As a result of the Second World War, the Western powers and the so-called Eastern Bloc faced each other in the "bipolar world" for decades, trying to push back the influence of the other camp with political, economic, technical and military means. On the map of the Cold War, Austria cut a deep swathe into the Eastern Bloc. Politically and militarily neutral since 1955, the country in the "heart of Europe" with over 1100 kilometres of common border with neighbouring communist states was an outpost and "shop window" for the Western world.
Due to this geopolitical position, Austria was at the crossroads of the East-West confrontation. It was thus directly affected by crises in the Eastern Bloc such as the suppression of the Hungarian uprising in 1956 or the suppression of the "Prague Spring" in 1968. But it also favoured the further development of a neutral policy in the Cold War: as an icebreaker and "bridge builder" between East and West and as an international meeting place.
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