ABSTRACT

The over 200 members of the Central Committee of the SED must have been a little surprised, even apprehensive, and perhaps relieved, to get two invitations to attend a meeting of the ZK within days of each other. The first was dated 13 October and gave as the agenda preparations for the next, XII, party congress in 1990, the usual Politburo report and the strat­ egy of the SED in the 1990s. The second invitation gave as the agenda simply ‘the political situation5.1 Both letters bore Honecker5 s signature. Depending on their temperaments, knowledge and personalities, some would have been relieved by the first invitation, which seemed to indicate that the leaders had everything under control. Others would have found it frighten­ ing, as it seemed to indicate that Honecker and the others were totally out of touch with the unfolding drama in the GDR. The second letter could only mean change, but what change?