The PJ Tatler

On This Day in History

All history is contingency, argued Hugh Trevor-Roper. Grand theories and meta-narratives fail to account for the moments when history turns on a dime. On November 9, 1989, a butterfly flapped its wings in East Germany and caused an earthquake in the rest of the world: During a press conference in East Berlin, Gunter Schabowski, spokesman for the ruling Socialist Unity Party, mistakenly announced to reporters that travel restrictions had been lifted from East Berlin into West Berlin. And the wall began to fall….