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Please note: We require 7 days notice to retrieve this collection as part, or all of it, is held off-campus.

Identity statement

Reference code(s)
GB0099 KCLMA Fall of the Wall
Fall of the Wall, television documentary archive
Level of description
Collection (fonds)
Extent and medium of the unit of description (quantity, bulk, or size)
2 boxes (0.02 cubic metres)


Name of creator(s)

Brian Lapping Associates

Administrative / Biographical history

Fall of the Wall is a two part television documentary produced for BBC2 by Brian Lapping Associates, a London based television production company. The documentary was aired on the BBC2 on 30 Oct and 6 Nov 1994 to coincide with the fifth anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall. The programme was produced by David Ash and Stephen Clark, and Directed by David Ash.

Immediate source of acquisition or transfer

Presented to the Centre by Norma Percy, Brian Lapping Associates, 23 February 1996.

Content & structure

Scope and content

Complete transcripts of 38 filmed interviews concerning events leading up to the 9 Nov 1989 when the border between the German Democratic Republic (East Germany) and the Federal Republic of Germany (West Germany) was opened, and the demolition of the Berlin Wall began. The interviews were recorded for the production of the television documentary Fall of the Wall, which was broadcast in 1994. The collection also includes programme scripts and press releases for each of the hour long documentary episodes titled 'A Hole in the Wall' and 'The Fatal Error'. Interviewees were either present or involved in the decisions and events which led up to the final destruction of the wall and include government leaders in Czechoslovakia, Hungary, German Democratic Republic (GDR), Federal Republic of Germany (FRG), and the Soviet Union, government officials and Politburo members, organisers of the Pan European Picnic, 19 Aug 1989, East German and Czechoslovakian civilians, border guards and security forces, a Foreign Ambassador, and an East German dissident. Most notable are Mikhail Gorbachev, Soviet leader 1985 - 1991, Hans Dietrich Genscher, West German Foreign Minister during 1989, Miklós Németh, Hungarian Prime Minister 1988 - 1990, Milos Jakes (First Secretary of the Communist Party of Czechoslovakia 1987 - 1989, and Egon Krenz, East German General Secretary of the Socialist Unity (Communist) Party and Chairman of Council of State Oct - Dec 1989. Subjects discussed include the significance of Soviet policies under Mikhail Gorbachev and Eduard Scheverdnadze such as perestroika and glasnost, the demise of the Breshnev doctrine on Soviet intervention and the Warsaw Pact; reforming influences in government in Poland, Hungary and Czechoslovakia; tacit support of West Germany and the USA for soviet reformers and later agreements for provision of economic aid; Hungary's signing of the Convention relating to the Status of Refugees of 28 July 1951 , Mar 1989; Hungary's announcement that is will cease to maintain its electronic border fence, 2 May 1989; the visit of Gyula Horn, Hungarian Foreign Minister, and Alois Mock, Austrian Foreign Minister, to Sopron, Hungary to view the dismantling of the fence, 28 Jun 1989; visit of George Bush, US President, to Budapest, 11-13 Jul 1989; origin and development of plan to hold a Pan European Picnic at Sopron on 19 Aug 1989, an event promoted by the Democratic Forum under the patronage of Otto Von Habsburg and Imre Poszgay, to mark the dismantling of the fence; meetings between Hungarian and West German leaders concerning the Hungarian border opening; West Germany's principle of accepting all East Germans refugees; arrangements for a ceremonial crossing of the border by an official party during the Pan European Picnic which were upstaged by a group of East German refugees forcing the gates to cross into Austria; peaceful response of the Hungarian border guards; East German 'tourists' in Czechoslovakia seeking refuge in the West German Embassy in Prague, Czechoslovakia; the Fortieth anniversary celebrations of the German Democratic Republic (GDR) on 7 Oct 1989 and visit of Mikhail Gorbachev and other soviet state leaders; the East German government agreement to issue allow these refugees to legally cross to West Germany; special transport trains were passing through East Germany to the west; rioting occurring in Dresden as trains passed through; popular demonstrations in Leipzig during Sep and Oct 1989; influx of troops and police brought in to quell the demonstration in Leipzig planned for 9 Oct 1989 and diffusion of this situation; the resignation of Erich Honecker as East German head of state and party leader, 19 Oct 1989; succession of Egon Krenz as East German leader; East German television announcement of general issue of exit visas for East Germans citizens; and the forcing of the border between East and West Berlin on the evening of 9 Nov 1989.

System of arrangement

Transcripts were received in 4 folders (numbered 3 through to 6, folders 1 and 2 consisted of preliminary interviews, these were not included in the deposit) in roughly alphabetical order by surname. This order has been maintained and each interview given a running number as part of a single file.

Conditions of access & use

Conditions governing access

Open, subject to signature of Reader's undertaking form, and appropriate provision of two forms of identification, to include one photographic ID.

Conditions governing reproduction

Copies, subject to the condition of the original, may be supplied for research use only. Requests to publish original material should be submitted to the Trustees of the Liddell Hart Centre for Military Archives, attention of the Director of Archive Services.

Language/scripts of material

English and German. Of the thirty-eight interviews, the transcripts of twelve are in English, the remainder are in German and these are undated. Transcripts of the material in English were made by Karen S Game.

Finding aids

Detailed catalogue to be made available online soon and in hard copy in Liddell Hart Centre for Military Archives reading room.

Allied materials

Existence and location of originals
King's College London College Archives

Description control

Archivist's Note

Compiled by Alison Field

Rules or conventions

Compiled in compliance with General International Standard Archival Description, ISAD(G), second edition, 2000; National Council on Archives Rules for the Construction of Personal, Place and Corporate Names, 1997.

This catalogue is made available under the Open Data Commons Attribution License. This catalogue may be updated from time to time in order to reflect additional material and/or new understandings of the material.

Date(s) of descriptions

April 2002


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  • Collectivism
  • Communism
  • East West relations
  • Glasnost
  • Government
  • Government policy
  • Internal politics
  • International relations
  • Political conflicts
  • Political crises
  • Political doctrines
  • State security

Personal names

  • Carter, James Earl, b 1924, US President
  • Dobrynin, Anatoly Fedorovich, b 1919, Soviet diplomat and statesman
  • Genscher, Hans-Dietrich, b 1927, German Foreign Minister
  • Gorbachev, Mikhail Sergeyevich, b 1931, President of the Soviet Union
  • Jakes, Milos, b 1923, First Secretary, Communist Party of Czechoslovkia
  • Krenz, Egon, b 1937, German politician
  • Nemeth, Miklos, b 1948, Hungarian Prime Minister
  • Shevardnadze, Eduard, b 1928, Soviet Foreign Minister


  • Berlin, Germany
  • Budapest, Hungary, Eastern Europe
  • Dresden, Germany
  • Leipzig, Germany
  • Poland, Eastern Europe
  • Prague, Czechoslovakia, Eastern Europe
  • Sopron, Hungary, Eastern Europe
  • Soviet Union

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