It all happened because of the use of a single German word, unverzüglich: “immediately”, or “at once”.
To those on the right, the end of the Iron Curtain 25 years ago was a moral and ideological victory – but they have found some of the consequences dismaying.
What motivates the young men who leave Britain to join the murderous fanatics of Isis in the Middle East? Shiraz Maher spoke to dozens of them inside Syria to find out.
Rarely has an election elicited a louder national cry of “meh”. But there are some important races buried beneath the banality.
Stalin emerges from Stephen Kotkin’s book as that most frightening of figures – a man of absolute conviction.
The febrile atmosphere of the mid-term elections has turned the response to the disease into a way of playing politics.
The appointment of Guy Scott as Zambia’s interim president has been welcomed by the country's citizens. We should follow their lead.
Rather than waiting for a presidential knight or knightess in shining armour, progressives are getting back to basics and organising from the bottom-up.
Why are we intent on fixing our lens on the chaotic? And why do we insist on trying to weave a grand narrative out of mostly unrelated things? asks the US Ambassador to Britain.
These Kurdish units, which include all-women militias, have to all intents and purposes become the last line of defence against the genocidal fanatics of Islamic State.
He also receives a three-year suspended sentence for a firearms offence.
The jihadis are fighting on several fronts in two countries – and reports say that demoralised western recruits are increasingly repulsed by the atrocities they have witnessed.
In 2010, Jón Gnarr became mayor of Reykjavik by accident. Four years later, he’s relieved it’s over.
Barely a week goes past without a terrible incident, and too often the police officer is white and the other people involved are black.
The American political scientist and author once predicted that liberal democracy had won the battle of ideas. Now he says political Islam is not a serious threat to the west and we should not intervene in Iraq.
There is usually a price when bloodlust goes unchecked in distant lands.
Jemima Khan writes from Jordan on the Syrian refugee crisis.
Since April this year 5,000 unaccompanied children have arrived in the small Sicilian town of Augusta, fleeing war and poverty in north Africa.
Our involvement is a small admission of culpability for the condition of Iraq.
Jonathan Rugman on the west’s distinctions between “good Kurds” and “bad Kurds”.
The people of Hong Kong are making their voices heard as never before.
The time has come to define and demonstrate differently what it means to be a democrat by giving the word to the citizens instead of keeping them hostage to debates between politicians.
The centre-right was defeated after failed privatisations, but a weak centre-left fell short of a majority.
There is no question in my mind that Russia stirred up this war to destabilise Ukraine, but how will these people ever trust the government in Kyiv again?
It is now four decades since Richard Milhous Nixon resigned in disgrace as US president – he remains reappraised but not rehabilitated.
Cameron will need Miliband's support to win a vote on military action. But all the signs are that he will get it.
The frozen conflict has begun.
In the fortnight in which one of Franklin’s lost ships was found in the Canadian arctic, and Scotland – like Quebec before it – is voting on independence, the parallels between the UK and Canada have never been stronger.
The anti-immigration Swedish Democrats finish third as Cameron's ally Fredrik Reinfeldt is defeated.
Peter Wilby’s First Thoughts column.