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Removal of Hungary's border fence: Wikis


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The removal of Hungary's border fence with Austria in May 1989 was a historic event during the Cold War, directly prior to the revolutionary wave known as the "Autumn of Nations".


On May 2, 1989, the first visible cracks in the Iron Curtain appeared when Hungary began dismantling their 150 mile long border fence with Austria.[1] The relatively open border with the West allowed for hundreds of East Germans vacationing in Hungary to escape to Austria and then travel safely to West Germany.

The open border infuriated many Soviet Bloc countries 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.

The most famous crossing came on August 19, when during a "friendship picnic" between Austrians and Hungarians over 900 East Germans rushed the border and escaped into Austria.[2]


  1. ^ Stokes, G: "The Walls Came Tumbling Down", page 131. Oxford University Press, 1993
  2. ^ Buckley, W: National Review

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