Romania: the last revolution of 1989
It still seems hard to believe that little more than 20 years ago Berlin was a divided city, military generals ruled Poland and, in Czechoslovakia, the Velvet Revolution could have been the name of a rock band rather than a movement about to overthrow a communist regime.
But such was the pace of change in Eastern Europe in 1989 that much of what had stood since the end of World War II was in flux and the political map redrawn.
As the effects of the loosening of Soviet centralised control spread through the Eastern Bloc in the late 1980s it seemed - certainly with hindsight - almost inevitable that established communist regimes would be challenged and removed.
That Romania's President Nicolae Ceausescu was shot after a summary trial on Christmas Day - a day when much of the world looks hopefully toward a peaceful future - was rich with symbolism.
Ceausescu's death brought to a bloody close a remarkable year in which the people of Eastern Europe demanded freedom and saw tyranny defeated. Of course, nothing is ever quite so simple, but the transformation of the old Eastern Bloc - through generally bloodless revolutions - to fledgling democracies was one of the more remarkable achievements of the late twentieth century.
Panorama's John Simpson told the story of the last revolution of that momentous year in the first Panorama of 1990, reporting on how the revolution sparked into life amid demonstrations and riots in Timisoara in mid-December.
The demonstrations followed the eviction from his home of a pastor, critical of the Ceausescu regime. A brutal and cruel regime kept in power by the secret police - the Securitate.
The Securitate ruled by fear and intimidation, but didn't have the numbers to deal with the sheer volume of the crowds - which peaked at 100,000 - that gathered in Timisoara to support the priest initially, but later to denounce Ceausescu.
The out of touch Ceausescu was deluded by his secret police into thinking the people loved him. This delusion led him to believe that if he addressed a crowd in Bucharest and denounced events in Timisoara, he would be able to quell the unrest.
That decision proved to be his undoing. It caused his regime to unravel and within days he was facing execution along with his wife in the damp courtyard of an army barracks in Tirgovista, closing the year of revolutions in a grisly manner.
Romania recovered quickly. After a brief period of executions of Securitate members and jockeying for position by revolutionary groups, calm was restored and parliamentary and residential elections were held in May.
The new decade saw Romania, like much of Eastern Europe, reborn.