Travel Guides: Austria Part 1
Austria is a landlocked country with approximately 8.3 million inhabitants, located in Central Europe. It borders Germany and Czech Republic in the north, Slovakia and Hungary east, Slovenia and Italy to the south, and Switzerland and Liechtenstein to the west.
The Austrian territory has 83.872 km² and is influenced by a temperate-alpine climate. Austria’s terrain is mountainous because of the Alps; only 32% of the country is below 500 meters (1640 m), and its highest point is 3,797 meters (12,457 ft). Most of the population speaks German, which is also the official language. Other official languages are Croatian, Hungarian and Slovenian. Austrian origins date back to Roman times when a Celtic kingdom was conquered by the Romans in the 15 century BC, and later Noricum became a Roman province in the first century. In 788 AC, King Charlemagne conquered the area, and introduced Christianity.
Under native Habsburg dynasty, Austria has become one of the great powers of Europe. In 1867, the Austrian Empire was merged into the Austria-Hungary. Austro-Hungarian Empire collapsed in 1918, at the end of World War. After establishing the First Republic in 1919, Austria was annexed into Greater Germany by the Nazi regime, the so-called Anschluss in 1938. This lasted until the end of World War II in 1945, after which Austria was occupied by the Allies. In 1955, Austrian Treaty restores Austria as a sovereign state. In the same year the Austrian Parliament has created a neutral statement, which said the country would become permanently neutral.
Today, Austria is a parliamentary representative democracy consisting of nine federal states. Vienna with a population of over 1.6 million is the largest city in Austria and it is also its capital. Austria is one of the richest countries in the world with a nominal per capita GDP of $ 43,570. The country has a highly developed standard of living, and in 2008 was ranked 14th in the world Human Development Index. Austria is a member of the United Nations since 1955. It joined the European Union in 1995. It signed the Schengen Agreement in 1995 and adopted the European currency, the euro, in 1999.
Occupied in antiquity, the center-European territory that is now Austria was occupied in pre-Roman times by more Celtic tribes. The Celtic Kingdom of Noricum was conquered by the Roman Empire, and converted into an imperial province. After the fall of Western Roman Empire, the area was invaded by Bavarians, Slavs and Avars. The Slavic tribe of Carantaniens migrated to the Alps, creating Carantania, which occupies much of eastern and central Austria of today. Charlemagne conquered the area in 788, encouraging the colonization and introducing Christianity. As part of Eastern Francia, the core areas that make up today the house of Austria were offered to the Babenberg House.
The area was called Marcha Orientalis and was offered to Leopold of Babenberg in 976. The first document attesting the German name of Austria dates back to 996, being written in the form Ostarrîchi. In 1156, Minus Privilegium conferred the status of a duchy to Austria. In 1192, the family received the duchy of Styria. With the death of Frederick II in 1246, Babenberg dynasty disappeared. As a result, Otakar II of Bohemia took control of the duchies of Austria, Styria and Carinthia. Its reign stopped when he was defeated by Rudolf I of Germany at Durnkrut (1278). Therefore, until the end of World War I, Austria’s history largely merges with that of its ruling dynasty, the Habsburg dynasty.
In the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries, the Habsburgs began take over the neighboring territories of the Duchy of Austria. In 1438, Duke Albert V of Austria was chosen as the successor of his stepfather, the Emperor Sigismund. Although Albert has not ruled just for a year from then on, every emperor of the Holy Roman Empire was to be a Habsburg, with one exception. The Habsburgs came in possession of territories that were not part of the hereditary ones. In 1477, Archduke Maximilian, the only son of Emperor Frederick III, married to Mary of Burgundy, bringing much of the Netherlands under the authority of his family. His son, Philip the Handsome, married the heiress of Castile and Aragon, and thus in possession of Spain, including the territories controlled by it in Italy, Africa and the New World.
In 1526, after the Battle of Mohacs, came under Austrian rule Bohemia and Hungary which had not been annexed by the Ottoman Empire. The Ottoman expansion into Hungary led to repeated conflicts between Austria and the Ottoman Empire, particularly in the so-called Long War, 1593-1606. Following the reign of Leopold I (1657-1705) and successful defense of Vienna in 1683 (under the Polish king John III Sobieski), a series of campaigns resulted in the inclusion of all Hungary under Austrian rule by the treaty in 1699 at Karlowitz. Emperor Charles VI had given up many of the territories acquired by the Empire in earlier years, because he saw the Habsburg dynasty was weakening imminent.
Charles was willing to give territories to other European powers in exchange for recognition by them that his daughter Maria Theresa as his heir. With the flourishing of Prussia, Austro-Prussian dualism began in Germany. Austria participated, along with Prussia and Russia, to the first and the third partition of Poland (1772, 1795). After the victory at Austerlitz, Napoleon abolished in 1806 the Holy Roman Empire. The Habsburgs promised revenge, but for the moment, Austria is removed from the war. Emperor Franz II of the Holy Roman Empire had taken the title of Francis I of Austria in 1804.
Since 1807 the Anglo-Russian secret calls to the Austrian Empire are pressing to go to war. The Habsburgs see in them a chance to save their reputation. Sure of the help from the coalition, the empire falls in 1809, in the war. However, it would complicate things. Exceptional General, Napoleon brings them to respect the Habsburgs and, through a series of lightning victories, the Coalition is crushed. Became chancellor of Austria, Klemens Metternich tried to revive the coalition. Skilful diplomat, as Napoleon was a great general, Metternich, who was ambassador to Paris, realized the silly mistakes they committed their powers in the previous anti-Napoleon campaign against France.
However, Metternich knew that England’s exhortations to continue the war at that time were talking in the wind. Consequently, the new chancellor of the empire reorganized the structure of intelligent conspired to find a favorable opportunity to defeat the French general, who called himself king and humiliated the royal houses of Europe (Romanovs, the Habsburgs, the Bourbons and the Hohenzollerns). Metternich’s first favorable moment was harnessed to attack Russia by Napoleon in 1812, under the pretext that the Emperor Alexander did not comply with the Continental Blockade imposed by Napoleon and the French draft was hostile.
An army of 600,000 French captured Moscow but lost the ability to destroy the Russian army at Borodino. In winter Napoleon was forced to order the withdrawal – which, because of harsh Russian winter and the continuous harassment of the tsarist army, turned into disaster, so the Great Army had only about 30,000 people managed to cross the Berezina River. Seizing the opportunity, members of the coalition attacked France. Austria remains, however, on hold, Metternich repeating the old mistakes. Like the French army was decimated by the Russian and cold and disease, so that Napoleon succeeds, with a hastily recruited army, to get two victories over the Prussians and Russians at Lutzen and Bautzen.
After that failed, the Allies are dismayed and asked Austria to go to war. Calculating the chances, Metternich proposed mediation initially, Napoleon, to save time, accepts, but later denied the claims exaggerated by the Austrian Chancellor. Metternich’s political triumphs and Austria entered the war with England, Prussia and Russia. While in Dresden, the Austrian army is defeated and on the run from the French, Metternich did not despair, sensing that France is on their way: in the Battle of Leipzig (October 16 to 19 1813), the forces of the VI coalition army defeated French, Paris is captured and Napoleon is exiled to Elba (April 1814). After the final defeat at Waterloo (18 June 1815), Napoleon is deported by the British on the island of St. Helena. Austria regains Tyrol, Dalmatia and Galicia.
Metternich then established the Holy Alliance (Russia, Prussia, Austria, England, France) and at the Congress of Vienna, Austria is recognized as a European power. In the Habsburg Empire, Klemens Metternich, the former ambassador, became chancellor, leading domestic and foreign policy. Austria became an absolute monarchy with full powers. This will cause discontent among peasants, working class and the bourgeoisie. The Holy Alliance claimed absolutist monarchies. In the Russian Empire cruelly repressed riots occur, Spain lost its colonies in America besides San Carlos and the Ottoman Empire was divided. Monarchies of the Holy Alliance were in a precarious balance.
In 1848 a bourgeoisie revolt broke out in France with a national character. The rebellion turns into a revolution that includes Europe. Barricades shall be held in Berlin. In the Italian riot as a pretext is unification. The revolution in the Hapsburg Empire followed various phases. The economic situation of the empire was one of the causes of revolution. While the political was one of the great powers of Europe, economically, Austria is much weaker because this industry has largely lagged behind the general progress, could not cope with industrialized countries whose goods had invaded European market after 1815.
There were maintained feudal relations in agriculture and the peasants were brutally oppressed. News of the revolution in Paris has spread rapidly. On March 11 appear the first demonstrations of the crowd. On 13 March 1848, revolution broke out in Vienna. On the same day Chancellor Metternich, occupying this post since 1829, runs in a cart laundresses. Students and workers call for the adoption of radical reforms. By 15 March the claims that were required by people required approval of Emperor Ferdinand I.
On March 13, the Hungarian poet Sandor Petofi publishes the Hungarian national anthem at Pesta. On March 15 the revolution breaks out in Pesta. On March 16 Ferdinand I was forced to accept the creation of the National Guard and academic legion in Vienna. After the outbreak of revolution in Pest, was formed an independent government, established on March 17 and led by Count Bathyanny. Bathyanny will proclaim Hungary’s independence on 7 April. Shortly before the Pozsony (today: Bratislava), Venetians launch the phrase “Italia fara da se” (Italy will emerge by itself) to free Italy.
In March is proclaimed republic of Venice’s San Marco by lawyer Daniel Manin (1804-1857). A few days later the Austrian troops are expelled from Milan and Piedmont declares war on Austria. But this situation will not last. Pamper defeat reactionary forces of the Holy revolution. After complete suppression of the revolution in Europe, Franz Joseph begins a policy of repression against the working class, the peasantry, the former revolutionary. In 1853, a journeyman tailor from Hungary Janos Libeny, wanted to avenge his fellow Austrian who lay in prison so he decides to kill the king. For this he goes to Vienna, where he prepared to assassinate Franz Joseph who went accompanied by Count O’Donnell, his aide. Libeny throws himself onto the king with the dagger, but only manages to hurt him. Franz Joseph is recovering quickly.
Since then, the repression against the revolutionary potential is getting worse. But Austria has to face other events. The suppressed revolution in Austria triumphed in France. There was ousted King Louis Philippe and the French bourgeoisie proclaimed the Second Republic. As leader was elected Charles Louis Napoleon Bonaparte, a descendant of the great Emperor of France who troubled Austria. But over time people have realized that only a return of the monarchy could solve their problem. In 1853 Napoleon Bonaparte is proclaimed Emperor. The new emperor had a great sympathy for the Latin peoples. In 1859 he helped Piedmont against Austria. Emperor Franz Joseph armies are beaten and Lombardy is conquered. In 1861 it is proclaimed the kingdom of Italy of Victor Emmanuel II. Camille Cavour, Piedmont Chancellor, “Metternich of Italy”, gives the city of Nice to France.
Austria lost its possessions in Italy. The government was displeased. Habsburg Empire was in a serious condition but managed to maintain. But soon will receive a new blow. Prussia was a great kingdom under the leadership of Wilhelm I, dreamed up a great German Empire. To this end had gone to war to conquer Denmark and Schleswig Holstein, Jutland regions. Then he had annexed Hanover. Prussia and the Austrian Empire were hostile to its ambitions as it believes that only he could create a German empire.
In 1866 starts a war with Prussia. Austria is defeated in Sadova. Habsburg Empire was seized by a serious crisis that is marked by the defeat in war. Franz Joseph I tried to save Austria from this crisis by creating in 1867 the Austro-Hungarian dualism. Hungarians and Austrians had the same rights as they participated in leadership with the empire. They were all subjected to the Habsburg monarchy. Other peoples of the Empire were considered inferior and had no rights. Austria became Austria-Hungary, named after the current compromise in Ausgleich.
The Austro-Hungarian dualism temporarily saved the state from serious crisis that engulfed it. After emancipation Hungarians believed that every nation can rise as well. Austrians and Hungarians will trigger an endless persecution against the other nations of the empire. Austro-Hungarian dualism will be a bad time for people embedded in the state. Austria became part of the double-monarchy Austria-Hungary in 1867. In 1871 King of Prussia Wihelm II defeats the French, banishes Napoleon III and Otto von Bismarck proclaimed the sovereign of the united German Empire. Thus, the borders of Austria issued a new sovereign power.
Soon a new drama shakes the Austro-Hungarian Empire. The throne Crown Prince Rudolf is found dead at Mayerling. His mother Elizabeth was part of the Bavarian family. Rudolf Franz Joseph quarreled often with his father. Austrian emperor decided to marry him with Princess Stefanie of Belgium. But Rudolf was secretly in love with a young woman, Maria Vetsera. Emperor Franz Joseph learned the archduke and compelled to part with it. Rudolf did not bear the thought of Mary to leave with her and committed suicide in the Mayerling hunting lodge. It is designated heir to the throne Archduke Franz Ferdinand.
In 1878 a new event occurs. Russia and Romania declare war on Ottoman Empire. Bulgaria is released and becomes an independent state. A large Russian army is responsible to conquer Constantinople to the Turks but scared at the San Stefano peace signed by Bulgaria and Romania came out of their control. Austria-Hungary did not lose the opportunity, and deal with them armies of Bosnia and Herzegovina. By the Treaty of San Stefano Habsburgs held only occupied the province, they are not attached. Franz Joseph, under pressure from major powers, will take solace from the fact that the annexation will come later (1910).
But the king did not stop the worries in the Balkans. The new heir to the throne, Archduke Franz Ferdinand von Habsburg-Este, treading in the footsteps of Rudolph, refused to marry a representative of the nobility, decided to marry a lady of the court of Archduke Ferdinand in Bratislava (Presburg), the Czech Sofia Chotko. The Austrians do not ever recognized the nobility of ancient origin Chotko account as Austro-Hungarian dualism only Hungarians and Austrians recognized as privileged people in the empire. Franz Joseph initially wanted to refuse the archduke, but it did not give up, even announced that he renounces the privileges of a throne, only to marry Sofia.
Franz Joseph, old and tired, accepted the marriage of Franz Ferdinand and Sophie provided that it is a left-handed marriage. Their sons will be unable to climb the Habsburg throne, will not carry any title and shall bear the surname of the mother. Franz Ferdinand accepted the terms, the marriage taking place in 1900. The only reaction was a message from the king by Sophie announcing that she received the title of Duchess of Hohenberg. As these events unfolded in silence, the news arrived in Vienna of the assassination of Empress Elisabeth. One night, while hurrying to catch a boat, was stabbed by Luigi Luchenni, a revolutionary. An hour later, the Empress Elizabeth died.
Informed by the death of his wife by Par, Franz Joseph reacted in his own way and indifferent. He quickly moved to solve state problems. The early twentieth-century Austro-Hungarian meant for a period of profound change. The subjected peoples began to show trends quickly stifled independent repression by the Austro-Hungary. In 1910, Bosnia and Herzegovina, which was occupied by Austro-Hungarian army since 1878, was annexed by the empire. This provoked a wave of discontent in Serbia and the Balkans. Franz Joseph was adamant, however. He organized the 1914 military maneuver in Bosnia and Herzegovina.
Since he was too old to participate in these maneuvers, Franz Joseph appointed the heir to the throne, Archduke Franz Ferdinand, to lead. Franz Ferdinand immediately left to Sarajevo with his wife, Sofia. There, on the streets, on 28 June 1914, Franz Ferdinand was killed along with Sofia by a Serbian nationalist, Gavrilo Princip. At that time the situation became explosive. Tensions between Serbia and Austria-Hungary were even more pronounced. In Europe two blocks were formed before 1914: at the Central Powers (Germany and Austria-Hungary, which will join Turkey, Bulgaria) and the Entente (the British Empire, France and Russia who will join Italy, Romania, USA). These two blocks each had a major influence on Europe and hostile political and economic reasons.
On 28 July 1914, Austria-Hungary declares war on Serbia. Russia supports Serbia and declared war on Austria. Germany as an ally of Austria declares war on Russia and France. It is violated Belgium’s neutrality by the Central Powers and in response, the United Kingdom also enters the war on the Entente. In November the Ottoman Empire joins the conflict of the Central Powers, and Greece joined the Entente.
World War I began. In fighting in the east, the Austro-Hungarian army was beaten by Russian troops. Instead, it got big wins over Italy and Romania entered in the war in 1915, respectively 1916. On the throne of the Austro-Hungarian came Emperor Karl IV. War began to evolve rapidly toward failure. In 1918 there were more riots. Emperor Karl tried to sign a separate peace treaty. The Ottoman Empire and Russia have emerged from the war. By contrast, Romania reentered the war. In Serbia in 1914 led by Potiorek Austrian troops are defeated at Cerna and Kolubara, but Bulgaria will soon conquer Serbia.
In 1918, the situation was desperate. The front in Thessaloniki was destroyed and the Italians advanced in Carinthia. Austria was in a desperate situation. In October 1918, Karl von Habsburg abdicated. Habsburg Empire that remained great and powerful for two centuries has been shot dead. Nations that were embedded in the empire formed independent states. Thus, ended one of the greatest powers of Europe. The monarchy was divided again, being defeated in World War camp, forming today’s Austria. The existence of the Republic of Austria was recognized by the Treaty of Saint Germain en Lavree signed on September 10, 1919 between Austria and the Allies in WWI.
Austria was annexed to Nazi Germany in 1938 (“Anschluss”). The Allies occupied Austria at the end of World War II and until 1955, when the country gained full independence on condition of maintaining neutrality. However, after the collapse of communism in Eastern Europe, Austria became increasingly involved in European affairs, and in 1995 and 1999, Austria joined the European Union and the euro monetary system in question.
Modern politics – Head of State is the President who is elected by popular vote every six years. The President shall appoint the Chancellor, normally the leader of the largest party in parliament in elections. The Austrian Parliament has two chambers, the Bundesrat (Federal Council), consisting of 64 representatives of states according to population, and Nationalrat (national council), which has 183 members elected by direct vote. After three decades of social-democratic majority (SPÖ), a right-wing coalition was formed in 2000, consisting of the conservative People’s Party (ÖVP) and Freedom Party (FPÖ). However, after some problems the FPÖ and the party leadership on policy, Federal Chancellor Wolfgang Schüssel (ÖVP) announced on 9 September 2002 that general elections would be held early, in late November.
On 28 February 2003, the coalition of ÖVP and FPÖ was continued, again with Wolfgang Schüssel (ÖVP) as Federal Chancellor. Vice-Chancellor was Herbert Haupt (FPÖ) until he was replaced by Hubert Gorbach (FPO) on 20 October 2003. Before this, discussions took place with a long-term survey (Sondierungsgespräche) between the ÖVP and FPÖ other major parties, the SPÖ and Green Party.
As a federal republic, Austria is divided into nine Bundesländer (federal states). These are: Burgenland; Carinthia (Kärnten); Lower Austria (Niederösterreich); Salzburg; Styria (Steiermark); Tirol; Upper Austria (Oberösterreich); Vienna (Wien); Vorarlberg. Being situated in the Alps, western and southern Austria is famous as a winter sports destination. The highest mountain is Grossglockner, with 3798 m. The north and east of the country are mostly rolling terrain. The climate is temperate, with cold winters and cool summers. The main cities are the capital Vienna on the Danube, and Salzburg, Innsbruck, Graz and Linz.
Austria, with well-developed market economy and its high standard of living, is closely tied to other EU economies, particularly the German. EU member status has brought a wave of foreign investors attracted by Austria’s access to the unified European market and proximity to EU aspirant economies. On the other hand, slow growth of the EU has influenced the Austrian economy: Growth rate in 2001 was 0.7% in 2002 to 1.4% in 2003 to 0.8% respectively in January 2004, 9%. GDP in 2003: 5.1 billion. PIP per capita in 2003 was 27,930 euros.
Nearly ten percent of Austrians are not descendants of Austrians but from surrounding countries, especially in former Eastern bloc nations. More than 50,000 indigenous people living in Slovenia Austrian provinces of Carinthia and Styria. It is now a large group of immigrants at work. The official language, German is spoken by everyone; the dialect is similar to that spoken in southern Germany. There is however a separate standard language, German, Austrian, which has several differences from the German spoken in Germany today. More than three-quarters of Austrians are Roman Catholics. There are also Protestant communities with ancient traditions, communities and mosaics, after the Second World War, the Islamic community.
Austria was the birthplace of many famous composers such as Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, Johann Strauss Sr., Johann Strauss Jr., Arnold Schoenberg, Anton Webern and Alban Berg (the last three were part of the famous Second Viennese School). In Vienna major works were composed renowned composers such as Ludwig van Beethoven, Joseph Haydn, etc. Other famous Austrian physicists were Ludwig Boltzmann and Erwin Schrödinger, philosophers Ludwig Wittgenstein and Kurt Goedel, psychoanalyst Sigmund Freud, the poet Gustav Klimt and the painter Peter Rosegger.
Great jurists such as Rudolf von Ihering, Hans Kelsen, etc. made famous Viennese school of law, particularly in public law and public international law. The economy was the chief Austrian Friedrich von Hayek, Karl Popper and Joseph Alois Schumpeter. Being situated in the Alps, Austria was the country home for great skiing, as Toni Sailer, Hermann Maier, Annemarie Moser-Pröll and Anita Wachter.
The UNESCO World Heritage List included the following facilities in Austria: The historic center of Salzburg (1996); Vienna Schönbrunn Palace and Gardens (1996); Cultural Landscape of Hallstatt-Dachstein Salzkammergut province (1997); Line of the Semmering Railway (1998); historic old town of Graz (1999); Wachau Cultural Landscape (2000); historic old town of Vienna (2001); cultural and natural landscape of the Lake Neusiedlersee (2001).11