Bush School Hosts Lecture on the Accidental Opening of the Berlin Wall

February 18, 2016

Dr. Mary Sarotte

On February 22, 2016, the Scowcroft Institute of International Affairs at the Bush School of Government and Public Service will host a lecture by Dr. Mary Sarotte about her latest book, The Collapse: The Accidental Opening of the Berlin Wall, which explores both the causes and the legacy of the unexpected fall of the Wall. The event will take place at 5:30 p.m. in the George Bush Library.

The Collapse was selected as a book of the week by CNN and was named a book of the year by BBC History Magazine, The Economist, and the Financial Times. Drawing from new archival research, data, and interviews from six countries, the book describes the monumental fall of the Berlin Wall as a chaotic accident rather than an event planned by East German rulers and Western political leaders. Through careful research, Dr. Sarotte reveals how separate decisions made by daring underground revolutionaries, disgruntled Stasi officers, and dictatorial party bosses sparked an unexpected series of events culminating in the Wall’s chaotic fall.

Dr. Sarotte is a visiting professor of government and history at Harvard University and Dean’s Professor of History and professor of international relations at the University of Southern California. Her previous books include 1989: The Struggle to Create Post-Cold War Europe (Princeton University Press, 2009), which received numerous awards, as well as two other books, Dealing with the Devil and German Military Reform and European Security. She has also written for Time, Die Zeit, and The Economist and has appeared as a political commentator on the BBC, CNN International, and Sky News

The event is open to the public, but reservations are recommended. To register for the event, visit

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