Prague, Cracow, Budapest, Zagreb, and Vienna have a common history as urban centers in the former Habsburg empire. But the collapse of the empire in 1918 seemingly destroyed many bonds of Austro-Hungarian commonality. The trend accelerated especially after 1945 when the small republic of Austria became a Western democracy, and the other successor states became part of the Communist world. In 1989 the Iron Curtain came down, the walls crumbled, and Central and Eastern Europe became-in a certain wayreunited, especially with the prospect of Westernization in the former Communist countries. The unity remains problematic, however, because with the exception of Austria, the region consists of struggling new democracies and comparatively weak economies.