Last year, in the pages of The Washington Post, Nick Gillespie and Matt Welch argued that the television show Dallas helped win the Cold War. And now, from the always breathless and usually unreliable German tabloid Bild, we discover that the Stasi, the East German secret police, fearful that his music would drive the youth of the "anti-fascist state" into open revolt, believed that Michael Jackson would help precipitate the end of communism. After Jackson planned a concert at the Brandenburg Gate in 1988, authorities in the GDR twisted their mustaches, stroked their cats, and planned to disrupt the counterrevolutionary concert:
In a file seen by BILD dating from May 4 1988, Stasi Department 20 warns that "the youth will do anything they can to try and listen to the concert from the Brandenburg Gate". It added: "Named youths are planning a confrontation with the police."
The Stasi considered countermeasures and planned a "diversionary concert" to keep young people away from the Wall. And the real concert was supposed to be beamed onto a huge screen in an East Berlin stadium, with a two minute delay.
Even then, the secret police also considered playing a video of a different Michael Jackson concert.
The plan never came into effect as on June 19 the Stasi brutally hunted down any Michael Jackson fans in East Berlin instead.
A diversionary concert of dreary agitprop from, perhaps, the great traitor Dean Reed?
Friday bonus: A clip of Reed, the Kim Philby of schlager, singing "Give Peace a Chance" on Russian television in 1985. And you thought Stalin's purges were bad: