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November 5 & 8: from Berlin - Leipzig - Budapest - London

Twenty years since the fall of the Wall: Germany's revolution then and now. From the signal demonstrations in Leipzig to the present-day classrooms of Berlin, we'll look at some successes and ironic failures brought about by that historic change.

And, what of eastern Europe's other revolutions of the time? "A promise not fulfilled," says a correspondent who was there. We'll look at why they may not have realised their potential.

Then: gunpowder, treason and plot. Tales of counter-espionage from the only author ever allowed to view them inside the vaults of the British spy service.

Listen to Part One

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Listen to Part Two
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Individual items from this week's show are not available. But you can listen to them in Part 1 and Part 2 of the programme (above).

Birth of a Revolution

Twenty years ago this month, it happened.

The gun towers went silent. The secret police melted away. Ronald Reagan had demanded that Mikhail Gorbachev "tear down this wall", and seeing as Gorbachev had his own problems in the collapsing Soviet Union, he let east Germany go.

Jubilant crowds began scaling the Wall that symbolised all that was evil about communism.The thing that divided a nation. Penned up its people. And killed at least 125 who tried to climb it.

The Berlin Wall. Just three-and-a-half metres high. 160 kilometres long.

Built in 1961 to choke off the tide of east Berliners fleeing to the west.

Today, you find pieces of it on dusty shelfs and souvenir drawers the world over, remnants of an era when democratic revolution swept eastern Europe.

But while the Wall encircled Berlin, there are those who say it fell in Leipzig, a city two hours away.

Leipzig was the real hub of mass protest, a city once famed for trade and music left sinking by a ruthless communist regime.

A full month before the Wall was breached, thousands marched in Leipzig in a collective cry for democracy that was heard around the world.

CBC correspondent Tom Parry went to the church where it all started.

Revolution, Unifinished

German re-unification came on the heels of revolution in Hungary and Poland, and would be followed by others in Czechoslovakia and Romania, Bulgaria and Albania.

And what of those revolutions? How is the promise of those heady days playing out for eastern Europe two decades later?

Nick Thorpe is a British correspondent now living in Hungary who covered the seminal events of those dramatic times.

He smuggled dissident writings out of Romania, lent a sleeping bag to Vaclav Havel in Czechoslovakia, and reported revolutions from Budapest to Leipzig.

It's all in his new book, '89: The Unfinished Revolution, soon to be published by Reportage Press. He is in Budapest, Hungary.

Click here to see Nick's website.

Generation East

The world will be watching Berlin on the 20th anniversary the fall of the Wall.

But for students in parts of the east -- the former German Democratic Republic -- it's like it never happened.

The new "Generation East" is taught little of the tumultuous history of their country. And most can't be bothered to ask.There are some painful reasons for it.

But it's in sharp contrast to the experience of kids being schooled in the former American sector of west Berlin.

In her documentary, Dispatches contributor Alexa Dvorson goes into the classroom to discover one side has emerged from the fog of history, while others are still enveloped in it.

See more of CBC's coverage of the 20th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall.

Inside MI-5

Germany today is the economic engine of Europe. But it was the country's military ambitions in the past century that drove Britain to create its first domestic security service.

And the vaults of MI-5, as it's called, have only ever been opened to one civilian: the eminent intelligence historian Christopher Andrew.

He is professor of history at Cambridge. Has been a visiting professor at the University of Toronto.

And the results of his years in the security vaults have been distilled in an extensive new book he's called The Defence of the Realm: The Authorised History Of MI-5, published by Viking Canada.

To write it though, he had to become one of them. And there were a few other surprises along the way, as he told Rick from our studio in London.

Velvet Revolution - a preview

Now, a taste of something we're working on for next week. A return to Czechoslovakia's "Velvet revolution" through the sound archives of a journalist who was there, the CBC's Nancy Durham.

This program is the work of producers Dawna Dingwall, Alison Masemann and Steve McNally. With intern Felipe Leite, technical producers Greg Fleet, Victor Johnston, and Catherine Seymour in London, and senior producer Alan Guettel.

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