In the night of 9 November the images of thousands of Eastern Germans pouring into Berlin security checkpoints at Bernauerstraße and West Berliners knocking the first brick out of the Wall literally travelled around the world. More than any other frontier, the division of Berlin as its physical representation epitomized in people’s mind the ultimate sign of the division of Europe into spheres of influence. More than any other event in Central Eastern Europe, the Berlin Wall’s demolition contributed to reshape both geographical maps and ideological camps.
It is, therefore, not in the least surprising that these events captured the attention of millions of Europeans, ranging from present-day observers to prominent experts. Still, throughout the years, the main research focus has been either on the inner German dynamics or on the role played by the Superpowers. With the 30th anniversary of the fall of the Wall in the offing and an apparent creeping estrangement between Italy and Germany making the front page, the time is ripe for providing deeper insights into the reactions arising in Italy from the German events.
How did the Italian vision of the German Question evolve? How did Rome perceive and react to the process leading to German unity? What kind of tools had the European integration process and the evolution of the Italian-German relations? How did Rome cope with the challenge issued by this “acceleration of history”? In answering these questions, the book goes far beyond the limitations imposed by a traditional diplomatic and foreign policy approach, embracing also the economic and cultural levels, as well as the mass media. The year 1989 was a test of the level of maturity attained by the Italian-German couple, which casts a long shadow that goes far beyond their respective national borders.