So I watch this show called, "European Journal" from time to time. It's the English language version of Deutche Welle. Mostly, it is filled with cheer-leading for the EU. It has interesting human interest stories from various member states. The spin is almost always positive with regard to the EU etc. This time, it was a story about the "pan European picnic" on the Hungarian-Austrian border in 1989. This was the event that evolved into the mass exodus of East Germans to the West that in turn lead to the fall of the Berlin Wall and collapse of the Warsaw Pact and East European communism. Part of the story was an interview with a retired Hungarian Lt. Colonel who was in charge of the border post where the Germans crossed into Austria.
Monday, August 24, 2009
He said that he had six men with him and was confronted with a large crowd of Germans who just came on and crossed the border. (He spoke fluent German so I suspect he was from the border region himself). He also said that the Hungarian border patrol was so underfunded at the time that they had to buy the spare parts for their fence and observation equipment from France - at high prices. The Soviets had long since stopped making the stuff they needed. At the same time, relations with Austria had long been improving. So this Lt. Colonel simply told his men to stand down and let the Germans go. Hungary has since given him a medal for that.
I don't know what my point is with post about this story. It's just an interesting story. I suppose I think its funny that with all the fear mongering about the Soviets and Reagan posturing about "Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall" etc. it had already fallen down in large sections. The Iron Curtain had rusted away. East Germany couldn't easily restrict travel from E. Germany to Hungary. But Hungary had largely given up on maintaining its section of the Iron Curtain. I just find the whole thing interesting.
Posted by Raised By Republicans at 6:41 PM