The SED’s new tactic

The state used violence to combat demonstrators, rousing even more people against it. The SED therefore changed its tactics and made a show of wanting to talk to the opposition. But the population stayed on the streets. A change of leadership within the SED did not bring the desired results, either.

On 11 October 1989 the GDR government appealed to the population to stay in the country and engage in a "dialogue" on further developments. Yet it failed in its goal of suppressing the demonstrators through staged debates in enclosed spaces. At the dialogue events, as they were called, people vented their pent-up anger against the SED party functionaries.

The most powerful man in the GDR, the head of state and the SED Erich Honecker, was pressured to resign by his own party comrades on 18 October. His successor Egon Krenz announced a "turnaround": a change of course for the sole ruling party, the SED. The people were no longer willing to be appeased, however. They did not accept Egon Krenz, who had been among the ruling circle for too long. His appointment by the SED Politburo only prompted new protests, with demonstrations spreading across the entire country.

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