But this was only one of the titanic events of 1989. Though the production The End of History may not deal with them directly, here are some of the events of that year that continue to shape our world 25 years later:
The Polish United Workers party votes to legalize Solidarity, the dissident union headed by Lech Walesa. Elections are held in June, Solidarity candidates triumph and by year's end, Poland leaves the Soviet-dominated Warsaw Pact.
The Romanian Communist Party unanimously reelects President Ceausescu, protests erupt, the government is overthrown, Ceausescu and his wife are tried and executed.
Hungary proclaims a new constitution to create a multiparty democracy, and reorganizes as a republic on the 33rd anniversary of the Hungarian rebellion of 1956 that was crushed by Soviet tanks.
France celebrates the bicentennial of the French Revolution.
On October 1, civil unions for same sex couples became legal in Denmark, the first such law in the world.
The Exxon Valdez created the world's largest oil spill to that time when it ran aground in Alaska. The effects (and litigation) continue today.
President Bush authorizes the allocation of $300 billion in federal funds to prevent the collapse of the savings and loan industry.
The Dalai Lama wins the Nobel Peace Prize.
Terrorists in the Middle East hang an American hostage taken in 1986.
General Colin Powell becomes the first African American appointed Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.
The last Soviet troops leave Afghanistan, ending military occupation begun in 1979.
Five Central American countries agree that the U.S. backed "contras" attempting to bring down the government of Nicaragua should be disbanded.
The U.S. and Canada begin negotiations on an acid rain treaty. Twelve European countries agree to stop production of all chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) by the end of the 20th century.
Douglas Wilder becomes the first African American elected as the governor of a U.S. state (Virginia.)
Lithuania becomes the first Soviet republic to abolish Communist control of the government.
Chile holds its first free elections in 16 years.
The first Global Positioning System (GPS) satellite is placed in orbit.
The first Al-Qaeda cell in the US is reportedly formed in New York City.