2 May 2009

The 'iron curtain' started coming down

20 years ago today, Hungary announced the beginning of the removal of the border fence that separated it from Austria. This certainly didn´t mean that people from other Eastern European countries would be able to pass freely to its Western neighbour but more than anything else it is what catalysed tens of thousands of East Germans to go to Hungary for their summer holiday with the hope of reaching West Germany via Austria. Was it this mass wave of emigration that brought about the collapse of communism in East Germany, rather than the peaceful revolution? Or was there what the Marxists might call a "dialectical" relationship between the exit of emigration and the voice of protest? This issue is still highly debated among political scientists and historians - as well as those who themselves were part of these events ...


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