The Red Army’s ruthless and hasty construction of that concrete and barbed wire monument, the Berlin Wall, in August 1961 was intended to prop up the tottering economic system of communist East Germany. It effectively plugged up the only gaping hole left in the Eastern bloc. And so, the collapse of the Wall in 1989 marked the final episode in the destruction of the Soviet imperial system. But more than that was actually at stake. Because the forward deployment of Soviet forces in Germany was what originally threw Europe out of balance after 1945, the demolition of the Wall brought the Cold War to an end as well, at least as far as Europe was concerned. The second cause of the East-West confrontation that emanated from the communist side – namely, the Leninist doctrine of world revolution – had been summarily dropped in 1987. All that remained in order to bring down the final curtain, therefore, was the collapse of the Soviet Union itself.