The toppling of the Berlin Wall was a greater event even than Tiananmen. Tiananmen, after all, left the “one child” policy and most of the rest of the apparatus of China’s government in place. The opening of the Brandenburg Gate and Checkpoint Charlie forever changed the political configuration of a continent. A big Communist country became un-Communist and disappeared into another country. One of the globe’s most feared powers, Germany, was restored to its old imposing scale. The rest of Europe rearranged itself as well. Yet if you scrutinize reports of Germany from the seasons and months before November 9, and the evening when the guards let the East Berliners through, you’ll find scant portent of the transformation.