservatives thought reagan had been charmed by gorbachev, and reagan had more problem dealing with his hard right than he did the left. so reagan had to constantly let the right know i know what i'm doing. >> reagan was being accused already of getting soft on communism, but he hadn't forgotten the problems we have. europe was still divided, there was still a berlin wall. >> there's one sign the soviets can make that would be unmistakable, that would advance dramatically the cause of freedom and peace. mr. gorbachev, open this gate. mr. gorbachev, tear down this wall.
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>> it was perfect. it was beautiful. he had to insist on keeping it in the speech. and he did it. don't let anybody tell you it was a staffer or anybody else that did that. >> meanwhile, in the soviet union gorbachev decides to do something bold and he says let's separate sdi from reducing the nuclear stockpile. once he does this, it opens up the possibility for a third summit. >> this week's summit may prove especially important, even historic. for the first time since the onset of the nuclear age, the united states and soviet union will sign a treaty reducing the number of nuclear missiles. >> it involved elimination of an entire class of weapons, intermediate range ballistic missiles. it changes, it went from arms control to arms reduction. you're now getting rid of nuclear weapons. >> some say he is too anxious to
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ensure his place in history books as peace maker. >> well, i haven't changed from the time i made a speech about an evil empire, and i think i could sum up my own position with recitation of a very brief russian proverb. "doveryay, no proveryay." it means trust but verify. the importance of this treaty transcends numbers. we have listened to the wisdom in an old russian maxim. doveryay, no proveryay. trust but verify. >> you repeat that at every meeting.
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i like it. >> the improbability of either of them, reagan cold war hawk, gorbachev, the party guy, doing this is unheard of and they did it. >> reagan had been in a low in 1987 with iran contra, many americans didn't like him, trust him. negotiations the soviet union in many ways saved his presidency. >> mr. gorbachev may not have seen much of america, but he certainly made sure a lot of americans saw him. motorcades don't often turn heads in a city. when they stop on a dime, so does everyone else. >> i want to say hello to you. >> that was very special. he didn't have to do it. he did it. i am surprised and pleased. >> the guy is a pr genius. jumping out of the car like that. unbelievable. >> congressional leaders say they gave president reagan a round of applause on the morning
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after the summit meeting, but there was caution against euphoria. >> everybody applauded when the president came in. >> the president said gorbachev is a different leader, he no longer wants world domination. do you agree? >> it is one thing to sign the imf agreement, something else to follow through on other areas. i still don't trust him. at ally bank, no branches equals great rates. it's a fact. kind of like bill splitting equals nitpicking. but i only had a salad. it was a buffalo chicken salad. salad. they give awards for spelling but everyone knows cheese.s. cracker barrel has won awards for their delicious cheddar and they put that cheddar in a new macaroni & cheese.
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soviet leader mikhail gorbachev is saying the war in afghanistan is about to come to an end. >> today's announcement seems to be another indication of how anxious the soviets are to get out of afghanistan, out of a war they have not been able to win, out of a war that has proven too costly to continue. >> because of afghanistan, communism was no longer affordable. the idea of promoting your ideology around the world, defending its interests became too expensive. >> white house officials are thrilled at the idea that when the president arrives in moscow for a summit with gorbachev in late may, it appears the soviets will have begun their pullout from afghanistan. ♪ ♪
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>> ronald reagan built his career saying communism is evil, and the notion that five years after his evil empire speech, ronald reagan lands in moscow and is welcomed and greeted is mind blowing. >> just about like every other american tourist that comes to moscow, president reagan today toured red square, which is the historic center of the capital. he had the best possible tour guide, gorbachev. >> so friendly, president reagan threw his arm around gorbachev, at another point completely took back his evil empire pronouncement. >> you still think you're in an evil empire, mr. president? >> no. >> why not? >> i was talking about another time, another era.
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>> the war monger is saying the cold war looks like it is coming to an end. >> freedom is the recognition that no single person, no single authority or government has a monopoly on the truth. it is the right to put forth an idea, scoffed at by the experts, and watch it catch fire among the people. >> in gorbachev's soviet union, food has become even harder to get. once there was a selection, maybe two or three cheeses. now there's only one. there's a dangerous undertone to complaints. we ate better they say in the days of brezhnev. >> there was stress in the soviet system because they were trying to change it to a system that was unchangeable and unable to adapt to a modern world. gorbachev thought the united states is so far ahead of him, the soviet system is so far
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behind, we need to accelerate the reforms. >> today i can report to you that the soviet union has taken decision to reduce its armed forces. within the next two years their numerical strength will be reduced by 500,000 men. numbers of conventional armaments. >> they couldn't bail out the eastern european economists, what were they going to do? >> the impact in the united states is that finally the critics of reagan, this is in the final month of his presidency acknowledge that things are fundamentally changing. >> in china, the change in democracy was the issue. more than 100,000 defy the government, took to the streets
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demanding democratic reform. >> in beijing, demonstrations grow and grow and grow to the point they reach a couple of million people. in the middle of all of this, incomes mikhail gorbachev. >> as the sun rose, it was clear the chinese students' protest is gaining strength and urgency. students are dropping from exhaustion, some vowing to die if necessary. >> the chinese leadership didn't know what to do, but recognized they couldn't reform the way they were being pushed to reform. they couldn't allow this challenge to their authority. >> the soviet leader largely ducked questions on the chinese student issue. i cannot be the judge, he said. >> in china, the government declared marshall law in beijing, ominously journalists face restrictions that amount to a news blackout.
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>> there's chaos in tiananmen square. there's no way to ascertain how many have been killed or wounded. >> china is now restored into a deeply repressive leninist regime. it is a question, what will gorbachev's attitude be toward people that want to change the communist system? cy. the ram heavy duty is the most capable full-sized pickup on the road today. and, the ram 1500 is the most fuel-efficient, full-sized pickup. ever. so what does that mean? it means ram trucks give you the best of both worlds. so go big. and go far.
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while china's communist rulers were cracking down on democracy, the results of parliamentary elections and admitting that solidarity was a big winner. for supporters, the taste of victory is sweet. the numbers are overwhelming. the government conceded. >> stupendous first time it ever happened in eastern european communist history and this was contagious. >> one of our producers from primetime live went into east
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germany posing as a tourist. he found an incredible scene there. >> in east germany, you see a series of demonstrations for change and the question becomes, are these demonstrations going to be repressed and wiped out? what is gorbachev going to do? >> the east german leader at a military parade through the heart of east berlin preached reform and offered a gorbachev proverb. those being late, he said, will be punished by life itself. >> gorbachev felt he could put a happy face on socialism, that he could modify it. but he got the genie out of the bottle and couldn't get it back in. >> the time has run out for honecker.
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he resigned today. the official reason given was poor health. >> the people have their government on the run. today, in the bid to convince people that he's serious about reform, the east german leader, who has had the job for less than a month, managed to convince all of the members of the government he inherited they should resign. the question is this, what next? >> the pressure on the east german government was getting enormous. and as part of the kind of package to present themselves as human, there had been a resolution passed which is going to introduce new rules about immigration. he went to this press conference, he hadn't been at the meeting so didn't know what was in it. he said, here's something i can tell you. the biggest administrative error in history.
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>> when the east german government opened the window a little bit and said, well, if you want to move from east germany into west germany, you may, that's all people needed to hear. >> history turns on these magnificent little divots. there are border guards who could have fired at these first people but they didn't. instead of firing on those who were coming close to the wall, instead of firing on them, they just let them do it. [cheers and applause ]
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♪ >> it was the sort of news that defies the possibility of a headline. what we know is that we are standing in attendance at a moment in history as you look now at the berlin wall. >> we didn't really anticipate that the wall would come down like that but so much pent up emotion and so much of the desire for freedom that it just overwhelmed them but it wasn't anticipated. it was a surprise. >> our joy was just watching germans roll through that wall and knock it down and start making souvenir slices and it
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was a truly exciting night because we had wanted this for 40 years and now it's happening. >> the long-time communist leader of bulgaria suddenly and surprisingly today announced his resignation. >> it turns out that these regimes are more brittle than gorbachev understood and they couldn't find many gorbachevs. he tried to encourage people like him to rise to the fore in these countries. they weren't successful. >> had gorbachev decided to use force, this whole scenario would have been totally different and, furthermore, the cold war might have ended in a far different way. it might have ended with a bang and not with a whimper. >> how can one sum up what we've gone through in the last months? perhaps a concert. the conductor was leonard bernstein and they climaxed to
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"the ode de joy" except one word was changed, "ode to freedom." ♪ >> the playwright activist is the first noncommunist party in 41 years. >> and he his wife were executed after military court found them guilty of genocide, stealing state funds and trying to escape prosecution. >> from our point of view, there was no argument about the most remarkable story of the decade. freedom. in some cases, freedom which had been unthinkable as the decade began.
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tonight, television takes a look at itself. >> what's on the idiot box? >> it's only an idiot box if an idiot is watching. >> i'll tell you about the golden age in television. this period of time will be looked upon as the platinum age. >> our obligation is to entertainment. and if we've left something to think about, so much the better. >> kunta kinte. >> charges were leveled at the commercial television networks. >> congress has no right to interfere in the media. >> well, excuse me! >> we have the responsibility to give the audience what it tuned in to see.

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