Germany Reunites

Published: 1990
Play Audio Archive Story - UPI
Polish Solidarity Leader Lech Walesa, with a partial shot of Barbara Bush. (UPI Photo/Files)

Howard Dicus: There was a lot of talk about peace the first half of the year. After all the superpowers had concluded the Cold War. Mikhail Gorbachev and George Bush summitted in Washington and agreed to make sweeping arms reduction.

The superpowers came so close together that in 1990 East and West Germany were able to merge. They set off fire works in Berlin and they rang a liberty bell. Berliners were singing a song of joy.

Unknown Speaker: It's great. It's the greatest. I am very happy.

Howard Dicus: Utah Brooma (ph) never thought she would live to see unification.

Utah Brooma (ph): No, nobody had thought it. Nobody could think of this, but we hoped it.

Howard Dicus: Mikhail Gorbachev, who permitted the freedom movement in the east block and allowed new freedoms in his own nation was rewarded with a Nobel Peace Prize, but the many Soviet people used their freedoms to gripe about supply shortages, and demand independence. Ethnic feuds broke out into the open and that was blamed on Gorbachev too.

(People Protesting)

Gorbachev found himself facing so many problems at home, he had to sent someone else to collect his Nobel Peace Prize.

Speaker: (Russian)

Howard Dicus: By year's end hardliners in the Soviet Congress were attacking the Gorbachev government so much, Foreign Minister Eduard Shevardnadze quit in a huff. Call this my protest he said. Don't talk me out of it, he said. It was a very Russian speech.

Speaker: (Spanish)

Spanish was a language of freedom in 1990. In Nicaragua, the Marxist Daniel Ortega permitted free elections and lost them. This is the Violeta Chamorro declaring victory. She inherited a busted economy and the year's end was wrestling with Marxist controlled labor unions. Elsewhere in central America...

Guillermo Endara: Today democracy is restored. Panama is free.

Howard Dicus: Guillermo Endara was finally allowed to claim his election victory after the dictator Manuel Noriega fled a US invasion force by running for the sanctuary of the Vatican embassy. Crowds gathered outside to yell at him. J Saber was there when Noriega decided to surrender.

J Saber: Manuel Noriega's surrender to US authorities has set off an insane celebration here. Pots, pans, fireworks, car horns, people running wild in the streets, screaming at the top of their lungs.

Unknown Speaker: He was a murderer, a drug trafficker. He ruined our country for 20 years. I am so happy he is out finally.

Howard Dicus: Far from the maddening crowd, Noriega was jailed in Florida to await trial on drug smuggling charges, but at year's end that trail was in doubt, because the government was caught taping his conversations with his lawyers.