Austria History

By | January 9, 2023

Austria – national flag

Austria National Flag

According to a2zgov, the flag was officially adopted in its current form in 1945, but as a heraldic mark, the white bar in red can be traced back to the 1200’s. It is thus one of the oldest flags in the world. Originally, it was rather a dynastic and military banner. In 1786 it became the basis for Austria’s first real national flag with a coat of arms in the middle. Since 1919, the flag without coat of arms has been Austria’s national flag except for the period 1938-45.

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Austria – prehistory

The oldest finds are from the culture moustérien, approximately 100,000 years old. From the Late Paleolithic, after 35,000 BC, there are several layers at Willendorf with the cultures of aurignacia and gravetti, where Venus from Willendorf is linked to the latter. In mammoth ivory, two more female figures from Willendorf are known. Agriculture was introduced approximately 5500 BC with ribbon ceramic culture. From approximately 4800 BC the Lengyel culture in Lower Austria performs with painted ceramics and ribbon ceramic culture. Attached to this are a large number of circular ramparts and ditches of considerable size, often of several concentric rings and with palisades. These facilities presumably served cult-ritual purposes. approximately 4000 BC appeared Baden culture and with funnel cup culture related groups. Here we meet Austria’s first traces of copper craftsmanship. 2800 BC Austria was covered by string ceramic culture and later by bell goblet culture. The Bronze Age began approximately 2200 BC, associated with the Aunjetitz culture. From 1600 BC Austria was part of the high grave culture and from 1300 BC. in the urnmark culture, which 700 BC. continued in the Hallstatt culture, named after the rich burial ground at Hallstatt in Upper Austria. Important has been found a cult carriage from Strettweg near Graz, on which is seen a cult procession of small bronze figures with riders and persons leading deer around a larger figure, presumably a female deity. From early La Tène culture, rich grave finds still emerge at Hallstatt, but before and around 400 BC. took over the area at Hallein-Dürrnberg, also near Salzburg, the leading position in the extraction of salt from mines, and a Celtic center of trade and crafts emerged. Wealth is reflected in the graves, where warriors were buried with rich weapons. Among the drinking equipment was a bronze beak jug with fantasy animals in early Celtic style as well as an imported drinking cup, a kylix, from Athens. I 100-tfKr. the Celtic oppidum on Magdalensberg occupied a key position.

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Austria – history

In 15 BC. the Alpine region south of the Danube was conquered by the Romans; in the 40’s AD. under Emperor Claudius, the province of Noricum was established, the extent of which is largely similar to present-day Austria; Tyrol, however, was part of the province of Raetia. The easternmost part belonged to the province of Pannonia; here the Romans established the legion camp Vindobona at the border of the Roman Empire, and the civil settlement that arose in connection with it developed into the present capital, Vienna. From the end of 100-teKr. practiced Germanic tribes a hard pressure against the frontier, and as a result of the attacks of the Ostro and Visigoths in the early 400-t. the Romans lost control of the area.

The Middle Ages

I 500-600-t. penetrated the Germanic bajuvars into the Danube and Alpine lands. At the same time, the southeasternmost part of present-day Austria was populated by Slavic tribes, the ancestors of modern-day Slovenes. The Bajuvar tribal area came under the influence of the Frankish Empire and was expanded to the east and southeast, after Charlemagne 791-96 had crushed the kingdom of the Avars in present-day Hungary. The Germanic new acquisitions went in the late 800-t. lost to the advancing Magyars, but when Otto I the Great in 955 had inflicted a decisive defeat on the Magyars, frontier fields were re-established for German colonization.

Historical overview
ca. 100,000 BC mustard culture
approx. 35,000 BC aurignacien and gravettien cultures
approx. 5500 BC agriculture is introduced
approx. 2200-800 BC Bronze Age; high grave and urn field culture
approx. 700-450 BC Iron Age; Hallstatt and La Tène cultures dominate
15 BC the Romans conquer the Austrian territories south of the Danube and later form the provinces of Raetia, Noricum and Pannonia
400-t. the Romans lose control of the area after ostrich and visigothic attacks
500-600-t. Germanic bajuvars penetrate the northern part of present-day Austria, Slavic tribes penetrate the southern part
700-t. the Bajuvars come under Frankish influence
955 Otto I the Great establishes the Margrave “Ostmark”, later “Ostarrichi”, as part of the frontier of German colonization
1452-1806 The House of Habsburg is the holder of the German-Roman imperial dignity
1453 Austria becomes archduchy
1526 Ferdinand of Habsburg is elected King of Bohemia and Hungary; the connection between Austria, Bohemia and Hungary lasts until 1918
1529 the Ottomans besiege Vienna
1555 The Augsburg religious peace will be the beginning of a longer recatholisation in Austria and Bohemia
1618-48 The Thirty Years’ War; Austria is strengthening its position in Central Europe
1683 2nd Ottoman siege of Vienna
1699 after the Peace of Karlowitz, the Sultan cedes Hungary, Transylvania and Slavonia to Austria, which becomes the new great power in Central Europe
1701-14 The Spanish Succession War; Milan and the Spanish Netherlands come under the Habsburg crown
1740-48 The Austrian Succession War; Maria Theresia is guaranteed the Austrian heritage, but loses Silesia
1756-63 The Seven Years’ War; Austria does not achieve the desired recapture of Silesia, but consolidates its position as a major power in Central Europe
1772 in the first partition of Poland, Maopolska and Galicia go to Austria
1804 Francis II proclaims himself heir to the throne of Austria under the name Francis I and abolishes the German-Roman Empire two years later
1814-15 at the Congress of Vienna the European balance of power system is reorganized with Austria as the dominant power in Central Europe
1848-49 popular uprising; Emperor Ferdinand I abdicates in favor of his nephew, Francis Joseph I.
1864 sm Prussia defeats Austria Denmark
1866 Austria loses the war against Prussia
1867-1918 The Austro-Hungarian Dual Monarchy
1879 Austria-Hungary and Germany in defense alliance, which three years later expands with Italy and becomes the Triple Alliance
1908 Austria-Hungary annexes Bosnia and Herzegovina
1914 the Habsburg heirs are murdered in Sarajevo; the murder is the immediate cause of World War I.
1918 The Entente forces force Austria-Hungary to a ceasefire; Charles I abdicates, the empire dissolves, and the Republic of Austria is proclaimed
1919 With the conclusion of the Treaty of Saint-Germain, Austria must renounce the Sudetenland and South Tyrol and renounce its unification with Germany
1920-38 first Austrian republic
1933 Chancellor Dollfuß repeals the constitution
1938 Connection; Austria is incorporated into Germany, 1939-42 under the name Ostmark
1939-45 Austria participates in World War II as part of Germany
1945 Soviet and American troops conquer Austria and occupy the country along with France and Britain; the Constitution of 1920 is reintroduced
1947-66 SPÖ and ÖVP form a coalition government
1955 a state agreement ends the occupation of Austria; the country must in future be neutral and must not be united with Germany; Austria becomes a member of the UN
1960 Austria becomes a member of EFTA
1995 Austria becomes a member of the EU
2000 The ÖVP and the right-wing nationalist FPÖ form a coalition government

One of the field counties was Ostmark, which from 996 is referred to as Ostarrichi. Others were Styria and Krain, while Carinthia in 976 was separated from Bavaria as an independent duchy. The leading German noble family in the area were the Babenbergs, who from 1156 could call themselves Dukes of Austria and in 1192 acquired the Duchy of Styria. When the family died out in 1246, the Bohemian king Přemysl Ottokar II occupied both Austria and Styria, and in 1269 he inherited Carinthia and Krain. The Czech dynasty’s attempt to extend Bohemia’s power to the Adriatic was thwarted by the German king Rudolf I of Habsburg, who in 1278 defeated Ottokar in a decisive battle at Dürnkrut north of Vienna. In 1282, Rudolf endowed his sons with the duchies of Austria and Styria.

The Habsburg expansion

1282-1918, the history of Austria was inextricably linked with the Habsburg dynasty. The oldest possessions of the genus were in present-day Switzerland and southwestern Germany, but during the late Middle Ages the Habsburgs came to regard the Austrian lands as the basis of their house power. Haus Österreich became a synonym for Habsburg. In 1335 they acquired Carinthia and Krain, in 1363 Tyrol. The Habsburgs were then able to control important trade routes between Germany and Italy, and the rich ore deposits in the inherited lands formed the basis for the growth of the mining industry. With the economic recovery came increased political prestige in the German-Roman Empire; in the period 1452-1806 Habsburg was a permanent holder of the German-Roman imperial dignity (except for the years 1742-45), and in 1453 Austria was elevated to the archdiocese. A serious crisis occurred when the Hungarian king Matthias Corvinus 1485-87 conquered most of Austria with the capital Vienna. Emperor Maximilian I, however, reunited the Austrian heritage lands in 1493 and continued the Habsburg expansion by means of a far-sighted marriage policy. Through Maximilian’s marriage to Mary of Burgundy, the house of Habsburg acquired The Netherlands and Burgundy as well as Spain and the Spanish possessions in southern Italy and America. Other marriage treaties with Bohemia and Hungary opened up opportunities for a Habsburg succession to the throne in these countries. When the young King Louis II of Bohemia and Hungary in 1526 died childless after the Battle of Mohács, elected the Bohemian estates and part of the Hungarian nobility Ferdinand of Habsburg king. This created a historic connection to Bohemia and Hungary, which was not dissolved until 1918.

Turkish wars and counter-reformation

By his older brother Charles V, Ferdinand had in 1521 been given control of the Austrian heritage, which after the Ottoman victory at Mohács was given a vulnerable position as the bulwark of Christianity against Islam. Ferdinand I succeeded in averting the siege of Vienna by the Turks in 1529. However, he failed to take possession of all of Hungary, where the majority of the nobility had elected a national counter-king, János Szapolyai (1487-1540), supported by Sultan Süleyman 1.

After his victorious campaign in 1541, Süleyman incorporated central and southern Hungary into the Ottoman Empire, while Transylvania gained the status of a tributary principality. Ferdinand, too, had to suffer the tort of paying tribute to the Sultan for his possession of western and northern Hungary. In return, he could adorn himself with the title of German-Roman emperor after the abdication of Charles V in 1556. The Augsburg religious peaceheralded a long-term recatolation campaign in Austria and Bohemia. The Jesuit order was convened, and the domestic policy of the Habsburgs then aimed to centralize power by strengthening the Catholic monarchy at the expense of the predominantly Protestant estates. Strongest was the opposition of the Bohemian estates, which fought to preserve the uniqueness of the Czech Church and the language of the Czech administration. In 1618 they rose up for armed uprising, triggering the Thirty Years’ War. The defeat of the Czechs in the Battle of the White Mountain in 1620 and the introduction of the Verneuerte Landesordnungin 1627 signified the victory of Habsburg absolutism over the empire of the estates and the victory of Catholicism over Protestantism in both Austria and Bohemia. In Hungary, the Protestants enjoyed the protection of the Sultan, but after the failed siege of Vienna in 1683, the Ottomans were gradually pushed south, and at the Peace of Karlowitz in 1699, the Sultan had to cede Hungary, Transylvania and Slavonia to Austria, becoming the dominant power in Central Europe.

Until the founding of the empire

Even before the conclusion of the peace, the Hungarian nobility had been promised to retain its old privileges (see Tripartite) in exchange for recognizing Habsburg’s inheritance rights to the Hungarian crown. Transylvania (Transylvania) also received guarantees for its medieval constitution. Administratively, the multiethnic Habsburg Empire was very disparate compared to the rival superpowers, of which France was the main enemy. After the War of the Spanish Succession acquired Habsburg Milan and the Spanish Netherlands (now Belgium and Luxembourg), after 1713 called the Austrian Netherlands. France now sought to encircle Austria by forming alliances with the Ottoman Empire, Poland and Sweden. In return, in 1726, Austria gained an important ally in the new great power in the east, Russia, which showed its value as an ally as early as the 1730’s wars in the Balkans and in Poland. Habsburg’s greatest weakness then was the uncertainty about the succession to the throne. Since the Pragmatic Sanction in 1713, Charles VI had worked for an international recognition of the female succession to the throne in the dynasty. However, when his daughter Maria Theresia took over the rule in the hereditary lands after his death in 1740, the scheme was challenged by e.g. the Prussian king Frederik II the Great. The result wasThe Austrian Succession War. Prussia managed to maintain the conquest of strategically and economically important Silesia even after the Seven Years’ War 1756-63. Thus arose the German dualism, i.e. the antagonism between the great powers Austria and Prussia. At the first partition of Poland in 1772, Frederick the Great obtained West Prussia, while Maria Theresia took care of Małopolska and Galicia.. Internally, she carried out a centralist reform of the state administration, which, however, only affected the main bastions of absolutism, Bohemia and Austria itself. Inspired by the ideas of the Enlightenment, in 1774 she ordained the first compulsory peasant school system in Europe; it led to a rapid spread of literacy and thus created fertile ground for national revivals. In the same direction worked the radical reform policy initiated by her son and successor, Joseph II, who gave freedom of religion to the religious minorities and intervened against the oppression of the peasants. His regime of 1780-90 met with fierce opposition, especially in Hungary and the Netherlands, because he neglected the special rights of the regions and made German the only administrative language. Many of his 17,000 new ordinances therefore had to be revoked later. But his enlightened autocracy gained lasting significance by placing the Catholic Church under state control; a third of the monasteries were closed down, and the secularized estates were part of a “religious fund,” the funds of which were used for the construction of schools and hospitals. He also created a uniform and zealous office, whose legal norms were based on the legal codifications of 1787-88. The French Revolution and the Coalition Wars led to the loss of the Netherlands and caused a domestic political upheaval, with Joseph II’s followers distancing themselves from the Enlightenment ideas and embarking on a conservative course. As a consequence of Napoleon’s reorganization of Germany, Francis II proclaimed himself heir to the throne of Austria in 1804 as Francis I, and two years later he abolished the German-Roman imperial crown.

The Empire 1804-1867

The Empire’s debut in the European arena was marred by the severe defeats of the battles of Austerlitz in 1805 and Wagram in 1809. However, it managed to escape the Napoleonic Wars without significant territorial losses. At the Congress of Vienna 1814-15, the Austrian Foreign Minister, von Metternich, was able to act as chief designer of the new map of Europe, which gave Austria a dominant influence in Germany and Italy. Under his leadership, Austria pursued a foreign policy aimed at maintaining the status quo in Europe. Austria’s domestic policy was also extremely conservative, seeking to stifle all reform ideas and national movements by strict censorship and police violence.

The year of the revolution of 1848 shook the regime for the first time. Violent demonstrations in Vienna forced Metternich to flee, and there were also popular uprisings in Bohemia, Hungary and northern Italy. Thanks to the loyalty of the Croatian troops, the military managed to control the situation in the cities. Emperor Ferdinand I abdicated in favor of his young nephew Francis I, but the Hungarian rebel army was not defeated until 1849 by Russian forces. Thereafter, Hungary lost its long-established special status. Military humiliations in Italy in 1859 forced the authoritarian regime to constitutional experiments (see October diploma and February patent), which, however, did not remove the dissatisfaction of nationalities. After the joint victory over Denmark in 1864, disagreement arose between Austria and Prussia over the future of Schleswig-Holstein. A war between the two German great powers resulted in the defeat of Austria in 1866 and its reconciliation with Hungary at the landmark Ausgleich in 1867.

The Double Monarchy 1867-1918

With this reconciliation, Austria and Hungary became two independent, constitutional monarchies with a common head of state and common ministries of foreign, military and fiscal policy (see Austria-Hungary). The Austrian partner of this union was called Zisleithania and had its parliament (Reichsrat) in Vienna. The new system gave the Poles regional autonomy in Galicia, and here, from 1869, Polish was equated with German in administration, school and judiciary. Ausgleich, however, was a great disappointment to the Czechs. They had hoped to gain the same independence as the Hungarians and chose to boycott the parliament in Vienna until 1879, when they, together with the Poles and German conservatives, formed the basis of Eduard von Taaffe’s national reconciliation government 1879-93. By the language decrees of Bohemia and Moravia in 1880, Czech was equated with German in administration and judiciary, and an electoral amendment in the same year ensured the Czech middle class a solid majority in the Bohemian parliament. The University of Prague was divided into a Czech and a German, and thereafter the Czechs had control over their own education system. The Slovenian minority was also catered for by Taaffe. Nevertheless, national tensions increased. The anti-Semitic agitator Georg von Schönerer (1842-1921) and other leading opponents of Taaffe andAustroslavism in 1882 drew up a pantyhose program proposing a union with the German Empire.

Economically, the years after 1867 were marked by a marked recovery. This entrepreneurial eraended with the stock market crash of 1873, which fueled popular anti-Semitism. During Taaffe’s reign, the wheels began to turn again. The protectionist tariff (1879) and the rapid expansion of the state railway network, together with the opening of new markets in the Balkans, meant that industrial production doubled in 1880-95 and tripled in 1880-1913. Austria was a technological leader in the brewing, glassworks and textile industries, but in line with the arms race, heavy industry became the most important sector, especially in Styria and Bohemia-Moravia. Although in 1910 the Czech lands accounted for only 36% of the population of Zisleithania, they made up 65% of the industrial workforce and 68% of the machinery; The Škoda factories became the main manufacturer of machinery and weapons.

Economic development brought new mass parties onto the scene. In 1889, the labor leader Victor Adler founded the Austrian Social Democratic Party, which in 1911 was split into a German and a Czech party. In 1893, Karl Lueger founded the Christian Social Party, which was based on the peasants and the lower bourgeoisie. Following the Democratic Electoral Act of 1906, these parties became dominant in parliament and social issues were put at the top of the political agenda. See also Austro-Marxism.

Frans Josef I was from 1848 emperor of Austria and from 1867 also king of Hungary until his death in 1916. Empress Elisabeth (Sisi or Sissi) was murdered in 1898 by an anarchist. Their son, Crown Prince Rudolf, committed suicide in 1889 (see the Mayerling drama).

After the defeat in 1866, foreign policy was directed primarily to the southeast. The most important rival was Russia, which with its pan-Slavicism appealed to the Slavic peoples of the Balkans and of Austria-Hungary itself. Russia’s reorganization of the Balkan states at the Peace of San Stefano in 1878 was overthrown the same year at the Berlin Congress, which left the administration of Bosnia and Herzegovina to the dual monarchy. This laid the groundwork for a conflict with Serbia, which from 1906 began to pursue a nationalist foreign policy facing Habsburg. Vienna’s decision to annex Bosnia and Herzegovina in 1908 excited both Serbs and Croats. The South Slavic minorities in Austria-Hungary now linked their dreams of freedom to the self-conscious Serbia, which in 1912-13 emerged strengthened from the Balkan warsagainst Turkey and Bulgaria. The assassination of the Habsburg heirs in Sarajevo on Serbian National Day, June 28, 1914, triggered World War I, leading to the abdication of Emperor Charles I in 1918 and the abolition of the monarchy. With the Treaty of Saint-Germain in 1919, the Austrian Republic had to abandon the German-speaking Sudetenland and South Tyrol, as well as the hope of being united with Germany.