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Austria's International Position after the End of the Cold War

Günter Bischof
Ferdinand Karlhofer

Eastern Europe and the Balkans

Austria and Eastern Europe in the Post-Cold War Context

Between the Opening of the Iron Curtain and a New Nation-Building Process in Eastern Europe

Arnold Suppan

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The opening of the Iron Curtain did not happen in a day. The first experience for the Viennese population came already in mid-December 1988 when tens of thousands of Hungarians with new passports flooded the main streets in the Austrian capital to buy Christmas gifts. Even though one could cross the city faster by foot than by car, the mood shared by Austrians and Hungarians was excellent. Later, the Austrians enthusiastically greeted the symbolic opening of the Iron Curtain by the Foreign Ministers Alois Mock and Gyula Horn in June 1989. On 19 August 1989, when the Pan European Union of Otto von Habsburg organized a cross-border picnic in the west of Sopron and hundreds of German Democratic Republic (GDR) citizens on holiday in Hungary used the opportunity to flee to the West, many residents of the Burgenland applauded. After midnight on September 11, 1989, Austrians welcomed tens of thousands of GDR citizens in their Trabi cars crossing into Austria with permission from the Hungar...

© innsbruck university press, 2013

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