The cutting of the border fence between Hungary and Austria in June 1989 showed the division of post-war Europe was coming to an end, and heralded the region’s evolution
On 27 June 1989, the then foreign ministers of Hungary, Gyula Horn, and Austria, Alois Mock, cut through a section of the barbed wire that had divided their countries for decades. This symbolic act marked the beginning of the end for communist governments in central and eastern Europe.
Hungary had started dismantling border fortifications with Austria in early May 1989, but when pictures of the cutting were published around the world thousands of East Germans were inspired to leave their country and head to Hungary in the hope of travelling to the west. After allowing some to leave for West Germany via Austria in August, Hungary finally decided to let all East Germans out from 11 September 1989. Within two months, the Berlin Wall had fallen (9 November) and Germany’s reunification was formalised in October 1990.