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2005 | 40 | 83-111

Article title

The United States and Austria in 1932-1945

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At the peace conference ending WW I, the decisions made by the Allied Powers (including the USA) included the dissolution of Austro-Hungary, to be replaced by the so called succession states: Austria, Hungary, Czechoslovakia, Rumania, Yugoslavia, and Poland. President Wilson although not convinced about the correctness of this step finally supported the Allies arbitrary decision to establish the Republic of Austria and reject the Austrian postulates about a union with Germany or the creation of a German Republic of Austria. Politically and economically weak, Austria was now situated amidst a 'Balkanised' Europe and became its weak spot, threatened by the rivalry between Hitler and Mussolini. The United States, which during the 1930s only observed the events in Europe from afar, were favourably inclined towards all attempts at reinforcing Austria by including her into the wider economic system of the Danube countries. In 1938 the Roosevelt Administration neither condemned nor recognised the 'Anschluss', although for purely practical reasons it de facto acknowledged its consequences. During the WW II, the Americans once again became interested in Austria. The idea of a Danube federation, conceived as a remake of the Austria-Hungarian monarchy, was revived. The Moscow declaration of 1943 and Stalin's enmity towards supra-state structures put an end to all monarchic and federation ideas. From that time, the Great Three, which had annulled the 'Anschluss', embarked upon rebuilding an independent and democratic Austria within pre-1938 frontiers. The fundamental Allied objective was to separate Austria from Germany, followed by de-Nazification, demilitarisation, democratic elections, and the appointment of a cabinet. Initially, the United States did not intend to participate in a military occupation of Austria. This initial intention was not altered until December 1944, in the wake of Soviet victories and the consolidation of Soviet domination in Eastern Europe. Separate negotiations concerned the provisional Renner government established in the Soviet occupation zone, which the Americans recognised only after its reorganisation and considerable expansion. Democratic elections under the supervision of the Powers, the appointment of a new government, and a total defeat of the communists closed the first period in the history of the Second Republic.


  • H. Marczewska-Zagdanska, Instytut Historii PAN, ul.Rynek Starego Miasta 29/31, 00-272 Warszawa, Poland.


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