Twenty years after the fall of the Berlin Wall, and end to Germany's Iron Curtain, David Molyneaux returns for the celebrations. This is his seventh blog.
Eastern Germans remember 1989 as the year of the big surprise.
Decades had rolled by without much reason for hope of democracy. Then, in a matter of months, the old East German regime fell apart, and freedom arrived overnight.
Most of the world did not know in 1989 that the Cold War of more than four decades was crawling toward an end. The Soviet Union -- a collection of countries tied forcibly to communist Moscow after World War II -- was collapsing economically, though that, too, was kept under wraps.
Meanwhile, the people of Soviet-dominated countries such as East Germany, kept taking baby steps toward freedom.