What happened on September 11 1989 in Germany?

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Early in September 1989 about 15,000 people from the then German Democratic Republic (East Germany) had travelled to Hungary in the hope of being allowed to travel onwards, through Austria, to the Federal Repbulic of Germany (West Germany). (At the time it was very difficult for East Germans to get permission to travel to the West, but travel to other Eastern Bloc countries was much easier). The Hungarian government was embarrassed by the influx of refugees from East Germany and on 11 September 1989 it opened its border with Austria permanently, and amid much media publicity, the East Germans in Hungary travelled on to West Germany. In effect, the Hungarian government lifted (or breached) the Iron Curtain separating the Eastern Bloc from the rest of Europe. For East Germany and the other Soviet satellite states it was the beginning of the end. Before 1989 was over, all the East European dictators outside the Soviet Union had been overthrown.
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