Was Gorbachev a key player in the fall of the Berlin Wall?
Gorbachev has been praised for his role in the fall of the Eastern Bloc, however he was not directly on the scene in East Germany so his impact was indirect, on how the East German government and people acted and reacted to his statements. Does he deserve to be seen as a key player in the fall of the wall, as opposed to the Eastern Bloc as a whole?
'General Secretary Gorbachev, if you seek peace, if you seek prosperity for the Soviet Union and eastern Europe, if you seek liberalization, come here to this gate. Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall!'
While this could indicate that Gorbachev was not involved in the fall, without his reforms in the Soviet Union the iron grip on the eastern bloc would have held strong. When Ronald Reagan addressed Mikhail Gorbachev at the Brandenburg Gate he said:
By this time, June 1987, Gorbachev had already implemented the policy of openness, Glasnost, and had set the Soviet Union on the path to it's demise. The opening up of borders had a knock on effect in Eastern Europe, and when the Wall fell Gorbachev was not even awoken by his advisors[[http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=120188545]], reflecting the relaxation in policy. The measurement of his importance, to consider him as a key player, is the fact that without Gorbachev releasing the Soviet grip, the wall would not have been allowed to fall.
If the wall came down because of the end of soviet-type communism, then Mr Gorbachev certainly ended it.
He did not stand by the sidelines, he 'trusted his eyes'.
Gorbachev did not tear down the wall.