Professor Federigo Argentieri Publishes Chapter in New Book on Fall of Berlin Wall

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Professor Federigo Argentieri has written a chapter in a new book on the fall of the Berlin Wall published by Italian daily Corriere della Sera.

Professor Argentieri, who teaches International Affairs and is Director of the Guarini Institute for Public Affairs, contributed “Quando l’Ungheria accese la miccia” (“This is How Hungary Lit the Fuse”).

Among the authors of the volume 1989- Il crollo del muro di Berlino e la nascita della nuova Europa (1989-The Fall of the Berlin Wall and the Birth of the New Europe) are well-known Germanist Claudio Magris and former ambassador and columnist Sergio Romano.

Professor Argentieri, who has published widely on the contemporary history and politics of Central-Eastern Europe and Italy, provided this synopsis of his chapter:

East Germany and Hungary were the first two Soviet satellites to stage a revolt in 1953-56, in a way that George Orwell had almost predicted in “Animal Farm.” In 1961, the infamous Berlin wall was built: the following year, an 18-year-old worker, Peter Fechter, was mortally wounded and left agonizing by the border guards as he tried to escape from East Berlin, thereby unmasking the lies about the GDR being “a workers’ state,” as the Hungarian workers themselves had done a few years earlier.

The two countries also paved the ground for the collapse of the entire Soviet bloc, as Hungary opened the Iron Curtain in May 1989 and refused to arrest and extradite the East German citizens who took advantage of the opportunity to escape: the mass exodus, coupled with huge popular demonstrations, led to the November 9, 1989 opening of the border and, less than a year later, to the peaceful reunification of Germany.

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