People-powered democratic revolts - do they last?


Western Europe

1968: Three weeks of student demonstrations led to general strikes by two-thirds of the working population, forcing the conservative government of Charles de Gaulle to call immediate elections (which de Gaulle won). Though a political failure, the revolt is credited with social liberalization.

Results: Mixed


1974: The "Carnation Revolution" - a bloodless one-day military coup with broad civilian support - overthrew a right-wing dictator and laid groundwork for a new constitution and civilian rule within a year. Freedom House ranks it a democracy among the most free in the world today.

Results: Successful


1989: A month of civil unrest led to the ouster of Socialist Unity Party leader Erich Honecker and the fall of the Berlin Wall on Nov. 9. East and West Germany reunited in October 1990.

Results: Successful

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