Removal of Hungary's border fence
On 2 May 1989, the first visible cracks in the Iron Curtain appeared when Hungary began dismantling its 150 mile long border fence with Austria. The relatively open border with the West allowed hundreds of East Germans on holiday in Hungary to escape to Austria and then travel safely to West Germany.
The open border infuriated many Soviet Bloc governments who feared a return to a pre-Berlin Wall day when thousands of East Germans fled daily to West Berlin. Although worried, the Soviet Union took no overt actions against Hungary, taking a hands-off approach.
Now Hungary and Austria are part of the Schengen Agreement, which allows border crossing without identity check.
- 2 May: Hungary dismantles border, BBC
- 10 Sept: East Germans go West, BBC
- Les 20 ans d'un pique-nique qui a fait basculer l'histoire, Le Monde (French)
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