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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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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.

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

A Brief History of the Austrian Navy: Warning by the Author: This is Not a Book on the Australian Navy!

By Wilhelm, M. Donko

epubli GmbH
Paperback (120 pages)

A Brief History of the Austrian Navy: Warning by the Author: This is Not a Book on the Australian Navy!
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Whenever somebody mentions Austria´s naval history one will most likely hear one of the following standard reactions: - Yes, of course, I know, Austria's famous mountain navy; probably a few ships from the Danube River lost their way and ended up in the open seas... ha, ha, what fun! - Or some persons well versed in history will offer you a lesson in history stating that Austria had been an influential and important naval power for many, many centuries. In my opinion, both reactions do not really hit the core of the issue. Even among those well-versed in history, there still exists a lot of a misunderstanding and misinterpretation on the Austrian navy. The only reason to write this book was my intention to provide the English speaking reader with a short, comprehensive and moreover realistic approach to Austria's history as a naval power. This book does not contain anything new. I just tried to put the Austrian navy in the right historical context in terms of European history as well as in terms of naval history.

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.

The World of Yesterday

By Stefan Zweig

Stefan Zweig
Paperback (472 pages)

The World of Yesterday
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  • The World of Yesterday
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By the author who inspired Wes Anderson’s film, The Grand Budapest Hotel

Written as both a recollection of the past and a warning for future generations, The World of Yesterday recalls the golden age of literary Vienna—its seeming permanence, its promise, and its devastating fall.

Surrounded by the leading literary lights of the epoch, Stefan Zweig draws a vivid and intimate account of his life and travels through Vienna, Paris, Berlin, and London, touching on the very heart of European culture. His passionate, evocative prose paints a stunning portrait of an era that danced brilliantly on the edge of extinction.

This new translation by award-winning Anthea Bell captures the spirit of Zweig’s writing in arguably his most revealing work.

Egon Schiele: Drawings and Watercolors

By Jane Kallir

Jane Kallir
Hardcover (496 pages)

Egon Schiele: Drawings and Watercolors
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  • Egon Schiele Drawings and Watercolors
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Austrian Expressionist Egon Schiele produced a prolific body of work before his early death at the age of twenty-eight in 1918. The oeuvre is comprised of a few hundred oil paintings and thousands of drawings and watercolors.

Schiele's oils have often been reproduced and are well recognized. However, limited access to the fragile works on paper and dispersion among several collections have made for an unbalanced representation of his work as a draftsman.

This book assembles drawings and watercolors from public and private collections and reproduces work from every year of the artist's career, beginning with the juvenilia and early academic studies. The focus means that work that is rarely reproduced is represented extensively, providing a unique opportunity to study the rapid artistic development of Schiele over the course of his brief twelve-year career.

The book is organized chronologically and divided into year-by-year sections. Each section includes a text that discusses the major events in Schiele's life and the interrelation between the artist's drawing and developments in his oil painting. Features a previously unpublished Schiele watercolor and several works that have never been reproduced in color. Over 350 color illustrations

The Lost Letter: A Novel

By Jillian Cantor

Cantor Jillian
Released: 2017-06-13
Hardcover (336 pages)

The Lost Letter: A Novel
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  • The Lost Letter
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“A gorgeous and thrilling novel… Perfect for book clubs and fans of The Nightingale.” –PopSugar

A historical novel of love and survival inspired by real resistance workers during World War II Austria, and the mysterious love letter that connects generations of Jewish families. A heart-breaking, heart-warming read for fans of The Women in the Castle, Lilac Girls, and Sarah's Key.

 
Austria, 1938. Kristoff is a young apprentice to a master Jewish stamp engraver. When his teacher disappears during Kristallnacht, Kristoff is forced to engrave stamps for the Germans, and simultaneously works alongside Elena, his beloved teacher's fiery daughter, and with the Austrian resistance to send underground messages and forge papers. As he falls for Elena amidst the brutal chaos of war, Kristoff must find a way to save her, and himself.

Los Angeles, 1989. Katie Nelson is going through a divorce and while cleaning out her house and life in the aftermath, she comes across the stamp collection of her father, who recently went into a nursing home. When an appraiser, Benjamin, discovers an unusual World War II-era Austrian stamp placed on an old love letter as he goes through her dad's collection, Katie and Benjamin are sent on a journey together that will uncover a story of passion and tragedy spanning decades and continents, behind the just fallen Berlin Wall.
 
A romantic, poignant and addictive novel, The Lost Letter shows the lasting power of love.

Beware of Pity (New York Review Books Classics)

By Stefan Zweig

Stefan Zweig Trevor Blewitt Joan Acocella
Released: 2006-06-20
Paperback (392 pages)

Beware of Pity (New York Review Books Classics)
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  • Beware of Pity
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Wes Anderson on Stefan Zweig:  "I had never heard of Zweig...when I just more or less by chance bought a copy of Beware of Pity. I loved this first book.  I also read the The Post-Office Girl.  The Grand Budapest Hotel has elements that were sort of stolen from both these books. Two characters in our story are vaguely meant to represent Zweig himself — our “Author” character, played by Tom Wilkinson, and the theoretically fictionalised version of himself, played by Jude Law. But, in fact, M. Gustave, the main character who is played by Ralph Fiennes, is modelled significantly on Zweig as well."

"Stefan Zweig was a dark and unorthodox artist; it's good to have him back."--Salman Rushdie

The great Austrian writer Stefan Zweig was a master anatomist of the deceitful heart, and Beware of Pity, the only novel he published during his lifetime, uncovers the seed of selfishness within even the finest of feelings.

Hofmiller, an Austro-Hungarian cavalry officer stationed at the edge of the empire, is invited to a party at the home of a rich local landowner, a world away from the dreary routine of the barracks. The surroundings are glamorous, wine flows freely, and the exhilarated young Hofmiller asks his host's lovely daughter for a dance, only to discover that sickness has left her painfully crippled. It is a minor blunder that will destroy his life, as pity and guilt gradually implicate him in a well-meaning but tragically wrongheaded plot to restore the unhappy invalid to health.

Oil Empire: Visions of Prosperity in Austrian Galicia (Harvard Historical Studies)

By Alison Fleig Frank

Brand: Harvard University Press
Paperback (366 pages)

Oil Empire: Visions of Prosperity in Austrian Galicia (Harvard Historical Studies)
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At the beginning of the twentieth century, the Austrian Empire ranked third among the world's oil-producing states (surpassed only by the United States and Russia), and accounted for five percent of global oil production. By 1918, the Central Powers did not have enough oil to maintain a modern military. How and why did the promise of oil fail Galicia (the province producing the oil) and the Empire?

In a brilliantly conceived work, Alison Frank traces the interaction of technology, nationalist rhetoric, social tensions, provincial politics, and entrepreneurial vision in shaping the Galician oil industry. She portrays this often overlooked oil boom's transformation of the environment, and its reorientation of religious and social divisions that had defined a previously agrarian population, as surprising alliances among traditional foes sprang up among workers and entrepreneurs, at the workplace, and in the pubs and brothels of new oiltowns.

Frank sets this complex story in a context of international finance, technological exchange, and Habsburg history as a sobering counterpoint to traditional modernization narratives. As the oil ran out, the economy, the population, and the environment returned largely to their former state, reminding us that there is nothing ineluctable about the consequences of industrial development.

The Fall of the Dynasties: The Collapse of the Old Order: 1905-1922

By Edmond Taylor

Taylor Edmond
Paperback (432 pages)

The Fall of the Dynasties: The Collapse of the Old Order: 1905-1922
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  • The Fall of the Dynasties The Collapse of the Old Order 1905 1922
Product Description:
“Popular history of the finest sort . . . an excellent book worthy to rank with Barbara Tuchman’s The Guns of August and Alan Moorehead’s Gallipoli.” —The New York Times

On June 28, 1914, in the dusty Balkan town of Sarajevo, an assassin fired two shots. In the next five minutes, as the stout middle-aged Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Habsburg, heir to the Austro-Hungarian throne, and his wife bled to death, a dynasty—and with it, a whole way of life—began to topple.

In the ages before World War I, four dynasties—the Habsburg, Hohenzollern, Ottoman, and Romanov—dominated much of civilization. Outwardly different, they were at bottom somewhat alike: opulent, grandiose, suffocating in tradition, ostentatiously gilded on the surface and rotting at the core. Worse still, they were tragically out of step with the forces shaping the modern world.

The Fall of the Dynasties covers the period from 1905 to 1922, when these four ruling houses crumbled and fell, destroying old alliances and obliterating old boundaries. World War I was precipitated by their decay and their splintered baroque rubble proved to be a treacherous base for the new nations that emerged from the war. “All convulsions of the last half-century,” Taylor writes, “stem back to Sarajevo: the two World Wars, the Bolshevik revolution, the rise and fall of Hitler, and the ongoing turmoil in the Middle East. Millions upon millions of deaths can be traced to one or another of these upheavals; all of us who survive have been scarred at least emotionally by them.”

In this classic volume, Taylor traces the origins of the dynasties whose collapse brought the old order crashing down and the events leading to their astonishingly swift downfall.

Skyhorse Publishing, as well as our Arcade imprint, are proud to publish a broad range of books for readers interested in history--books about World War II, the Third Reich, Hitler and his henchmen, the JFK assassination, conspiracies, the American Civil War, the American Revolution, gladiators, Vikings, ancient Rome, medieval times, the old West, and much more. While not every title we publish becomes a New York Times bestseller or a national bestseller, we are committed to books on subjects that are sometimes overlooked and to authors whose work might not otherwise find a home.


 
 
 

 
 
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