Havemann was arrested on September 5, 1943 for his involvement in aiding victims of persecution and as the leading mind of the Europäische Union. He was sentenced to death on December 16, 1943. As his research work appeared indispensable for the Nazi arms industry, he received a stay of execution. Havemann was liberated from Brandenburg-Görden penitentiary by the Red Army in 1945. After the war, he joined the East German Socialist Unity Party (SED), but became critical of the regime in the wake of the 20th Congress of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union in 1956. Expelled from the SED in 1964, Havemann lost his post in 1965. He was placed under house arrest from 1976 to 1978. Havemann was one of the most vocal critics of the German Democratic Republic up to his death in 1982.Havemann had been sentenced to death in Nazi Germany, but the sentence was not carried out because as a scientist he was judged to be undertaking important work for the war effort. In 1982 he and Rainer Eppelmann were influential in launching the "Berlin Appeal". The text, which helped mobilise a peace movement transcending the East West divide, called for the Allies to withdraw from the two German states, to guarantee non interference in the affairs of the two states, and for the creation of a nuclear weapon free zone. Rundfunk Berlin Brandenburg has a tribute here.
On 11 March 1985, Mikhail Gorbachev was elected general secretary of the CPSU. Within5 years, the Soviet Union ended its involvement in Afghanistan, and East Germany stood on the brink of free elections. Back in 2009, I posted on the "Gorbachev factor" (Archie Brown), noting how according to Brown (no relation), reform was not forced upon Gorbachev by pressure from outside or the dire economic situation inside the Soviet Union - ascribing a voluntarism to Gorbachev and a small circle of top policy makers:
As a result, decisions in Moscow not only played the decisive role in the spread of communism in Eastern Europe in the 1940s, they were just as crucial in facilitating the end of communist rule in Europe 40 years later.