- What were your experiences of 1989 in Romania?
- How have your ideas changed?
- Were there challenges to researching 1989?
- Is there one moment that stands out in your experience?
- What are the crucial moments of 1989?
- Is there a particular source that is important to study?
- How do students study 1989 in your classroom?
- What is difficult to understand about the "Common European Home" speech?
- What is important about Ceausescu's last speech?
- How do you help students understand Ceausescu's last speech?
- What is unique about viewing Ceausescu's last speech?
- How did Romanians respond in the days that followed?
What are the crucial moments of 1989?
For me, the revolutions of 1989 would not have happened without Gorbachev, making clear, open statements. There were several speeches in ’89 where he basically renounced the Brezhnev Doctrine, and so the fact that he is open about it, the fact that he does not react in any way when the Poles decide to have their roundtable discussions in April of 1989. That there’s absolutely no repercussions for that, is in fact, you know, a clear signal that things could go in a different direction, in other words, that the East European leadership has to make their own choices in terms of their future. And I would say, you know, that kind of connected thing that’s happening at the same time is, of course, that the Baltics, because of perestroika, have now been able to elect nationalists, representatives and are voting themselves out of the Union and guess what? Nothing happens.
Again, so it’s that inaction that is an important signal, to do as you please, to kind of take your fate in your hands, you know, the Soviet empire is over for better, for worse in that particular area of Europe. So I think that to me is the most important thing because the way I teach it to students, the history of communism is that it’s always about the Soviet Union in the background or in the foreground, but always, you know, that the East Europeans are always watching over their backs no matter what they do, no matter how much it is about internal matters.
How to Cite
Maria Bucur, interview, "What are the crucial moments of 1989?" Making the History of 1989, Item #602, http://chnm.gmu.edu/1989/items/show/602 (accessed April 25 2014, 3:09 am).