It was also the most dangerous moment the world had faced since the 1963 Cuban missile crisis. What would the Soviet leadership do? Just graciously give way or use its huge Red Army and KGB to crush the uprisings?
Interestingly, in a raw exposure of shameful historical enmity, Britain's prime minister Margaret Thatcher and France's president Francois Mitterand both called Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev to urge him not to allow German reunification.
The Soviet Union's reformist leader could have stopped the uprisings in East Germany, Hungary, and Czechoslovakia. The mighty Group of Soviet Forces Germany (GSFG) based in East Germany had 338,000 crack troops in 24 divisions, with 4,200 tanks, 8,000 armored vehicles, 3,800 guns and rocket launchers and 690 combat aircraft.