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Travel Guide 2   >   Europe   >   Austria   >   History

   
 

Austrian History


Austria can trace its history back to the dawn of civilization. In pre-Roman times, the country was occupied by various Celtic tribes including the Celtic kingdom of Noricum.

In Roman times, Noricum was annexed by the Romans and became a province of the Empire. In fact, most of what is now Austria (all parts to the South of the Danube River) were part of the Roman Empire.

When the Roman Empire collapsed in the 5th century, Austria was invaded by tribes of Bavarians, Avars and Slavs. Most of Austria was eventually conquered by the Charlemagne in 788, and eventually became part of Eastern Francia ("Francia Orientalis"), and was given to Leopold of Babenberg in 976.

The first reference to to the name "Österreich" comes from 996, where the term "Ostarrîchi" is used to refer to the Babenberg lands (also known as "marchia Orientalis").

Beginning in the 14th century, the Habsburgs began to gain more and more land around Austria. They also acquired more and more power in the Germany (which at that time fell within the Holy Roman Empire - after 1438, every single emperor but one, of the Holy Roman Empire, was a Habsburg). Eventually, through marriage, they also acquired Spain, Spanish lands in Italy, Belgium, the Netherlands, and the New World. Additionally, their victories over the Ottoman Turks in 1526 at the Battle of Mohacs, and again in 1683 at the siege of Vienna, eventually brought Hungary and Bohemia (the area that is today the Czech Republic) under Habsburg control.

By the 18th century however, things had begun to change. The last Spanish Habsburg, Charles II, died childless in 1700, and rule of Spain passed to the Bourbon, Philippe of Anjou (King Philip V of Spain). Moreover, following the War of Austrian Succession (1740 to 1748), Prussia began to first match, and eventually displace, the Habsburg Empire as the dominant power in German affairs.

In 1804 the Austrian Empire (German: Kaisertum Österreich) was formed by Holy Roman emperor Francis II (who became Austrian emperor Franz I), although the Holy Roman Empire itself came to an end in 1806 as a result of the Napoleonic Wars. Despite many defeats at the hands of the French during the Napoleonic Wars, the Austrian Empire eventually emerged on the winning side, and played an important part in that victory, and ended up, together with Prussia, being a leading member of the German Confederation.

In 1864, Prussia and Austria cooperated in a war against Denmark in order to free the Dutchies of Schleswig and Holstein from the Danish Crown. However, following the war, the two countries could not agree on how these provinces hould be administered, and the Prussian-Austrian War of 1866 was a result. As a result of its defeat in this war, Austria had to leave the German Confederation, and end its participation in German politics.

In 1867, the Ausgleich ("Compromise") was signed by emperor Franz Joseph and a Hungarian delegation led by Ferenc Deák. The Ausgleich provided for a Hungarian government of near equal status to the Austrian government in Vienna, presided over by a single monarch (Franz Joseph) who had responsibility the military and foreign policy. This arrangement was known as the "dual monarch", and by this arrangement the Austrian Empire became the Austria-Hungary.

Austria-Hungary in 1900 CISLEITHANIA
1. Bohemia
2. Bukovina
3. Carinthia
4. Carniola
5. Dalmatia
6. Galicia
7. Kustenland
8. Lower Austria
9. Moravia
10. Salzburg
11. Silesia
12. Styria
13. Tirol
14. Upper Austria
15. Vorarlberg

TRANSLEITHANIA
16. Hungary
17. Croatia & Slavonia

18. BOSNIA & HERZEGOVINA

The 1914 assassination of the Austrian Archduke, Franz Ferdinand, in Sarajevo, was the trigger that led to World War I. Austria-Hungary was among the defeated Central Powers, and the Empire broke up along ethnic lines. The German speaking parts of the Empire became the Republic of German Austria (German: Republik Deutschösterreich), but the name was changed at the insistence of the Entente powers to the Republic of Austria (German: Republik Österreich). The new state was also forbidden to ever unite with Germany.

The First Austrian Republic came to an end in 1933, when the Chancellor, Engelbert Dollfuß, shut down parliament and established an authoritarian regime in an attempt to stabilize the country - paramilitary armies belonging to the Social Democrats and Conservatives were fighting each other on the streets, and a growing Nazi movement was advocating union with Germany.

Engelbert Dollfuß was assassinated in 1934, during an attempted Nazi coup, and succeeded by Kurt Schuschnigg. In 1938 however, German troops marched into Austria, and Adolf Hitler (who himself was Austrian) proclaimed the "Anschluss", the annexation of Austria into Greater Germany.

At the close of World War II, with the defeat of the Nazi regime, Austria, like Germany, was divided into American, British, French and Soviet Occupation Zones. However, just before the surrender, Austrian politican, Karl Renner, declared the separation of Austria from Germany, and set up a Provisional Government in Vienna. This government was in fact recognized by the Allies, and as a result, Austria was treated as the first victim of the Third Reich.

Allied Occupation Zones in Austria, 1945 to 1955

In 1955, as a result of the Austrian State Treaty (German: Österreichischer Staatsvertrag) , the country regained its independence. As part of the agreements surrounding this treaty, Austria became permanently neutral, a status which it maintains to this day.

Austria joined the European Union in 1995, and became part of the Eurozone which it was established in 1999.

Here are some books about the history of Austria:


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Books about Austrian History


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The Austrians: A Thousand-Year Odyssey

By Gordon Brook-Shepherd

Brand: Basic Books
Paperback (512 pages)

The Austrians: A Thousand-Year Odyssey
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This is a masterful survey of Austria's controversial place at the heart of European history. From the Reformation through the Napoleonic and Cold Wars to European Union, a superb history of Austria's central role in uniting Western civilization is covered. 24 pages of photographs and maps are included. "Connoisseurs of Austria and its delightful and infuriating inhabitants will agree that Mr. Brook-Shepherd has got it just about right.'—The Wall Street Journal "Engrossing, elegantly written history.'—Publishers Weekly

Introducing Austria: A Short History. (Studies in Austrian Literature, Culture, and Thought)

By Lonnie Johnson

Brand: Ariadne Pr
Paperback (196 pages)

Introducing Austria: A Short History. (Studies in Austrian Literature, Culture, and Thought)
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INTRODUCING AUSTRIA provides in compact form a comprehensive overview of the country's rich past and present. The first half of the book deals with Austria before 1918. Each chapter and subchapter approaches Austria's diverse, thousand-year-old heritage from a different perspective to illuminate its essential features. The second half of the book deals with Austria's turbulent history from 1918 to the present. Controversial issues are presented objectively and without oversimplification. Overall the book conveys a differentiated picture of the country and its people and should give readers a feeling for the continuity and change of the Austrian idea.

Austria History: The Celtic and Roman Eras, The Early Medieval Era, Rise of the Habsburg Empire, The Thirty Years' War, 1618-48, Economy, Government, Politics, Tourism

By Henry Albinson

Released: 2016-03-02
Kindle Edition (241 pages)

Austria History: The Celtic and Roman Eras, The Early Medieval Era, Rise of the Habsburg Empire, The Thirty Years  War, 1618-48, Economy, Government, Politics, Tourism
 
Product Description:
Entire information on Austria, Austria history, early history and recent, Austria economy, Austria tourism, Austria government and politics, Austria information book, for education, tourism, business engagements
Knowing about Austria and the people inside it. Germanic tribes were not the first peoples to occupy the eastern Alpine-Danubian region, but the history and culture of these tribes, especially the Bavarians and Swabians, are the foundation of Austria's modern identity. Austria thus shares in the broader history and culture of the Germanic peoples of Europe. The territories that constitute modern Austria were, for most of their history, constituent parts of the German nation and were linked to one another only insofar as they were all feudal possessions of one of the leading dynasties in Europe, the Habsburgs

Austria - Culture Smart!: The Essential Guide to Customs & Culture

By Peter Gieler

Kuperard
Paperback (168 pages)

Austria - Culture Smart!: The Essential Guide to Customs & Culture
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Austria has produced some of the world’s finest composers, dazzled us with an imperial Baroque architecture, and led the way with groundbreaking psychoanalysis. It has taught us to waltz, defined what a real coffee house is, and given us one of Europe’s most popular winter playgrounds. All this from one small nation, roughly the size of South Carolina. Historically the country was a land of transit along the Danube route, and the meeting of Germanic, Mediterranean, and Eastern European peoples helped to shape the Austrians of today. They have turned their heritage and culture to good advantage, developed new high-tech industries, established relationships with their former Communist neighbors as well as their EU partners, and have enjoyed a small economic miracle. Culture Smart! Austria describes the real people in the picture postcard, offering key insights into everyday Austrian life and equipping you to discover for yourself the many qualities of this lively people.

The Habsburg Monarchy, 1809-1918 : A History of the Austrian Empire and Austria-Hungary

By A. J. P. Taylor

University of Chicago Press
Released: 1976-05-15
Paperback (280 pages)

The Habsburg Monarchy, 1809-1918 : A History of the Austrian Empire and Austria-Hungary
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First published in 1941, The Habsburg Monarchy has become indispensable to students of nineteenth-century European history. Not only a chronological report of actions and changes, Taylor's work is a provocative exploration into the historical process of the most eventful hundred years of the Habsburg monarchy.

Art in Vienna 1898–1918: Klimt, Kokoschka, Schiele and their contemporaries

By Peter Vergo

imusti
Hardcover (240 pages)

Art in Vienna 1898–1918: Klimt, Kokoschka, Schiele and their contemporaries
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The artistic stagnation of Vienna at the end of the 19th century was rudely shaken by the artists of the Vienna Secession. Their work shocked a conservative public, but their successive exhibitions, their magazine Ver Sacrum, and their application to the applied arts and architecture soon brought them an enthusiastic following and wealthy patronage. Art in Vienna, 1898–1918: Klimt, Kokoschka, Schiele and their Contemporaries, now published in its 4th edition, brilliantly traces the course of this development. Klimt, Kokoschka and Schiele were the leading figures in the fine arts; Wagner, Olbrich, Loos and Hoffmann in architecture and the applied arts. In other fields, Mahler, Freud and Schnitzler were influencing the avant‐garde.

The book includes eye‐witness accounts of exhibitions, the opening of the Secession building and other events, and the result is a fascinating documentary study of the members of an artistic movement which is much admired today. Some 150 color images and 75 black and white archival illustrations make this a sumptuous and historically engrossing study of a period when Vienna was the centre of the European art world.

South Tyrol: A Minority Conflict of the Twentieth Century (Studies in Austrian and Central European History and Culture)

By Rolf Steininger

Transaction Publishers
Paperback (175 pages)

South Tyrol: A Minority Conflict of the Twentieth Century (Studies in Austrian and Central European History and Culture)
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South Tyrol, a region in the heart of the Alps about half the size of Connecticut, brings into sharp focus an important part of twentieth-century history. Tyrol, a province that had been part of Austria for over 500 years and was almost totally German-speaking, was split in two after World War I and the southern part awarded to Italy as "spoils of war."

The first phase to follow after the split of Tyrol was systematic subjection by the Italian Fascists of what had been a regional majority in South Tyrol, but was now a minority within Italy. In a second phase, to gain an Italian majority, the country was settled with Italians from the south, who had a totally different mentality from the Italians residing in South Tyrol. With the emergence of National Socialism in Germany, and eventually with the Hitler-Mussolini Agreement of 1939, a third phase emerged: an experiment in "ethnic cleansing" called the "Option." Eighty-six percent of all South Tyroleans agreed to leave South Tyrol and become citizens of "Greater Germany." After World War II, the region was not returned to Austria: South Tyrol became the first victim of the Cold War. It took almost forty years of hard bargaining before South Tyrol was granted real autonomy in 1969. This resolution is now regarded as a model for solving minority conflicts.

Rolf Steininger traces the history of this troubled region during several periods: 1918-1922, in which he covers the period from the division of Tyrol to the march on Bozen; 1922-1938, in which he reviews fascist policy towards South Tyrol; the "Option" of 1939; the resettlement and so-called reunification from 1943-1945; South Tyrol's role as a bargaining chip in the Cold War, and the Gruber-Gasperi Agreement of 1946; and the volume closes with a discussion of the plan negotiated in 1969 for a new autonomy for South Tyrol that came to be known as the "Package.".

The Austrian Mind: An Intellectual and Social History, 1848-1938

By William M. Johnston

University of California Press
Released: 1983-03-23
Paperback (540 pages)

The Austrian Mind: An Intellectual and Social History, 1848-1938
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Part One of this book shows how bureaucracy sustained the Habsburg Empire while inciting economists, legal theorists, and socialists to urge reform. Part Two examines how Vienna's coffeehouses, theaters, and concert halls stimulated creativity together with complacency. Part Three explores the fin-de-siecle world view known as Viennese Impressionism. Interacting with positivistic science, this reverence for the ephemeral inspired such pioneers ad Mach, Wittgenstein, Buber, and Freud. Part Four describes the vision of an ordered cosmos which flourished among Germans in Bohemia. Their philosophers cultivated a Leibnizian faith whose eventual collapse haunted Kafka and Mahler. Part Five explains how in Hungary wishful thinking reinforced a political activism rare elsewhere in Habsburg domains. Engage intellectuals like Lukacs and Mannheim systematized the sociology of knowledge, while two other Hungarians, Herzel and Nordau, initiated political Zionism. Part Six investigates certain attributes that have permeated Austrian thought, such as hostility to technology and delight in polar opposites.


 
 
 

 
 
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