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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 "OstarrÓchi" 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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  • Used Book in Good Condition
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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.'‚ÄĒThe Wall Street Journal "Engrossing, elegantly written history.'‚ÄĒPublishers 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.

DK Eyewitness Travel Guide: Austria

By DK Travel

Dorling Kindersley Publishing Staff
Released: 2016-03-01
Paperback (380 pages)

DK Eyewitness Travel Guide: Austria
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  • Austria DK Eyewitness Travel Guides
Product Description:

DK Eyewitness Travel Guide: Austria takes you by the hand, leading you straight to the best attractions the country has to offer.

DK's insider travel tips and essential local information will help you discover the best of Austria, from the breathtaking Alpine scenery to the country's imperial castles and palaces. Discover one of the world's greatest collections of art in Vienna, visit Mozart's house in Salzburg, or go skiing and snowboarding in Innsbruck, a world-renowned location for winter sports.

Discover DK Eyewitness Travel Guide: Austria.

¬†¬†¬†‚Äʬ†Detailed itineraries and "don't-miss" destination highlights at a glance.
¬†¬†¬†‚Äʬ†Illustrated cutaway 3-D drawings of important sights.
¬†¬†¬†‚Äʬ†Floor plans and guided visitor information for major museums.
¬†¬†¬†‚Äʬ†Guided walking tours, local drink and dining specialties to try, things to do, and places to eat, drink, and shop by area.
¬†¬†¬†‚Äʬ†Area maps marked with sights.
¬†¬†¬†‚Äʬ†Detailed city map of Vienna includes street finder indexes for easy navigation.
¬†¬†¬†‚Äʬ†Insights into history and culture to help you understand the stories behind the sights.
¬†¬†¬†‚Äʬ†Hotel and restaurant listings highlight DK Choice special recommendations.

With hundreds of full-color photographs, hand-drawn illustrations, and custom maps that illuminate every page, DK Eyewitness Travel Guide: Austria truly shows you this country as no one else can.

Recommended: For a pocket guidebook to Vienna, check out DK Eyewitness Travel Guide: Top 10 Vienna, which is packed with dozens of top 10 lists, ensuring you make the most of your time in the city.

Series Overview: For more than two decades, DK Eyewitness Travel Guides have helped travelers experience the world through the history, art, architecture, and culture of their destinations. Expert travel writers and researchers provide independent editorial advice, recommendations, and reviews. With guidebooks to hundreds of places around the globe available in print and digital formats, DK Eyewitness Travel Guides show travelers how they can discover more.

DK Eyewitness Travel Guides: the most maps, photographs, and illustrations of any guide.

The Great Tradition and Its Legacy: The Evolution of Dramatic and Musical Theater in Austria and Central Europe (Austrian and Habsburg Studies)

Berghahn Books
Released: 2004-10-30
Paperback (290 pages)

The Great Tradition and Its Legacy: The Evolution of Dramatic and Musical Theater in Austria and Central Europe (Austrian and Habsburg Studies)
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Both dramatic and musical theater are part of the tradition that has made Austria - especially Vienna - and the old Habsburg lands synonymous with high culture in Central Europe. Many works, often controversial originally but now considered as classics, are still performed regularly in Vienna, Prague, Budapest, or Krakow. This volume not only offers an excellent overview of the theatrical history of the region, it is also an innovative, cross-disciplinary attempt to analyse the inner workings and dynamics of theater through a discussion of the interplay between society, the audience, and performing artists.

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 Radetzky March (Works of Joseph Roth)

By Joseph Roth

Joseph Roth
Released: 2002-08-01
Paperback (352 pages)

The Radetzky March (Works of Joseph Roth)
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The Radetzky March, Joseph Roth's classic saga of the privileged von Trotta family, encompasses the entire social fabric of the Austro-Hungarian Empire just before World War I. The author's greatest achievement, The Radetzky March is an unparalleled portrait of a civilization in decline, and as such, a universal story for our times.

A Sailor of Austria: In Which, Without Really Intending to, Otto Prohaska Becomes Official War Hero No. 27 of the Habsburg Empire (The Otto Prohaska Novels)

By John Biggins

John Biggins
Released: 2005-09-01
Paperback (376 pages)

A Sailor of Austria: In Which, Without Really Intending to, Otto Prohaska Becomes Official War Hero No. 27 of the Habsburg Empire (The Otto Prohaska Novels)
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  • A Sailor of Austria In which without really intending to Otto Prohaska becomes Official War Hero No 27 of the Habsburg Empire
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"A retro techno-adventure story that falls somewhere between Tom Clancy and Patrick O'Brian... top notch military fiction with a literary flair." (Publishers Weekly) 
 
In the spring of 1915, a young Austro-Czech naval lieutenant Ottokar Prohaska finds himself posted to the minuscule Imperial and Royal Austro-Hungarian Submarine Service in the Adriatic port of Pola. In some trepidation at first, because he has no experience whatever of submarines, his fears are soon set at rest when he discovers that nobody else has either: least of all his superiors. There follow three and a half years of desperate World War One adventures fighting for the House of Habsburg aboard primitive, ill-equipped vessels, contending not just with exploding lavatories and the transport of Libyan racing camels but with a crew drawn from a dozen different nationalities-and a decaying imperial bureaucracy which often seems to be even more of an enemy than the British, the French, the Italians and the sea itself.
 
After surmounting all this to become - accidentally - Austria Hungary's leading U-boat commander and a holder of its highest military decoration, the closing months of 1918 see him and his crew returning aboard a damaged boat from the shores of Palestine, only to find that the homeland they have fought for so doggedly over the previous four years is now in the final stages of collapse, and that they are effectively stateless persons; sailors without a navy returning to a country which no longer has a coastline
 

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‚ÄĒits 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.

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

By William M. Johnston

William M Johnston
Released: 1983-03-23
Paperback (540 pages)

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