1945-1955 1969-1990

Austria independent again, 1955-1969

Foreign Policy : The Staatsvertrag of 1955 finally brought Austrian independence, tied with the obligation to stay neutral (a statement the USSR interpreted as a guarantee for Austria not to unify with Germany). In 1955, Austria joined the United Natiions, in 1956 the Council of Europe.
Austria sensed that Italy did not live up to her obligations regarding respecting the autonomy of the German-speaking population of South Tyrol. Many South Tyroleans refused to send their children to Italian schools and sent them to be schooled in Austria. The necessity for a political solution was felt in 1957; in 1961 disgruntled Tyroleans committed the first acts of terrorism against objects representing Italian rule over the area. The issue became a burden on Austrian-Italian relations.
In 1958, Austrian relations with the Vatican were normalized (90 % of the Austrian population is Catholic).

Domestic Policy : Elections in 1956 resulted only in minor changes in Austria's parliament; the ÖVP consolidated her position as strongest party.
In the early 1960es, the situation in Austria's universities became an issue; for the last decades the universities had been neglected. In recent years, the number of students, as compared to earlier years, had increased; yet the facilities were outdated and insufficient. This situation was to spark the Students Movement, in Austria as well as in other European countries. The students soon began to criticize issues outside of university - the Nazi past of many Austrians, consumerism a society discriminating against women etc.
The elections of 1959 brought slight losses for the ÖVP, which barely defended her position as Austria's strongest party. In 1966 the coalition of SPÖ and ÖVP was ended and succeeded by an ÖVP-lead coalition with the FPÖ (the liberals).

The Economy : In the Staatsvertrag, Austria obliged herself to pay 150 million US $ to the USSR over a number of years - as compensation for "German" property in Austria claimed by the USSR. Austria's economy continued to grow, the standard of living improved; unemployment figures declined. The numbers of foreign visitors increased; tourism became a major industry. Austria attracted foreign migrant workers, from Italy, Yugoslavia and elsewhere. In 1960 Austria joined EFTA and acquired associated status with the EEC (full membership was not possible because of her neutral status). Austria subsidized her farmers, in order to keep the food prices low and to adjust farmers' incomes to those of industrial workers. In the 1960es, these subsidies had grown to make up a substantial sum, and the necessity was felt to curb the subventions.

List of Austrian Presidents etc., from World Statesmen
Historical Population Statistics : Austria, from Population Statistics, at Univ. Utrecht
Library of Congress, Country Studies : Austria
Staatsvertrag, from aeiou
Austria, in : Kenneth Janda, Political Parties : A Cross-National Survey
DOCUMENTS Primary Sources of 20th century Austrian History , from Zeitgeschichte Information System : Die Grosse Koalition 1945-1966 (The Grand Coalition 1945-1966) : Arbeitsübereinkommen Gorbach/Probst (1962)
Constitutional Law on the Neutrality of Austria, 1955, from ICL Univ. Würzburg
Wien im Rückblick (Vienna in Retrospect), summaries of events 1945-1961 on a day-by-day basis, from Wiens Web Service : 1955, in German, secondary sources, based on sources from Vienna City Hall's Archive
REFERENCE Hellmut Andics, Die Insel der Seligen (The Island of the Holy), Wien )1968) : Goldmann 1980, in German [G]
Chapter 13 : Austria Felix, pp.178-190 in : John Gunther, Inside Europe Today, NY : Harper & Bros. 1961 [G]
Article Austria, in : Britannica Book of the Year 1956 pp.74-75 (on events in 1955) [G]
Article Austria, in : Britannica Book of the Year 1957 pp.134-135, 1958 pp.75-76, 1959 pp.77-78, 1960 pp.76-77, 1961 pp.78-79, 1962 pp.62-63, 1963 p.182, 1964 pp.163-164, 1965 pp.166-167, 1966 pp.120-121, 1967 pp.133-134, 1968 pp.129-130, 1969 pp.131-132 [G]
Article : Austria, in : Americana Annual 1957 pp.68-71, 1961 pp.67-69, 1962 pp.66-68, 1963 pp.79-81, 1964 pp.80-81, 1965 p.110, 1967 pp.101-102, 1968 pp.96-97, 1969 p.114 [G]
Article : Austria, in : Funk & Wagnall's New Standard Encyclopedia Year Book 1961 pp.33-34 [G]

This page is part of World History at KMLA
First posted in 2000, last revised on September 28th 2007

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