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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.

The War of the Austrian Succession

By Reed S. Browning

St. Martin's Griffin
Released: 1995-05-15
Paperback (480 pages)

The War of the Austrian Succession
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Reed S. Browning explores the often-changing war aims of the major belligerents-Austria, France, Great Britain, Prussia, Piedmont-Sardinia, and Spain-and links diplomatic and military events to the political and social context from which they arose.

The Habsburgs: Embodying Empire

By Andrew Wheatcroft

imusti
Released: 1997-05-01
Paperback (416 pages)

The Habsburgs: Embodying Empire
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  • Penguin Group USA
Product Description:
The Habsburgs have been described at one extreme as demons – responsible for a ‘long history of atrocities’; and, at the other, as dodos – living fossils unable to adapt to the modern world. In reality, the flamboyant royal family appear, in many ways, to have behaved much like most other monarchies. Their story, however, is none the less enthralling for that. It is populated by such unforgettable figures as mad Queen Juana, progressing through Spain with her husband’s decaying body; the ‘heroically fertile’ Maria Theresa, and the quixotic Maximilian, ‘Emperor’ of Mexico.

A Short History of the Austrian Empire (Illustrated)

By Sidney Whitman

Didactic Press
Released: 2014-10-27
Kindle Edition (237 pages)

A Short History of the Austrian Empire (Illustrated)
 
Product Description:
An excellent short history of the Austrian Empire, from the earliest times to 1898. Illustrated to enhance the reading experience.

Contents include:

EARLY INHABITANTS
FROM THE APPEARANCE OF THE GOTHS TO THE REIGN OF CHARLEMAGNE
FROM THE REIGN OF CHARLEMAGNE TO THE DEATH OF HENRY II OF SAXONY
THE FRANCONIAN AND HOHENSTAUFEN DYNASTIES
RUDOLPH OF HABSBURG
FROM THE ACCESSION OF ALBRECHT I TO THE DEATH OF ALBRECHT II
FROM RUDOLPH IV TO LADISLAUS POSTHUMUS
THE TYROLESE AND STYRIAN LINES
MAXIMILIAN I THE REFORMATION
CHARLES V THE REFORMATION
FERDINAND I AND MAXIMILIAN II UNION WITH HUNGARY
RUDOLPH II AND MATTHIAS ATTACK UPON PROTESTANTISM
FERDINAND II AND FERDINAND III THE THIRTY YEARS’ WAR
LEOPOLD I (THE GREAT) AND JOSEPH I THE WAR OF THE SPANISH SUCCESSION
CHARLES VI ATTACKS BY THE TURKS
MARIA THERESIA RISE OF PRUSSIAN POWER
MARIA THERESIA (CONTINUED)
JOSEPH II AND LEOPOLD II LOSS OF THE NETHERLANDS
FRANCIS II (I OF AUSTRIA) THE FRENCH REVOLUTION
FRANCIS II (I OF AUSTRIA-CONTINUED) AUSTRIA MADE AN EMPIRE
FRANCIS I, EMPEROR OF AUSTRIA (CONTINUED) RIVALRY WITH PRUSSIA
FERDINAND I (OF AUSTRIA) INTERNAL TROUBLES AND INSURRECTIONS
FRANCIS JOSEPH THE LIBERATION OF ITALY
FRANCIS JOSEPH (CONTINUED) WAR WITH PRUSSIA
FRANCIS JOSEPH (CONTINUED) RECENT EVENTS

Habsburg Monarchy 1809 To 1918

By A J Taylor

Penguin UK
Released: 1990-09-04
Paperback (304 pages)

Habsburg Monarchy 1809 To 1918
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  • Hapsburg
  • Austro-Hungarian
  • World War I
Product Description:
A history of the Habsburg monarchy from the end of the Holy Roman Empire to the monarchy's dissolution in 1918. The book offers an insight into the problems inherent in the attempt to give peace, stability and common loyalty to a hetergeneous population.

Austrian-Greek Encounters over the Centuries: History, Diplomacy, Politics, Arts, Economics (Studien Verlag)

Brand: Studien Verlag
Hardcover (246 pages)

Austrian-Greek Encounters over the Centuries: History, Diplomacy, Politics, Arts, Economics (Studien Verlag)
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Austrian-Greek Encounters over the Centuries does not only look back to the past, but it also tries to develop perspectives for the future. It sheds new light on an incredible wealth and diversity of important links between Austria and Greece. Two highly visible expressions of this intense relationship, amongst many others, are the emblematic buildings of the Academy of Athens and the Austrian Parliament with the Athena Fountain in front. This is why these two buildings, which were both officially opened in 1883 and designed by the same architect, Theophil Hansen, are shown on the front cover of this book. They bear witness to the strong relationship between Austrian and Greek culture over the centuries and moreover testify to the continuing relevance of the Hellenic culture in the middle of Europe.

Herbert Krll is currently the Ambassador of Austria to Greece. As an Austrian diplomat he has served as Ambassador to Israel and the Palestinian Authority as well as Indonesia. He has also represented Austria at many international conferences. He started his career working with the OECD in Paris and has studied Business Administration at the Vienna School of Economics (Austria).



 
 
 

 
 
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