release pent up pressure, allowed applications for private travel, with application to be approved immediately. The result was a mass rush through border posts which surprised the government and in fact led to its eventual downfall (Jarausch 1994, p3).
In Berlin on November 9, 1989, people went to border posts and the guards there, perhaps confused by the lack of clear-cut commands, did not stop them crossing over into the West. At first the guards tried to stamp visas, but soon gave up as a mass of people and cars crossed the border (Jarausch 1994, p4). By the 9 November the 1989 the Berlin Wall was breached, and later dismantled (Zeman 1991, p325). The next day, the West German government allocated 100 DM of 'welcome money' for each such visitor (Jarausch 1994, p11), a move which seems to have been designed to avoid social problems during the visit, but also ensuring that the high level of crossing-over would be sustained.
There were East German plans to try to close the border two days later, with the East German defence minister ordering a rifle division to seal off the zone, using force if necessary. Yet, the general staff refused to participate in what would have caused a massacre - here the negative example of Tiananmen Square in China may have had some influence (Australian 1990; Paterson & Smith, in Smith 1992, p11). The Wall, which had been build in 1961 at the express order of Honecker, had been designed to keep people within the Eastern Block, especially Germans (during 1945-1961 3.4 million registered refugees had fled from East Germany, Jarausch 1994, p8). Of course, it could not stop all movements: officially permitted emigration, direct escapes, flight through third countries, and ransoming of prisoners, resulted in 203,619 people leaving East Germany in the 1980-1988 period (Jarausch 1994, p17). Now, however, the Wall was unable to stop either refugees or visitors.
Various grass-roots movements had helped bring about the situation whereby the East German government was forced to begin reform. Reform groups first formed as civic movements with the aid the Protestant Church, which remained socially still fairly strong in East Germany (Jarausch 1994, p10). These groups included environmental, human rights, and later on democratic reform groups. In spite of close monitoring and harassment by the Stasi, these groups would help catalyse mass popular unrest in the major cities of East Germany (for revival of 'civil society' in Eastern Europe generally, and its later limitations, see Tismaneanu 2001).
Meanwhile, the East German government was under enormous economic pressure (Brezinski 1992, p236). On 17 November 1989, Hans Modrow made initial proposals concerning a contractual union, an initiative immediately followed up by Kohl's 28 November 1989 speech in which the ten point plan for unification was proposed, a move which caught the US and other European powers by surprise (Paterson & Smith, in Smith 1992, p24). In early 1990 Modrow and 17 of his ministers visited Bonn to seek emergency aid ($12 billion) from West Germany, and to discuss the prospects of monetary union (Rothwell, 1990b, p8). The hard cash was refused, with only limited aid offered (Rothwell 1990, p8), a move underlying the East German delegation's status as suppliants, and the lack of viability of their government.
The interim East German government quickly decided to consider unification with the West, a policy actively aided and manoeuvred for by Chancellor Kohl. The