Twenty years ago this week, there was an attempted coup to try to stop the reforms of Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev.
The coup failed, but led to the end of the Soviet Union and over 70 years of the Communist empire.
The events marked an astonishing and historic turnaround, as many people thought the USSR and the Cold War might go on indefinitely.
- Bridget Kendall, diplomatic correspondent for the BBC
This segment aired on August 18, 2011.