By Steve Kovacs (Introduction by Chuck Gibson)

LOVELAND, OH (November 9, 2023) – Today’s edition of Fun with Maps reminds us of an iconic moment in the history of a free world.

Iron Curtain Lifted

Many countries in Central Europe (Eastern Europe in the US) became satellites of the Soviet Union after World War II – Hungary, Poland, Bulgaria, Romania, Czechoslovakia, Yugoslavia, Albania and of course East Germany.  This wasn’t a choice.

The revolts in Hungary and Czechoslovakia in the 1950s and 1960s were crushed.

Then on August 19, 1989 Hungary opened up its border to Austria, allowing East German tourist to leave without questions asked – their destination was West Germany.  This was the first significant blow to Soviet domination of the region.

A chain reaction followed and then the iconic Berlin War fell, literally, on November 9, 1989.

Soon after the two Germany’s united, the satellite states held free elections and separated themselves for the Soviet Union.  And, the Soviet Union dissolved. 

This is a topographical map of Hungary from the 1960s.  Most of the East German tourists mentioned were vacationing at Lake Balaton in western Hungary.   

Topographical Hungary – 1960’s (Credit Steve Kovacs)

Steve Kovacs and his wife Theresa reside in Loveland, Ohio where they raised their two children. He is a passionate collector of antique maps.

Visit his antique map boutique world-on-paper online. Watch for his daily feature Steve Kovacs: Fun with Maps here on Loveland Beacon.