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CWIHP Working Paper 86

Austria, German Unification, and European Integration: A Brief Historical Background

Michael Gehler and Maximilian Graf
March 2018

In order to understand Austria’s role in the dissolution of the German Democratic Republic (GDR) and the country’s position toward German Unification, one needs to analyze the events of 1989-1990 against a broader historical background. On the one hand, this consists of long-term developments, such as Austria’s relationship to the two German states prior to 1989 and the increasing permeability of the Austrian-Hungarian border in the 1970s and 1980s. On the other hand, Vienna’s integration policy, which changed in 1987, should be taken into account. This Working Paper introduces this historical background and is structured into four parts. The first section examines Austria’s relations with East Germany from the 1970s and West Germany’s reactions to this process. The second section offers a concise overview of Austrian-Hungarian relations in the 1970s and 1980s, focusing on the gradual transformation of the border regime, its significance for the events at the Austrian-Hungarian border in 1989 and their contribution to the collapse of the East German regime. Third, the Working Paper then interprets Austrian attitudes and policies towards the GDR and the question of German Unification in the crucial months from November 1989 to January 1990. In the final section, the Working Paper highlights how the process of German Unification influenced Austria’s ambitions to join the European Communities (EC).[1]

Austrian-East German Relations

The founding document of the West German state, the Basic Law (Grundgesetz), made clear that the Bonn government regarded itself as the sole representative of all Germans. This position was later justified by the “Hallstein Doctrine,” which aimed to prevent diplomatic recognition of the GDR by other states. Austria adhered to this West German policy maxim and recognized the GDR only after the settlement of German-German relations in the Basic Treaty (Grundlagenvertrag) of 1972.[2] Thereafter, both Vienna and East Berlin sought to improve bilateral relations. Despite the specific situation resulting from the division of Germany, the GDR was incorporated into Austria’s Ostpolitik and Vienna started to act as a diplomatic “ice breaker” for the East German regime. In a short time, a good relationship developed that many Austrian politicians would have liked to maintain, even after the fall of the Berlin wall.[3] A first highlight was the signing of a Consular Treaty in 1975, which—to the displeasure of West Germany—explicitly recognized East German citizenship.[4] In 1978, Austrian Chancellor Bruno Kreisky became the first Western head of government to visit East Berlin.[5] In 1980, Erich Honecker paid his first state visit to the West, when he officially visited Vienna. Both visits constituted to the expansion of economic relations. Since Honecker’s visit took place at the early stages of the last peak of the Cold War, a time when German-German relations were also extremely tense, Austria’s dealings with East Germany caused severe dissatisfaction among West German leaders.

At this point, the development of Austrian-East German economic relations had already overtaken political relations in terms of intensity. The concept of “large-scale orders in return for loans” was the main reason for the expanding economic ties. Austria provided loans to the GDR and, in return, its nationalized industries received large-scale orders from the GDR. Since 20 percent of the GDR’s national debt (in convertible currencies) consisted of Austrian loans, one can imagine how important they were for keeping the GDR solvent. In 1982, they were even decisive as East Germany struggled to avoid bankruptcy. One of the results of this Austrian help was the subsequent conclusion of annual economic agreements that fostered Austrian exports and contributed to jobs in Austria’s nationalized industries. In economic terms, Vienna and East Berlin became “partners” during the 1980s.[6]

Not least due to the diversification of the international relations of the GDR and the intensification of German-German diplomatic, economic, and political relations in the 1980s, Austria’s role gradually waned in importance. Nevertheless, intense reciprocal top-level visits by politicians continued. Economic relations declined in the mid-1980s, but recovered by the end of the decade when the crumbling GDR imported huge amounts of electricity from Austria. However, the overall level of the Austrian-East German relationship failed to reach the quality of Austria’s relations to Hungary. Various forms of cooperation and human contacts remained on a very low level, mutual tourism and the possibility to travel abroad hardly existed. Hence, cooperation and exchange going beyond the fields of diplomacy, politics, and economics achieved only modest results. Still, in 1989 the East German regime imported Austrian consumer goods worth a billion Austrian shillings—intended as “election sweeteners” in the run-up to the communal “elections” in May. After public protests against the fraudulent results of the “elections” arose, Austria noticed that the time was ripe for a change in the East German leadership, yet this was only expected to take place at the next SED Party Congress, at that time scheduled for May 1990. For years, Austrian diplomats had claimed that the GDR was stable, but as economic problems became more and more apparent, their assessments changed.[7] As Poland and Hungary began to transform, the Austrian Foreign Ministry concluded: “Generally, the GDR is facing the problem that political reforms tend to jeopardize the nation-state identity.”[8] Further protests followed the regime’s approval of the massacre in Tiananmen Square in Beijing on 4 June 1989. Additionally, the number of people demanding their right to permanently leave the GDR grew constantly, not the least due to the provisions of the final document of the Vienna CSCE follow-up meeting concluded in January 1989.[9] This flow of people from the GDR increased, with more and more individuals heading to the Austrian-Hungarian border. The effects of the dismantling of the “Iron Curtain” in the spring of 1989, and finally the opening of the Austrian-Hungarian border in September 1989 are well known, but hitherto they have been explained imperfectly without taking the long-term developments of the bilateral Austrian-Hungarian theatre into account.

Austria, the Hungarian Border, and the Dissolution of East Germany

From the mid-1960s onwards, the troubled Austrian-Hungarian Cold War relationship gradually turned into a “masterpiece of European détente.” The main obstacle to this process was the common border at the “Iron Curtain.” Hence, the Hungarian leadership—in its search for a rapprochement with the West in general—decided on a gradual softening of the border regime. Even though the border remained “iron,” the area was demined by 1971. Regional cooperation in the fields of culture, sports, and science grew constantly and Austria continuously strove to make the common border more permeable. By the beginning of the 1970s, mutual visits had increased by leaps and bounds. Austria also acted as a diplomatic “ice breaker” for Hungary. Most strikingly, in 1976 Austria became the first Western country to officially receive the Hungarian party leader, János Kádár. Due to these close relations and new Austrian loans, in 1979 even a treaty on the abolition of mutual visa requirements went into effect. This was an unusual step by neighbors with an immediate border on both sides of the “Iron Curtain” and led to a significant increase in East-West tourism.

Since the early 1970s, the East German Foreign Office was alarmed by the example of the Austrian-Hungarian border, believing it could be held as a role model for the settlement of the German-German border by the West. Not surprisingly East German officials largely ignored any West German mentioning of the Austrian-Hungarian example as an example for German-German relations. When the Austrian-Hungarian treaty on the abolition of visa requirements went into effect in 1979, East Berlin kept a close eye on how travel between Austria and Hungary developed. After some time, the Hungarians frankly informed the East Germans: “In many cases the citizens of the Socialist countries are causing more problems than the Austrians.” Statements like this were everything but appeasing for the distrustful GDR, however it took ten more years for the worst East German nightmares to come true.[10]

The already close relations between Austria and Hungary continued to intensify and diversify in the 1980s. Due to the constant Austrian insistence on local border traffic in 1987, it appeared on the agenda of the Hungarian Politburo. After an intense discussion, the Politburo removed local border traffic from its agenda, but it decided that in the future the frequency of trips to the West should not be regulated by the Hungarian state. The effects of the new travel regime were immense: by 1988, millions of Hungarians crossed the border in order to shop in the West. Now the “Iron Curtain” ultimately was outdated and after the change in the Hungarian leadership in 1988, it quickly disappeared. For his first official visit to a foreign country, the new Hungarian Prime Minister, Miklós Németh, travelled to Austria in February 1989 where he announced that the border security system would be removed. In May of the same year, the dismantling of the “Iron Curtain” began.[11] The staged cutting of the fence by Foreign Minister Alois Mock and his Hungarian counterpart, Gyula Horn on 27 June 1989 (which interestingly enough was Austria’s idea) popularized this process.[12] It immediately encouraged increasing numbers of East Germans to use this apparent gap in the “Iron Curtain” to flee to the West. Without the quality of the Austrian-Hungarian relations, which had been reached in the two decades before, such a situation would have been impossible. Even the Pan-European picnic on 19 August 1989, which saw the mass-flight of more than 600 East Germans, was an initiative that originated from the new border-crossing possibilities between Austria and Hungary.

The rest of the story is well known: throughout the summer months, West German embassies were filled with East Germans not willing to return to the GDR. Since the number of GDR citizens trying to escape via Hungary constantly increased, the Hungarian government decided to open the borders for all East German citizens on 11 September 1989. Budapest’s decision was closely coordinated first with Bonn, and second with Austria. Within the following few weeks, about 50,000 East German citizens used Austria as their transit country on the way to West Germany. The opening of the border significantly contributed to the loss of power of the East German regime.[13]

Austria and German Unification (November 1989–October 1990)

In case of Austria, this, however, was an unintended consequence. After the opening of the Austrian-Hungarian border in September 1989 and even after the fall of the Berlin Wall, both Austria and the GDR aimed to keep their good relations alive. Many Austrian politicians, economists, intellectuals, and journalists were highly skeptical of a possible German “reunification;” the latter two not least due to dark chapters of shared Austrian and German history, most notable the “Anschluss” in 1938. However, these debates remain subject to future research.[14] Immediately after the opening of the Austrian-Hungarian border, Austrian Chancellor Franz Vranitzky sought to meet privately with Honecker, but due to the accelerating developments, he abstained from doing so.[15] In September 1989, almost all Austrian diplomats failed to predict that German “reunification” would soon be on the agenda.[16] The ousting of Honecker and his old guard in October was perceived as “a step to save the GDR from total decay.” In the same breath, many argued that in the future the East German state could become “an even more important partner for Austria.”

Those hopes did not decline even when it became obvious that demonstrations and popular unrest were on the rise. The new short-lived regime of Egon Krenz and the “Wende” he had announced were increasingly named “opportunistic” in the reports by the Austrian embassy in East Berlin. At the same time, Austrian diplomats did not expect that the current opposition would be able to play a lasting political role.[17]

Austrian politicians and media welcomed the fall of the Berlin Wall on 9 November 1989, immediately followed by a sorrowful discussion about a possible German “reunification.” In principle, Austria officially recognized the right of self-determination for the East Germans and the Austrian Foreign Ministry communicated this stance to the country’s diplomatic representations all over the world the day after the wall came down.[18] Foreign Minister Mock confirmed his positive attitude in various public statements.[19] The position of Chancellor Vranitzky was more reluctant. As early as 24 November 1989, he paid an official visit to the GDR, which contributed to the international recognition of the new regime led by Prime Minister Hans Modrow. In the midst of the final days of Cold War Europe, Austria once again had become a diplomatic “ice breaker” for an East German regime. Still, we cannot definitely judge Vranitzky’s motivations for this step. Among them—and probably the strongest—was the desired continuation of the profitable economic relations and the conclusion of yet another annual agreement. We now know that the Austrian Chancellor visited the GDR on a short-call request by Modrow, one initiated by the long-term architect of Austrian-East German relations Minister of Foreign Trade Gerhard Beil. Only recently, Vranitzky claimed in an interview that he had agreed on the visit only after a telephone conversation with Helmut Kohl, who encouraged him to travel to East Berlin. Recently, Horst Teltschik remarked that the visit by the Austrian Chancellor was “not very helpful” for the West German plans of dealing with the GDR.[20] Regardless, while preparing for the visit, East German state security analyzed the Austrian position towards the question of “reunification” in every detail and in a razor-sharp manner detected the different attitudes of Mock and Vranitzky.[21] In his conversation with Modrow, the Austrian Chancellor stated that Austria, on one hand, regarded German unification “primarily as a decision that has to be made by the German states and would also respect this decision. On the other hand, one needs to take the pan-European context into consideration, and in this sense, the decisions of the CSCE on the stability of Europe as well.”[22] With the future of the GDR being everything but certain Vranitzky moved on in further developing the bilateral relationship.

Austrian diplomacy perceived the reactions of the victorious powers of World War II and other European states as reluctant and in many cases as opposing unification.[23] With the announcement of the Ten Point Plan by Chancellor Kohl on 28 November and especially during his visit to Dresden on 19 December 1989, it became obvious that German unification was gathering speed. While Mock unconditionally supported the politics of his Christian democrat colleague, statements by the Austrian Socialists remained skeptical or even sorrowful. At that time, the international discussion on the German question was highly controversial and the outcome seemed uncertain. Against this background and in spite of the domestic situation in East Germany, Modrow pressed for a return visit to Austria as soon as possible. Not the least due to several statements by Austrian diplomats and especially representatives of the Austrian economy who claimed to be in favor of the GDR’s continued existence, East Berlin was convinced that Austria was “against [a] swift unification.” Despite its (sometimes) ambiguous statements about the future of the GDR, Austrian diplomats were aware of the troubled situation the East German state had to face: the people had no confidence in the current leadership, the round-table negotiations seemed to lead nowhere, and an overthrow of the Modrow regime seemed possible.[24]

On 26 January 1990, Modrow was welcomed for his much desired reciprocal visit to Austria. On this occasion, further economic contracts were signed and both sides agreed to suspend travel restrictions. In his conversation with the East German Prime Minister, Vranitzky still stated that Austria aimed to independently develop its relations with the GDR and thereby contribute to the democratization process. On German unification, he said: “If the Germans were to opt for a unification of the two states, one must respect that. Austria is however interested in a general framework, which does not bring Europe into danger and does not destroy the existing balance. A too rapid sequence of events, however, would pose such a risk. Everything must be assessed under European aspects.”[25]

The conversation of Foreign Minister Mock with his East German counterpart, Oskar Fischer, on the same day was of remarkably different tone. Some days before travelling to Vienna, Fischer had learned from a conversation with Soviet Foreign Minister Eduard Shevardnadze that Mikhail Gorbachev agreed with German unification in principle.[26] Hence, Fischer stated “that it would come to unification; it must be embedded in the overcoming of European division.”[27] Mock was probably the first Western Foreign Minister who was informed about the changing Soviet position in such a straightforward manner. Of further consequence, Moscow’s consent to German unification was primarily dependent on the question of NATO membership for a united Germany and the German (financial) reward. Against the changing international background and with the results of the East German elections in March 1990, understood as a plebiscite for German Unification, the Austrian position became rather obsolete.[28] Hence, discussing the Austrian diplomatic perceptions of the Two Plus Four-process or other matters in detail would not make sense in this context.[29] Nevertheless, the final months of the Austrian-East German relationship consisted of remarkable episodes like the financial relations of the Austrian and East German communists or the visit of yet another East German Prime Minister, Lothar de Maizière, to Austria in July 1990.[30] Instead of discussing this swansong of Austrian-East German relations, it is important to provide some remarks on how German unification affected Austria’s ambitions to join the European Community.

Conclusion: Austria and European Integration against the background of German Unification

Within the context of the domestic developments in the GDR and the changing international climate, Vranitzky gradually modified his attitude and finally warmly welcomed German unification, since it was obvious that Austria would need the support of united Germany to become a member of the EC.[31] How those processes interacted after 1990 will be subject to further archival research. As our project revealed, the interconnections were manifest right after the fall of the wall.

When the Great Coalition of Conservatives and Socialists returned to power in 1987, Austrian policy shifted again in the direction of greater emphasis on European integration. Austria now sought full membership in the EC. This was as a result of changes in the EC’s Single European Act (SEA), its Internal Market program, and the receding Cold War, as well as domestic pressures arising from an escalating crisis in the nationalized industries. What really drove Austria’s policy of support for integration in 1989 and the following years was, as before in the 1950s and 1960s, the threat of exclusion. The policy change was not, however, ad hoc, but took place in a period of transition. What followed was a further attempt to “go-it-alone” with the application for accession to the EC on 17 July 1989. The Austrian application was largely met with noncommittal sympathy, but no concrete roadmap existed yet.[32] After having promoted the idea of “Mitteleuropa” (Central Europe) for years, against the background of the revolutions of 1989 and with regard to European integration, Vienna wished not to be seen as part of East-Central Europe, but—in spite of being neutral—as an integral part of the West. [33]

When a close relationship between the GDR and the EC was discussed after the fall of the Wall, Austrian diplomats followed these developments with suspicion. The events and processes that led to German unification soon overtook any considerations in this direction. By April 1990 in the course of high-level diplomatic negotiations Bonn showed its confidence in Austria’s position toward German Unification, assured the Austrians of German support for the country’s EC ambitions, but in the same breath suggested that at the moment a pushy attitude would be inappropriate.[34] Unified Germany almost unconditionally supported Austria’s sometimes stony negotiations for EC-membership in 1993-1994. One of the staunchest opponents was France. It is reported that Mitterrand accepted in the end what, in his view, was yet another German country joining the European Union.[35] When Vranitzky visited France, Great Britain and Ireland in May 1990 as part of a promotion tour for the Austrian EC-application, he met first with Mitterrand and the next day with Margaret Thatcher. While French-West German disagreements over German unification had been already overcome and the conversation between Vranitzky and Mitterrand focused solely on European integration, Thatcher touched the German question. [36] The Prime Minister and the Austrian Chancellor agreed that the West German leadership, especially with regard to economics, underestimated the tasks at issue in a unified Germany. Both had kept a certain (in this regard, justified) skepticism.[37]

After 1989-1990, with the end of the East-West conflict and after Mikhail Gorbachev had given up Soviet opposition to Austria’s ambitions for EC membership, the opportunity to attain full membership presented itself. From 1991-1994, the Austrian government began to support integration to a far greater degree, playing down the importance of neutrality. An intensified supranational integration policy followed with entry into the EU, with a conscious effective discarding of neutrality after 1995. Participation in the European Economic Area (EEA) during 1992-1994 served as a springboard for raising the quality of integration. From 1989-1995, the way to Brussels was through Paris and Rome, however. After the spectre of the “Anschluss” turned out to no longer be an insurmountable obstacle and the formal declaration by Italy and Austria of the end of the dispute in South Tyrol, the EC door was pushed open and entry became a real possibility. Germany, a traditional promoter of Austrian interests regarding integration, added weight to the application with the support of Chancellor Helmut Kohl—this time successfully, in contrast to the 1950s and 1960s. The Austrian aims were not met with enthusiasm in Brussels, however. The EU member states set on deepening integration, as well as Commission President Jacques Delors, had one problem more with Austria, a “special case” and neutral, as they were preparing the massive changes to the Maastricht Treaty including economic and monetary union reforms. In the end, partially due to changes within the EC itself, it took several more years to negotiate the agreement with the EC. After an overwhelmingly positive plebiscite in 1994, Austria finally joined the European Union in 1995.[38]

Document Appendix
Twenty documents are accessible on the Wilson Center’s Digital Archive in the collection “Austria and German Unification.”

Michael Gehler is Professor at the University of Hildesheim, Institute for History, and Corresponding Member, History Commission of the Austrian Academy of Science for Abroad. Previously he has served as Director of the Institute of Modern and Contemporary Historical Research of the Austrian Academy of Science (ÖAW), Vienna, and Elected Director of the Historical Commission of the Austrian Academy of Science (ÖAW), Vienna. He is interested in the history of Empires; Austrian, German and European Modern History; International Relations with special reference to Cold War; German Unification; European Integration; Transnational Party Cooperation of Christian Democrats and Conservatives in Europe; and South Tyrol Question

Maximilian Graf is currently research associate at the European University Institute in Florence (2017–2019). Previously he held several positions at the Austrian Academy of Sciences and the University of Vienna. In November–December 2013, he was chercheur associée at the Centre Marc Bloch in Berlin. From April–June 2017, he was a Visiting Scholar at the Stanford University. He has been awarded the Karl von Vogelsang Prize – Austrian State Prize for the History of Social Sciences (2014), the Dr.-Alois-Mock-Wissenschaftspreis (2015), and the best publication award of the Austrian Academy of Sciences (2017). Graf’s most recent publications include his first book on Austrian–East German relations during the Cold War Österreich und die DDR 1949–1990. Politik und Wirtschaft im Schatten der deutschen Teilung (Vienna: ÖAW, 2016); the co-edited volumes Franz Marek. Beruf und Berufung Kommunist. Lebenserinnerungen und Schlüsseltexte (Vienna: Mandelbaum, 2017); Österreich im Kalten Krieg. Neue Forschungen im internationalen Kontext (Göttingen: V&R unipress, 2016); Orient & Okzident. Begegnungen und Wahrnehmungen aus fünf Jahrhunderten (Vienna: Neue Welt Verlag 2016, 2017); Europa und die deutsche Einheit. Beobachtungen, Entscheidungen und Folgen (Göttingen: Vandenhoeck &Ruprecht, 2017); and numerous journal articles and book chapters on Austria in the Cold War and the history of communism. Currently, Graf is working on a book with the working title Overcoming the Iron Curtain. A New History of Détente in Cold War Central Europe.Overcoming the Iron Curtain. A New History of Détente in Cold War Central Europe.

[1] This Working Paper is one of the results of the project “Edition of Documents: Austria and the German Question 1987-1990,” funded by the Austrian Science Fund (FWF), project-no. P 26439-G15. For the edition, see Michael Gehler/ Maximilian Graf (eds.), Österreich und die deutsche Frage 1987–1990. Vom Honecker-Besuch zur Einheit (forthcoming Göttingen: Vandenhoeck&Ruprecht, 2018).

For the current state of research on Austria and German Unification, see Michael Gehler, “Eine Außenpolitik der Anpassung an veränderte Verhältnisse: Österreich und die Vereinigung Bundesrepublik Deutschland-DDR 1989/90,” in idem/Ingrid Böhler (eds.), Verschiedene europäische Wege im Vergleich. Österreich und die Bundesrepublik Deutschland 1945/49 bis zur Gegenwart. Festschrift für Rolf Steininger zum 65. Geburtstag (Innsbruck: StudienVerlag, 2007), p. 493–530; idem, “Österreich, die DDR und die Einheit Deutschlands 1989/1990,” in Zeitschrift für Geschichtswissenschaft 57 (2009) 5, p. 427–452; Maximilian Graf, “Österreich und das ‘Verschwinden’ der DDR. Ostdeutsche Perzeptionen im Kontext der Langzeitentwicklungen,” in Andrea Brait/Michael Gehler (eds.), Grenzöffnung 1989: Innen- und Außenperspektiven und die Folgen für Österreich (Schriftenreihe des Forschungsinstitutes für Politisch-Historische Studien der Dr.-Wilfried-Haslauer-Bibliothek 49) (Vienna: Böhlau, 2014), p. 221–242; idem, “Österreich und die deutsche Einheit,” in Wolfgang Mueller (ed.), 1989. Die Samtenen Revolutionen, Österreich und die Transformation in Europa (Vienna: new academic press, 2017), 131–159; Andrea Brait, “‘Österreich hat weder gegen die deutsche Wiedervereinigung agitiert, noch haben wir sie besonders begrüßt’. Österreichische Reaktionen auf die Bemühungen um die deutsche Einheit,” in Deutschland Archiv 2014, Bonn, p. 82–102; and most recently the chapters by Andrea Brait, Michael Gehler, Maximilian Graf, Philipp Greilinger and Sarah Knoll in Michael Gehler/Maximilian Graf (eds.), Europa und die deutsche Einheit. Beobachtungen, Entscheidungen und Folgen (Göttingen: Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, 2017).

[2] On Austrian-East German relations 1949–1972, see Maximilian Graf, “Austria and the GDR 1949–1972. Diplomatic and Political Contacts in the Period of Non-recognition,” in From the Austrian Empire to Communist East Central Europe, ed. Arnold Suppan and Maximilian Graf (Vienna: Lit, 2010), p. 151–177; Rolf Pfeiffer, Die DDR und Österreich 1949–1972. Beziehungen in den Jahren offizieller Beziehungslosigkeit (Aachen: Shaker Verlag, 2015). On Austrian–West German relations, see Matthias Pape, Ungleiche Brüder. Österreich und Deutschland 1945–1965 (Cologne, Böhlau, 2000); Rolf Pfeiffer, Eine schwierige und konfliktreiche Nachbarschaft – Österreich und das Deutschland Adenauers 1953–1963 (Munster: Lit 2003); Ingrid Böhler/Michael Gehler (eds.), Verschiedene europäische Wege im Vergleich. Österreich und die Bundesrepublik Deutschland 1945/49 bis zur Gegenwart (Innsbruck: StudienVerlag, 2007); Michael Gehler/Rudolf Agstner (eds.), Einheit und Teilung. Österreich und die Deutschlandfrage 1945–1960. Festgabe für Rolf Steininger zum 70. Geburtstag (Innsbruck: StudienVerlag, 2013).

[3] On Austrian–East German relations in general, see Maximilian Graf, “Ein verdrängtes bilaterales Verhältnis: Österreich und die DDR 1949–1989/90,” in Zeitgeschichte 39 (2012) 2, p. 75–97; idem, Österreich und die DDR 1949–1990. Politik und Wirtschaft im Schatten der deutschen Teilung (Vienna: ÖAW, 2016).

[4] Enrico Seewald, “Die Aufnahme der diplomatischen Beziehungen zwischen der DDR und Österreich,” in Jochen Staadt (ed.), Schwierige Dreierbeziehung. Österreich und die beiden deutschen Staaten (Studien des Forschungsverbundes SED-Staat an der Freien Universität Berlin) (Francfort: Peter Lang, 2013), p. 81–135, here p. 102–118.

[5] Friedrich Bauer/Enrico Seewald, Bruno Kreisky in Ost-Berlin. Ein Besuch der besonderen Art, (Innsbruck: StudienVerlag, 2011).

[6] Cf. Graf, Österreich und die DDR 1949–1990, p. 497–528.

[7] Maximilian Graf, “Österreich und das ‘Verschwinden’ der DDR. Ostdeutsche Perzeptionen im Kontext der Langzeitentwicklungen,” p. 222–223.

[8] See Document #1.

[9] For a contemporaneous analysis, see Stefan Lehne, The Vienna Meeting of the Conference on Security and Cooperation in Europe, 1986–1989. A Turning Point in East-West Relations, (Boulder: Westview Press, 1991). For the effects on the GDR, see Walter Süß, “Die Wiener KSZE-Folgekonferenz und der Handlungsspielraum des DDR-Sicherheitsapparates 1989,” in Matthias Peter/Hermann Wentker (eds.), Die KSZE im Ost-West-Konflikt. Internationale Politik und gesellschaftliche Transformation 1975–1990 (Munich: Oldenbourg, 2012), p. 219–231; Erhard Crome/Jochen Franzke, “Die SED-Führung und die Wiener KSZE-Konferenz 1986 bis 1989. Dokumente aus dem Parteiarchiv,” in Deutschland Archiv 26 (1993) 8, p. 905–914.

[10] Maximilian Graf, “Ein Musterbeispiel der europäischen Entspannung? Die österreichisch–ungarischen Beziehungen von 1964 bis 1989,” in Csaba Szabó (ed.), Österreich und Ungarn im 20. Jahrhundert (Vienna: Collegium Hungaricum, 2014), p. 261–280; Tamás Baranyi/Maximilian Graf/Melinda Krajczar/Isabella Lehner, “A Masterpiece of European Détente? Austrian–Hungarian Relations from 1964 until the Peaceful End of the Cold War,” in Zeitgeschichte 41 (2014) 5, p. 311–338. For the best accounts on AustrianHungarian relations from 1945–1964, see Andreas Gémes, “Austrian–Hungarian Relations, 1945–1989,” in Peaceful Coexistence or Iron Curtain? Austria, Neutrality, and Eastern Europe in the Cold War and Détente, 1955–1989(= Europa Orientalis 7), ed. by Arnold Suppan and Wolfgang Mueller (Vienna: LIT, 2009), p. 310–336 (with no original research on the period after 1964).

[11] Michael Gehler, “Bonn – Budapest – Wien. Das deutsch-österreichisch-ungarische Zusammenspiel als Katalysator für die Erosion des SED-Regimes 1989/90,” in Andrea Brait/Michael Gehler (eds.) Grenzöffnung 1989: Innen- und Außenperspektiven und die Folgen für Österreich (Vienna: Böhlau, 2014), p. 135–162; Michael Gehler, “Austria, the Revolutions in Middle and Eastern Europe and German Unification 1989/90,” in Wolfgang Mueller/Michael Gehler/Arnold Suppan (eds.), The Revolutions of 1989: A Handbook (Vienna: ÖAW, 2015) p. 437–466; Andreas Oplatka, Der erste Riß in der Mauer. September 1989 – Ungarn öffnet die Grenze (Vienna: Zsolnay, 2009), p. 30–37; Maximilian Graf, “Die Welt blickt auf das Burgenland. 1989 – die Grenze wird zum Abbild der Veränderung,” in idem/Alexander Lass/Karlo Ruzicic-Kessler (eds.), Das Burgenland als internationale Grenzregion im 20. und 21. Jahrhundert (Vienna: Neue Welt Verlag, 2012), p. 135–179.

[12] See Document #2.

[13] Maximilian Graf, “The opening of the Austrian – Hungarian border revisited: How European détente contributed to overcoming the ‘Iron Curtain’,” in Bernhard Blumenau/Jussi M. Hanhimäki/Barbara Zanchetta (eds.), New Perspectives on the End of the Cold War. Unexpected Transformations? (London: Routledge, 2018), p. 138–158; Michael Gehler, Three Germanies. West Germany, East Germany and the Berlin Republic, (London: Reaktion Books Ltd., 2011), p. 198–200; Maximilian Graf, “Das Paneuropäische Picknick im Kontext. Wie Österreich zum Tor in die Freiheit werden konnte und welche Folgen dies hatte,” in Stefan Karner and Philipp Lesiak (eds.), Der erste Stein aus der Berliner Mauer. Das paneuropäische Picknick 1989 (forthcoming Innsbruck: StudienVerlag, 2018). On the refugees in the West German Embassies, see Katarzyna Stokłosa, “Die letzte Fluchtwelle aus der DDR im Jahr 1989. Aus den Berichten der westdeutschen Botschaften in Budapest, Prag und Warschau,” in Zeitschrift für Ostmitteleuropa-Forschung 64 (2015) 1, p. 40–80.

[14] Oliver Rathkolb/Georg Schmid/Gernot Heiß (eds.), Österreich und Deutschlands Größe. Ein schlampiges Verhältnis (Salzburg: Müller 1990); Gabriele Matzner-Holzner, Verfreundete Nachbarn. Österreich – Deutschland: ein Verhältnis, 2nd ed. (Vienna: Edition Atelier, 2005), p. 12, 22–23.

[15] Maximilian Graf, “Österreich und das ‘Verschwinden’ der DDR. Ostdeutsche Perzeptionen im Kontext der Langzeitentwicklungen,” p. 234–235.

[16] See Document #3. For one farsighted exception, see Document #4.

[17] Maximilian Graf, “Österreich und die deutsche Einheit,” in Wolfgang Mueller/Andrea Schnoller/Hannes Stekl (eds.), 1989: Die Samtenen Revolutionen, Osterreich und die Transformation Europas (forthcoming Vienna: New Academic Press 2017).

[18] See Document #6.

[19] Andrea Brait, “‘Österreich hat weder gegen die deutsche Wiedervereinigung agitiert, noch haben wir sie besonders begrüßt’. Österreichische Reaktionen auf die Bemühungen um die deutsche Einheit,”, p. 88, p. 91–92.

[20] Cf. Graf, Österreich und die DDR 1949–1990, 588–590. Interview with Dr. Hans Modrow by Michael Gehler, 21 November 2014, Berlin.

[21] See Document #7.

[22] See Document #8.

[23] See Document #9.

[24] Graf, “Österreich und die deutsche Einheit” (forthcoming 2017).

[25] See Document #11.

[26] Conversation Oskar Fischer–E. A. Shevardnadze, Moscow, 20 January 1990 (= Document 33), in Ines Lehmann, Die Außenpolitik der DDR 1989/90, (Baden-Baden: Nomos, 2010), p. 441–443.

[27] See Document #12.

[28] Gehler, Three Germanies, p. 217–219.

[29] See Document #13, Document #14, Document #18, and Document #19.

[30] Maximilian Graf, “Parteifinanzierung oder Devisenerwirtschaftung? Zu den Wirtschaftsbeziehungen von KPÖ und SED, 1946–1989,” in Jahrbuch für historische Kommunismusforschung (2014), 229–247; MMaximilian Graf, “Parteifinanzierung oder Devisenerwirtschaftung? Zu den Wirtschaftsbeziehungen von KPÖ und SED, 1946–1989,” in Jahrbuch für historische Kommuni

smusforschung (2014), 229–247; Anpassung an veränderte Verhältnisse,” p. 525.

[32] Michael Gehler, Österreichs Weg in die Europäische Union (Innsbruck: StudienVerlag, 2009), 102–106.

[33] On Austria’s Mitteleuropa politics, see Vladislav Marjanović, Die Mitteleuropa-Idee und die Mitteleuropapolitik Österreichs 1945–1995 (Francfort: Peter Lang, 1998). On the current state of research, see Michael Gehler/Paul Luif/Elisabeth Vyslonzil (eds.), Die Dimension Mitteleuropa in der Europäischen Union. Geschichte und Gegenwart (Hildesheim: Gregor Olms Verlag, 2015).

[34] See Document #15.

[35] Michael Gehler, Vom Marshall-Plan zur EU. Österreich und die europäische Integration von 1945 bis zur Gegenwart (Innsbruck: StudienVerlag, 2006), p. 195. On Vranitzky see idem “Paving Austria’s Way to Brussels: Chancellor Franz Vranitzky (1986–1997) – A Banker, Social Democrat, and Pragmatic European Leader,” in Journal of European Integration History 18 (2012) 2, p. 159–182.

[36] See Document #16. On the still disputed French attitude towards German Unification, see Maurice Vaïsse and Christian Wenkel (eds.), La diplomatie française face à l’unification allemande (Paris: Éditions Tallandier, 2011); Ulrich Lappenküper, Mitterand und Deutschland. Die enträtselte Sphinx (Munich: Oldebourg, 2011); Frédéric Bozo, Mitterrand, la diplomatie française et la fin de la guerre froide (Paris: Jacob, 2005); Tilo Schabert, Wie Weltgeschichte gemacht wird. Frankreich und die deutsche Einheit, (Stuttgart: Klett-Cotta, 2002).

[37] See Document #17. On Thatcher’s position toward German Unification, see Klaus-Rainer Jackisch, Eisern gegen die Einheit. Margaret Thatcher und die deutsche Wiedervereinigung (Francfort: Societätsverlag, 2004); Documents on British Policy Overseas (DBPO), Series III, Vol. VII: German Unification, 1989–1990, ed. by Keith Hamilton, Patrick Salmon and Stephen Twigge, (London: Routledge, 2010).

[38] For details, see Gehler, Österreichs Weg in die Europäische Union, p. 130–142.


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