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November 1989: East Germans danced on the Berlin wall and the Communist regime began to collapse. A unique revolution occurred: changes were brought about by peaceful, spontaneous demonstrations. No group organized the famous gatherings of thousands of people at the Karl Marx Square in Leipzig on October 9, 1989.
Why did so many citizens participate although they risked their lives? Why were the demonstrations peaceful? How was it possible that so many people demonstrated without any organization? What part did the church and opposition groups play in the emergence of the revolution? Why didn't the government crack down the demonstrations? How did political events such as the liberalization in Eastern Europe influence the demonstrations?
In a readable and accessible style, Origins of a Spontaneous Revolution provides an explanation of this revolution based in rational actor theory. The authors support their arguments with documents, jokes, and a unique data set: one year after the revolutionary events a representative survey of 1300 Leipzig residents was conducted focusing exclusively on the revolutionary period.
This book will be of interest to sociologists and other social scientists such as historians and political scientists.