Thank You For Your Time, Günter Schabowski
It is said that misinformation can run around the world before the truth gets a chance to lace up its track shoes, and--at least before 2020--this may have never been more apparent than in the reunification of Germany. After the European nation went through a weird phase where they unwittingly triggered a World War (again), Washington and Moscow essentially divided Germany into two parts for reasons.
As a result of these detached deliberations, citizens of East Germany and West Germany had to apply for, purchase, and use a passport to visit people and places that were once minutes away. Families were torn asunder, businesses were crippled, and fundamental freedoms were violated. Many people were murdered crossing the border...it was almost as bad as being asked to wear a mask during a pandemic.
Because everyone ran out of good ideas on the subject over the next half-century or so an actual wall was constructed down the center of the capital, in much the same way siblings might tape their shared room in half during a heated dispute over whose mother their mother actually was.
...and so for decades the Berlin Wall stood, forbidding and stout. That is, until The People finally had enough.
More and more citizens of the twin Germani grew to appreciate the fact that an artificial border was nothing but a nuisance for the typical citizen as the years passed, and demonstrations against the barrier quickly swelled.
Pressure on both governments to cut the bullshit mounted, and eventually an agreement was reached to ease travel restrictions between the two countries instead of removing the border.
...but that´s not what the fuck The People asked for, now is it?
Ironically, it was a piece of fake news that saw their will fulfilled and changed the course of the Human Saga.
On 9 November 1989, a spokesman for the border disassembly project by the name of Günter Schabowski, having half-read some notes on the loosened travel restrictions planned at the time, made the bold move to appear live on international television in a press conference to explain them to an eagerly anticipatory public.
With a fateful slip of the tongue, the soon-to-be-famous bureaucrat answered a question he did not actually have the answer to for the benefit of a worldwide audience, addressing the question of when the new rules would take effect with something like ¨um idk dude...right now, I guess.¨
Of course, that was not the preferred procedure...talk of applications, visas, and other meaningless paperwork dominated the discussion of Germany´s reunification process in the highest halls of power...but when a few hundred thousand people show up at a location sharing the same intention, all of a sudden the idea of authority gets extremely flexible.
They certainly did show up.
After weighing the pros and cons of shooting innocent civilians seeking to exercise the human right of free migration against just opening the damn gate, collecting their paycheck, and going home, the soldiers tasked with guarding the barrier thankfully made the right choice.
Not having nearly enough bullets for the assembled masses was likely a factor in this decision, as was the memory of what happened to the last German military officers to step spectacularly out of line.
Completely overwhelmed in every way, the head guard issued a historic order: ah, fuck it.
Collective power cast the gates aside once and for all, and the first unauthorized footsteps to land on either side of the Berlin Wall were opening drumbeats in a symphony of the human spirit.
Tearful reunions between made headlines around the world, a nation was reunited under a single flag, The Wall itself was eventually destroyed brick by brick, thousands of new customers were poisoned with Coca-Cola, and the ideological warfare that threatened all of civilization with nuclear annihilation took one step closer to its end...and all because a little fake news met a lot of enthusiasm.
Pretty lucky, if you think about it...usually goes the other way.
Thank you for your time.