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Austria (ôˈstrēə), Ger. Österreich [eastern march], officially Republic of Austria, federal republic (2020 est. pop. 8,917,000), 32,374 sq mi (83,849 sq km), central Europe. It is bounded by Slovenia and Italy (S), Switzerland and Liechtenstein (W), Germany and the Czech Republic (N), and Slovakia and Hungary (E). Its capital and by far its largest city is Vienna.

Land and People

The Alps traverse Austria from west to east and occupy three fourths of the country. The highest peak in Austria is the Grossglockner (12,460 ft/3,798 m) in the Hohe Tauern group. The scenic beauty of Tyrol, the Salzkammergut, Innsbruck, the Austrian Alps, Kärnten, and Salzburg city, and the attractions of Vienna and other cultural centers have made Austria a major European tourist center. The country is drained by the Danube and its tributaries, the Inn, the Enns, the Mürz, and the Mur.

Its nine provinces (Ger. Bundesländer) are Vorarlberg, Tyrol, Salzburg, Carinthia, Styria, Upper Austria, Lower Austria, Burgenland, and Vienna. Over 91% of Austrians are of Germanic ethnic origin, and some 74% are Roman Catholics. German is the official language, but Slovene, Croatian, and Hungarian are also spoken. Since 1945, Austria has received nearly 2 million refugees from the former Yugoslavia and elsewhere in Europe, though many of these continued on to other destinations. There are universities in Vienna, Salzburg, Innsbruck, Graz, Klagenfurt, Leoben, and Krems an der Donau.


Forestry, cattle raising, and dairying are prevalent throughout the alpine provinces; Vorarlberg has an ancient textile industry. About 3% of the population is employed in mostly small-scale agriculture; the country is nearly self-sufficient in terms of food production. In Upper and Lower Austria and in Burgenland, tillage agriculture predominates; the chief crops are potatoes, sugar beets, fruit, barley, rye, and oats.

Manufacturing is diversified and accounts for over 30% of the gross national product. More than half of the industries are concentrated in the Vienna basin; Linz, Steyr, Graz, Leoben, Innsbruck, and Salzburg are the other chief industrial centers. Many of the country's industries were nationalized after World War II, together with the largest commercial banks. The chief manufactures are machinery, vehicles, iron and steel, communications equipment, chemicals, and paper and wood products. Food processing is also important, and many minerals necessary for industry (graphite, iron, magnesium, copper, zinc, and lignite) are found in Austria. The country also has deposits of crude oil and salt, and is rich in hydroelectric power. In recent years, service industries, including a large banking sector, have become important to Austria's economy, and they now employ some 70% of the nation's workforce. Tourism is also important. The main trading partners are Germany, Italy, Switzerland, and the United States.


Austria is governed under the constitution of 1920 as revised in 1929, and has a mixed presidential-parliamentary form of government. The president, who is the head of state, is elected by popular vote for a six-year term and nominates the chancellor (prime minister) and confirms the cabinet. The chancellor, who is head of government, heads the cabinet, which is responsible to the house of representatives (Nationalrat) of parliament. The House of Representatives is popularly elected according to proportional representation. The upper house of parliament, the Senate (Bundesrat), is chosen by the provincial assemblies. Administratively, Austria is divided into nine states.


During the past 10 centuries, the term Austria has designated a variety of geographic and political concepts. In its narrowest sense Austria has included only the present-day provinces of Upper and Lower Austria, including Vienna; in its widest meaning the term has covered the far-flung domains of the imperial house of Hapsburg. Its present connotation—German-speaking Austria—dates only from 1918. This article deals mainly with the history of German-speaking Austria. For wider historical background, see Holy Roman Empire; Hapsburg; Austro-Hungarian Monarchy; Hungary; Bohemia; and Netherlands, Austrian and Spanish.

The Rise of Austria

Austria is located at the crossroads of Europe; Vienna is at the gate of the Danubian plain, and the Brenner Pass in W Austria links Germany and Italy. From earliest times Austrian territory has been a thoroughfare, a battleground, and a border area. It was occupied by Celts and Suebi when the Romans conquered (15 B.C.–A.D. 10) and divided it among the provinces of Rhaetia, Noricum, and Upper Pannonia. After the 5th cent. A.D., Huns, Ostrogoths, Lombards, and Bavarians overran and devastated the provinces. By c.600, Slavs from the east had occupied all of modern Styria, Lower Austria, and Carinthia.

In 788, Charlemagne conquered the area and set up the first Austrian (i.e., Eastern) March in the present Upper and Lower Austria, to halt the inroads of the Avars. Colonization was encouraged, and Christianity (which had been introduced under the Romans) was again spread energetically. After Charlemagne's death (814) the march soon fell to the Moravians and later to the Magyars, from whom it was taken (955) by Emperor Otto I. Otto reconstituted the march and attached it to Bavaria, but, in 976, Otto II bestowed it as a separate fief on Leopold of Babenberg, founder of the first Austrian dynasty. Emperor Frederick I raised (1156) Austria to a duchy, and, in 1192, Styria also passed under Babenberg rule.

The 11th and 12th cent. saw the height of Austrian feudalism and also witnessed the marked development of towns as the Danube was converted to a great trade route. After the death (1246) of the last Babenberg, King Ottocar II of Bohemia acquired (1251–69) Austria, Styria, Carinthia, and Carniola. Fearing his power, the German princes elected (1273) Rudolf of Hapsburg German king. Rudolf I asserted (1282) his royal prerogative to reclaim the four duchies from Ottocar and incorporate them in his domains. After the murder (1308) of Rudolf's son, Albert I, the German princes balked at electing another member of the ambitious family.

Albert's ducal successors enlarged the Hapsburg holdings by acquiring Tyrol (1363) and Trieste (1382) and extended their influence over the ecclesiastic states of Salzburg, Trent, and Brixen (see Bressanone), which, however, remained independent until 1803. Marriage allowed Albert II to be elected German king in 1438. Beginning with Albert II, the rulers of the Holy Roman Empire were always chosen from the Hapsburg dynasty. Despite their vast imperial preoccupations, the emperors always considered German Austria the prized core of their dominions. During the long reign of Frederick III (1440–93), the protracted Hapsburg wars with France began. In 1526, Austria, Bohemia, and Hungary were united under one crown (see Ferdinand I, emperor). In the same year Vienna was besieged for two weeks by troops of the Ottoman Empire under Sulayman the Magnificent, who had made a forceful advance into Europe. The Turkish threat to Austria ebbed and then climaxed again in the second siege of Vienna in 1683.

The patterns of medievalism were weakening in Austria, especially as the money economy spread, and in the 16th cent. the commercial revolution diminished the importance of Austrian trade routes and of the ancient gold and silver mines of Tyrol and Carinthia. Economic and political instability in the 16th cent. precipitated the spread of the Protestant Reformation, which the Hapsburg rulers attempted to counter by nurturing the Counter Reformation. The alliance then formed between church and state continued throughout the history of the monarchy.

The Austrian peasantry, especially in Tyrol, had gained some advantages in the Peasants' War of 1524–26; in general, however, the rising, backed by some Protestants but not by Luther, was defeated. Suppression of Protestantism was at first impossible, and, under Maximilian II, Lutheran nobles were granted considerable toleration. Rudolph II and Matthias pursued policies of partial Catholicization, and, under Ferdinand II, anti-Protestant vigor helped to precipitate the Thirty Years War (1618–48). Protestant Bohemia and Moravia, defeated by the Austrians at the White Mt. (1620), became virtual Austrian provinces. Austria proper remained relatively unscathed in the long holocaust; after the Peace of Westphalia the Hapsburg lands emerged as a distinct empire, whereas the Holy Roman Empire drifted into a mere shadow existence.

The Austrian Empire

The monarchy, although repressive of free speech and worship, was far from absolute; taxation and other powers rested with the provincial estates for a further century. Emperor Charles VI (1711–40), whose dynastic wars had drained the state, secured the succession to the Hapsburg lands for his daughter, Maria Theresa, by means of the pragmatic sanction. Maria Theresa's struggle with Frederick II of Prussia in the War of the Austrian Succession (see Austrian Succession, War of the) and the Seven Years War opened a long struggle for dominance in the German lands.

Except for the loss of Silesia, Maria Theresa held her own. The provincial estates were reduced in power, and an efficient centralized bureaucracy was created; as the nobles were attracted to bureaucratic service their power as a class was weakened. Maria Theresa's husband, Francis I, became Holy Roman emperor in 1745, but his position was largely titular. The major event of Maria Theresa's later reign was the first partition of Poland (1772; see Poland, partitions of); in that transaction and in the third partition (1795) Austria renewed its eastward expansion.

Joseph II, who succeeded her, impetuously carried forward the reforms which his mother had cautiously begun. His attempts to further centralize and Germanize his scattered and disparate dominions met stubborn resistance; his project to consolidate his state by exchanging the Austrian Netherlands for Bavaria was balked by Frederick II. An exemplar of “benevolent despotism” and a disciple of the Enlightenment, Joseph also decreed a series of revolutionary agrarian, fiscal, religious, and judicial reforms; however, opposition, especially from among the clergy and the landowners, forced his successor, Leopold II, to rescind many of them. In Joseph's reign the Austrian bourgeoisie began to emerge as a social and cultural force. Music and architecture (see Vienna) flourished in 18th-century Austria, and modern Austrian literature (see German literature) emerged early in the 19th cent.

In the reign of Francis II, Austria was drawn (1792) into war with revolutionary France (see French Revolutionary Wars) and with Napoleon I. The treaties of Campo Formio (1797) and Lunéville (1801) preluded the dissolution (1806) of the Holy Roman Empire, and in 1804, Francis II took the title “Francis I, emperor of Austria.” His rout at Austerlitz (1805) led to the severe Treaty of Pressburg (see Pressburg, Treaty of).

An upsurge of patriotism resulted in the renewal of war with Napoleon in 1809; Austria's defeat at Wagram led to the even more humiliating Peace of Schönbrunn (see under Schönbrunn). Austria was forced to side with Napoleon in the Russian campaign of 1812, but in 1813 it again joined the coalition against Napoleon; an Austrian, Prince Karl Philipp von Schwarzenberg, headed the allied forces. The Congress of Vienna (1814–15; see Vienna, Congress of) did not restore to Austria its former possessions in the Netherlands and in Baden but awarded it Lombardy, Venetia, Istria, and Dalmatia.

As the leading power of both the German Confederation and the Holy Alliance, Austria under the ministry of Metternich dominated European politics. Conservatism and the repression of nationalistic strivings characterized the age. Nevertheless, the Metternich period was one of great cultural achievement, particularly in music and literature.

The revolutions of 1848 shook the Hapsburg empire but ultimately failed because of the conflicting economic goals of the middle and lower classes and because of the conflicting nationalist aspirations that set the revolutionary movements of Germans, Slavs, Hungarians, and Italians against each other. Revolts were at first successful throughout the empire (see Risorgimento; Galicia; Bohemia; Hungary); in Vienna the revolutionists drove out Metternich (Mar., 1848). Emperor Ferdinand granted (April) a liberal constitution, which a constituent assembly replaced (July) with a more democratic one. After a new outbreak Vienna was bombarded, and the revolutionists were punished by troops under General Windischgrätz. Prince Felix zu Schwarzenberg became premier and engineered the abdication of Ferdinand in favor of Francis Joseph.

Absolutism returned with the dissolution of the constituent assembly. Austrian leadership in Germany was reasserted at the Convention of Olmütz in 1850. Alexander Bach intensified (1852–59) Schwarzenberg's centralizing policy, thus heightening national tensions within the empire. But economic prosperity was promoted by the lowering of internal tariff barriers, and several reforms dating from 1848 were upheld, notably the complete abolition of feudal dues.

The military and political weakness of the empire was demonstrated by the Austrian loss of Lombardy in the Italian War of 1859. Attempts to solve the nationalities problem—the “October Diploma” (1860), which created a central legislature and gave increased powers to the provincial assemblies of nobles, and the “February Patent,” which transferred many of these powers to the central legislature—failed. Prussia seized the opportunity to drive Austria out of Germany. After involving Austria in the war over Schleswig-Holstein in 1864, Bismarck found an easy pretext for attacking. Overwhelmingly defeated by Prussia at Sadová (or Sadowa; also know as the battle of Königgrätz) in 1866 (see Austro-Prussian War), Austria was forced to cede Venetia to Italy. With this debacle Austria's political role in Germany came to an end.

A reorganization of the government of the empire became inevitable, and in 1867 a compromise (Ger. Ausgleich) with Hungarian moderate nationalists established a dual state, the Austro-Hungarian Monarchy. But the realm, a land of diverse peoples ruled by a German-Magyar minority, increasingly became an anachronism in a nationalistic age. Failure to provide a satisfactory status for the other nationalities, notably the Slavs, played a major role in bringing about World War I. Important developments in Austrian society during this period were the continued irresponsibility of the nobility and the backwardness of the peasantry, the growth of a socialist working class, widespread anti-Semitism stimulated by the large-scale movement to Austria of poor Jews from the eastern provinces, and extraordinary cultural creativity in Vienna.

The disastrous course of the war led to the breakup of the monarchy in 1918. Charles I renounced power; after a peaceful revolution staged by the Socialist and Pan-German parties, German Austria was proclaimed (Nov. 12) a republic and a part of Greater Germany.

Modern Austria

The Treaty of Saint-Germain (1919) fixed the present Austrian borders and forbade (as did the Treaty of Versailles) any political or economic union (Ger. Anschluss) with Germany. This left Austria a small country with some 7 million inhabitants, one third of whom lived in a single large city (Vienna) that had been geared to be the financial and industrial hub of a large state. The Dual Monarchy had been virtually self-sufficient economically; its breakup and the consequent erection of tariff walls deprived Austria of raw materials, food, and markets. In the postwar period, starvation and influenza exacted a heavy toll, especially in Vienna. These ills were followed by currency inflation, ended only in 1924 by means of League of Nations aid, following upon chronic unemployment, financial scandals and crises, and growing political unrest.

“Red” Vienna, under the moderate socialist government of Karl Seitz, became increasingly opposed by the “Black” (i.e., clericalist) rural faction, which won the elections of 1921. The cabinet of Social Democrat Karl Renner was succeeded by Christian Socialist and Pan-German coalitions under Schober, Seipel, and others. Unrest culminated, in 1927, in violent riots in Vienna; two rival private militias—the Heimwehr of the monarchist leader E. R. von Starhemberg and the Schutzbund of the socialists—posed a threat to the authority of the state. Economic crisis loomed again in the late 1920s. National Socialism, feeding in part on anti-Semitism, gained rapidly and soon absorbed the Pan-German party.

Engelbert Dollfuss, who became chancellor in 1932, though irreconcilably opposed to Anschluss and to National Socialism, tended increasingly toward corporative fascism and relied heavily on Italian support. His stern suppression of the socialists precipitated a serious revolt (1934), which was bloodily suppressed by the army. Soon afterward a totalitarian state was set up, and all independent political parties were outlawed. In July, 1934, the National Socialists assassinated Dollfuss but failed to seize the government.

Kurt von Schuschnigg succeeded Dollfuss. German pressure on Austria increased; Schuschnigg was forced to legalize the operations of the National Socialists and to appoint members of that party to cabinet posts. Schuschnigg planned a last-minute effort to avoid Anschluss by holding a plebiscite, but Hitler forced him to resign. In Mar., 1938, Austria was occupied by German troops and became part of the Reich. Arthur Seyss-Inquart became the Nazi governor.

In 1943, the Allies agreed to reestablish an independent Austria at the end of World War II. In 1945, Austria was conquered by Soviet and American troops, and a provisional government was set up under Karl Renner. The pre-Dollfuss constitution was restored with revisions; the country was divided into separate occupation zones, each controlled by an Allied power.

Economic recovery was hindered by the decline of trade between Western and Eastern Europe and by the division into zones. Austria was formally recognized by the Western powers in 1946, but because of Soviet disagreement with the West over reparations, the occupation continued. On May 15, 1955, a formal treaty between Great Britain, France, the United States, the USSR, and Austria restored full sovereignty to the country. The treaty prohibited the possession of major offensive weapons and required Austria to pay heavy reparations to the USSR. Austria proclaimed its perpetual neutrality. In 1955 it was admitted to the United Nations.

By the 1960s unprecedented prosperity had been attained. Austria had joined the European Free Trade Association in 1959, but association with the European Economic Community (Common Market) was held back by Soviet opposition. Politically, a nearly equal balance of power between the conservative People's party and the Socialist party resulted in successive coalition cabinets until 1966, when the People's party won a clear majority. They were ousted by the Socialists in the 1970 elections, and Bruno Kreisky became chancellor. A long-standing dispute with Italy over the German-speaking population of the Trentino–Alto Adige region of Italy was dealt with in a treaty ratified in 1971.

In 1983 the Socialist government fell, and the Socialists were forced to form a coalition with the far-right Freedom party. Austria captured world attention in 1986 when former UN secretary-general Kurt Waldheim was elected president despite allegations that he had been involved in atrocities as a German army staff officer in the Balkans during World War II. Also in 1986 the Socialists (subsequently the Social Democrats) and the People's party again joined together in a “grand coalition,” with Social Democrat Franz Vranitzky as chancellor; it retained control of the government through the 1990s.

Austria began a partial privatization of state-owned industries in the late 1980s and entered the European Union (EU) in 1995. Waldheim was succeeded as president in 1992 by Thomas Klestil, the candidate of the People's party; Klestil was reelected in 1998. In 1997, Chancellor Vranitzky resigned and was replaced by Social Democrat Viktor Klima.

In the Oct., 1999, elections, the People's party placed third, just barely behind the far-right Freedom party, whose leader, Jörg Haider, was criticized as demagogic and nativist. The electoral results complicated the formation of a stable new government, which was only achieved in Feb., 2000, when Wolfgang Schüssel of the People's party became chancellor of a People's party–Freedom party coalition. Austria was quickly ostracized by other EU nations because of the Freedom party's participation in the government, and Haider—who had not joined the government—subsequently resigned as party leader. The sanctions imposed by the EU came to be regarded as threatening by smaller EU countries, however, and on the recommendation of an EU fact-finding commission they were lifted in Sept., 2000. Feuding within the Freedom party led to the collapse of the government two years later.

Elections in Nov., 2002, were a major setback for the Freedom party, which was a distant third, while the People's party won a plurality. Despite the collapse of their coalition several months before, the People's party again formed (Feb., 2003) a government with the Freedom party, with Schüssel as chancellor. A little more than a year later, in Apr., 2004, Heinz Fischer, a Social Democrat, was elected president; his victory, the first by a Social Democrat since 1986, was regarded as a sign of voter unhappiness with the government. A split in the Freedom party led party leader Haider to form (2005) the Alliance for Austria's Future and exclude extremist Freedom party members, and the Alliance replaced the Freedom party in the government.

In the Oct., 2006, parliamentary elections the Social Democrats won the largest number of seats, besting the People's party, but Social Democratic leader Alfred Gusenbauer needed to form a coalition in order to govern, and by the end of 2006 he had not succeeded in doing so. The Freedom party finished third in the voting, while Haider's Alliance finished fifth, after the Greens. In Jan., 2007, the Social Democratic and People's parties formed a coalition government with Gusenbauer as chancellor, but the government collapsed in July, 2008.

The Sept., 2008, elections saw the Social Democrats again win a plurality, but with slightly less than 30% of the vote; the two far-right parties combined nearly equaled that. Haider died in an automobile accident the following month. In December, the Social Democratic–People's party coalition was re-formed, with Social Democrat Werner Faymann as chancellor. Fischer was reelected president in Apr., 2010. The share of the vote won by the Social Democratic and People's parties further eroded, to 27% and 24% respectively, in the Sept., 2013, parliamentary elections; two months later, they again formed a coalition government, with Faymann as chancellor.

After neither candidate of the governing parties secured enough votes to make the presidential runoff in 2016, Faymann resigned. Christian Kern, a Social Democrat and head of the Austrian Federal Railways, succeeded Faymann as chancellor. In May, Alexander Van der Bellen, a long-time member of the Greens, narrowly won the presidency, defeating the Freedom party candidate, Norbert Hofer, but irregularities in the ballot counting led Austria's constitutional court to order a revote. In December, Van der Bellen won again but by a sizable margin.

In the Oct., 2017, parliamentary elections the People's party, led by Sebastian Kurz, won a plurality with a third of the vote; Kurz formed a coalition government with the Freedom party, the third largest party. A political scandal involving members of the Freedom party, who were videotaped offering public contracts to a woman posing as a wealthy Russian if she purchased an Austrian newspaper and supported them, led to the collapse of Kurz's government in May, 2019. A technocratic cabinet headed by Brigitte Bierlein was then appointed, and new elections were held in September. Kurz's People's party won a larger plurality, while the Social Democrats and Freedom party lost seats and the Greens, who had had no seats, became the fourth largest party. In Jan., 2020, the People's party and the Greens formed a coalition government, with Kurz as chancellor.


See R. A. Kann, The Multinational Empire: Nationalism and National Reform in the Habsburg Monarchy, 1848–1918 (1950, repr. 1970); V. L. Tapie, The Rise and Fall of the Habsburg Monarchy (tr. 1971); K. Waldheim, The Austrian Example (tr. 1973); E. Wangermann, The Austrian Achievement, 1700–1800 (1973); W. M. Johnston, The Austrian Mind: An Intellectual and Social History, 1848–1938 (1976); K. Steiner et al., ed., Modern Austria (1981); B. Head, State and Economy in Australia (1983); B. Jelavich, Modern Austria: Empire and Republic, 1815–1986 (1987); M. A. Sully, A Contemporary History of Austria (1990).

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The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.



The name Österreich (Late Latin Austria) derives from Old German Ostarrichi, “eastern country.” Official name, the Austrian Republic (Republik Österreich).

Austria is a state in Central Europe. Bounded on the north by the Federal Republic of Germany and Czechoslovakia, on the east by Hungary, on the south by Yugoslavia and Italy, and on the west by Switzerland and Liechtenstein. Area, 83,800 sq km. Population in 1969, 7,361,000. Capital, Vienna.

Austria is a federal republic made up of eight Lander and the capital, Vienna, which is administratively equal to them (see Table 1). The existing constitution was adopted in 1920 (with changes in 1929).

Table 1. Territorial composition, 1969
LandArea (sq km)Population (1961)Administrative center
Vienna ..............4001,627,000
Burgenland .........4,000271,000Eisenstadt
Carinthia ...........9,500495,200Klagenfurt
Lower Austria ........19,2001,374,000Vienna
Salzburg ............7,100347,300Salzburg
Styria ...............16,4001,137,900Graz
Tirol ...............12,600462,900Innsbruck
Upper Austria ........12,0001,131,600Linz
Vorarlberg ..........2,600226,300Bregenz

People of both sexes 19 years of age can vote; people 25 years of age are eligible to hold office.

Higher state bodies. The head of state is the president, elected by the population for six years on the basis of universal suffrage. Formally, the president has broad powers: the right to dissolve the lower chamber of the parliament and the right to publish edicts making alterations in the laws in force. Upon the recommendation of the government and with the consent of the upper chamber, he is empowered to dissolve the parliament (Landtag) of any Land. He appoints federal employees, judges, officials of the Board of Accounts, and members of the administrative and constitutional courts; he is the commander in chief of the armed forces, convenes regular and extraordinary sections of the lower chamber, and so on.

The supreme organ of legislative power is a bicameral parliament, consisting of the National Council (165 deputies chosen for four years on the basis of equal, direct suffrage and a proportional system of representation) and the Federal Council (64 deputies chosen by the Landtage of the Lander). The term of office of the members of the Federal Council depends on the term of office of the Landtag that elects them. The National Council and Federal Council assemble as the National Assembly for the taking of the president’s oath and the adoption of a decision on the declaration of war.

Executive power outside the competence of the president is exercised by the government, which consists of a chancellor, a vice-chancellor, and ministers. The chancellor is appointed by the president, who also appoints the remaining members of the government on the recommendation of the chancellor. The government is responsible to the National Council. The Board of Accounts is a special organ whose duties, according to the Constitution, include control over the public finances of the federation, the Lander, communes, and so forth.

Local administration. Each Land has its own constitution and its own parliament, the Landtag, which is chosen by the population for a term of four to six years. The governments of the Lander, chosen by the Landtag, consist of a Landeshauptmann, his deputies, and members of the government. Each Land is composed of local and regional communes with their elective organs—local and regional communal representation and administrations of the local and regional communes.

Judicial system. The system of regular courts is headed by the Supreme Court. There are four supreme provincial courts (in Vienna, Graz, Linz, and Innsbruck) and 20 provincial and regional courts (as well as a special court—of equivalent competence—for commercial affairs; it is located in Vienna). The lowest court is the district court. In addition, a number of special courts function for affairs of minors, labor conflicts and so on. Distinctive features of the judicial system are the Constitutional Court and the Administrative Court, which convenes to supervise the observance of legality in state administration.


Terrain. Young folded-blocks and folded mountain ridges of the Eastern Alps, joined in sublatitude chains, occupy three-fourths of the surface of Austria. The central zone of mountains with mountainous and glacial forms of terrain rises more than 3,300–3,500 m (Grossglockner, 3,797 m) in the west and to 2,400 m in the east. The snow line is found at an average height of 2,500–2,800 m. Some peaks are crowned with glaciers (Pasterze is 10.2 km long). To the south and north, the central chain of the Eastern Alps is fringed with lower mountain ranges, which are distinguished by their very steep slopes and strongly broken and highly developed karst. Along the northern periphery of the Alps, from the western border of Austria in the west to the Vienna Woods in the east, are the flysch slopes. As a whole, the Eastern Alps in Austria are characterized by great longitudinal valleys (of the Inn, Salzach, Enns, and other rivers); in the eastern foothills are depressions (Graz, Klagenfurt, and others). In the east lies the Styrian-Burgenland hilly plain, which falls away to the Vienna basin and which belongs partly to the Middle Danube plain. To the north and northeast are hilly slopes (400–900 m)—Mühlviertel, Waldviertel, Weinviertel, and others—that make up the southern fringe of the crystalline Bohemian Massif. Between this massif and the Eastern Alps is a plains belt (Innviertel, etc.), with some layers of the Danube terraces.


Geological structure and minerals. Near the southern borders of the country, along the Gail River, stretches the main break dividing the internal (settled) zone of the Alps (the Rhaetian Alps, the High and Low Tauern, the Styrian Alps, and others) from the southern slope of the Alps. The latter includes, within the boundaries of Austria, the northern slope of the Carnic Alps, which consist of Paleozoic and Triassic rocks. The internal zone of the Eastern Alps is composed of ancient crystalline shale and Paleozoic rocks, pressed over Triassic-Jurassic metamorphic brilliant shales and basic vulcanites, which jut out among the more ancient rocks in the Engadine and High Tauern. Further north stretches a belt of Paleozoic shales and sandstones (graywacke) and then Triassic and Jurassic limestones, which form numerous Eastern Alpine covers, pushing north toward the next zone, the strongly contracted Cretaceous flysch. In the foothills in Austria is part of the Alpine Foreland regional sag, filled with Neocene molasse. The Weinsberger-Wald Mountains, composed of Paleozoic granites and Precambrian crystalline shales, are located on the left bank of the Danube and form the outskirts of the Bohemian Massif. The eastern part of Austria is contemporary with the territory of the recent depressions of the Vienna basin (the lesser Hungarian plain and the Graz depression), which are filled with thick Neocene deposits.

The most important minerals are oil and gas (Vienna basin), magnesium (Styrian Alps around Veitsch), and lignite (Styria, Upper Austria); there are deposits of iron (Erzberg mountain, in the region of Eisenerz), lead and zinc ores (the Klagenfurt-Bleiberg region and elsewhere), graphite, and salt. There are mineral springs at Baden and Bad Ischl.


Climate. The climate of the plains and foothills is moderately continental; in the west it is damper. The mean temperature in January ranges from –1°C to –4°C; in July it is between 15°C and 18°C. Preciptation is 500–900 mm a year, 1,500–2,000 mm in the mountains. More precipitation falls, winters are milder, and summers are cooler and damper on the windward northwestern slopes of the mountains than on the leeward southeastern slopes. In the mountainous regions there is snow for up to seven or eight months.

Rivers and lakes. Most of Austria lies in the Danube basin; the extreme west is regarded as part of the Rhine basin. The Danube flows through Austria for 350 km. Its largest tributaries are the Inn (with the Salzach), Enns, Drava, and Morava. The mountain rivers are distinguished by steep gradients and rapid currents; they have considerable energy resources. An alpine regime of flow, with summer flooding and very low winter levels, is characteristic.

There are about 580 lakes in Austria, mainly of glacial origin. They are especially numerous in the northern foothills of the Alps (Atter, Traun, and elsewhere). On the border with the Federal Republic of Germany and Switzerland is the large Lake Constance and on the border with Hungary is Neusiedler Lake.

Soils and flora. The zonal soils of Austria are soddy pod-zol and brown forest soils; in the southeast are chernozems on loesses, highly leached and podzolized. In the mountains are mountain brown, mountain brown rendzina, mountain podzol, and mountain meadow soils. The natural vegetation is primarily forest. About 38 percent of Austria is covered with forests. The native woods have been extensively destroyed. Up to 600–800 m there are, apart from agricultural lands, separate tracts of oak, beech, and ash forests; these forests form a continuous belt higher up. At an altitude of about 1,400 m, coniferous varieties appear. Broad-leaved coniferous trees (beech, pine, fir) and coniferous (spruce, fir) forests appear up to 1,800 m; at higher altitudes they are replaced by subalpine thickets of mountain pine and cedar cover. Above 2,000 m are alpine meadows with a thick cover of graminea and sedges, which make good pastures. Meadow vegetation covers the mountains up to heights of 2,700–3,000 m.

Fauna. The destruction of the forests and the plowing of open spaces have led to the total or partial extermination of some forms of animal life that were formerly widespread in Austria. In the forest zone, mainly in reservations (High Tauern, Grossglockner, and others), animal varieties that are rare in Europe have been preserved: red deer, elk, roe, brown bear, wild boar, and mountain eagle. In high mountainous regions are alpine marmot, chamois, and mountain goat.

Natural regions. Two groups of natural regions can be distinguished. The Alpine group encompasses the Northern Region, the Central Region, and the Eastern Region. The non-Alpine group encompasses the Styrian-Burgenland Region, the Danube terrace, and the low mountain and hilly region of the left bank of the Danube.


Becker, A., and L. Helmer. Österreich: Landschaft, Wirtschaft, Bevölkerung. Vienna, 1953.
Georg, P., and J. Tricart. L’Europe centrale, vols. 1–2. Paris, 1954.
Martonne, E. de. Les Alpes (Géographie générate). Paris, 1946.


The majority of the population (more than 95 percent) is made up of Austrians. In addition (by the estimate of 1967), there were about 70,000 Slovenes (in the south, in Carin-thia), up to 50,000 Croats and 30,000 Hungarians (mainly in the east, in Burgenland), about 10,000 Czechs, and about 10,000 Jews (mainly in the region of Vienna), as well as separate groups of Serbs and Gypsies. Groups of German migrants from Eastern Europe maintain a certain ethnic isolation (including immigrants from the Federal Republic of Germany, their number is about 200,000). The Italians (20,000) stand out among other groups of immigrants. The official state language is German. More than 90 percent of the population belongs to the Catholic church; more than 6 percent belongs to the Protestant and Lutheran churches.

The population is characterized by a low natural growth rate. From 1901 to 1966 the birth coefficient fell from 31.4 to 16.3, mortality from 22.2 to 12.0, and natural increase from 9.2 to 4.3 (per 1,000 inhabitants). Population growth has proceeded slowly: from 1910 to 1966 an increase of 600,000 people (from 6.6 to 7.2 million residents)—during the postwar years owing primarily to displaced persons and foreign workers.

The economically active population (1966) is 4.3 million people (60 percent of the total population), including 2.4 million wage earners (1.3 million of them laborers), 1.1 million owners of enterprises, and 800,000 people unemployed and nonworking but with incomes. By branches of the economy, the population is distributed as follows (1965, compared with 1950): in industry, 40 percent (35 percent); in agriculture and forestry, 21 percent (35 percent); in transportation, communications, and various service branches, 39 percent (30 percent). The proportion of petit bourgeois (petty proprietors, peasants, and tradesmen), office and professional workers, people in the free professions, and service personnel is rather high.

More than 70 percent of the population is concentrated in the Vienna basin, the valleys of the Danube and Rhine, and the Styrian-Burgenland plain, which occupy about 20 percent of the country’s area.

More than 65 percent of the population lives in cities (including communes of more than 2,000), with about 22 percent in Vienna. Cities of 10,000–15,000 predominate. The large cities (more than 100,000, according to the 1966 census) are Vienna (1,638,100), Graz (252,000), Linz (204,900), Salzburg (117,400), and Innsbruck (108,700).


Austria to the end of the 18th century. The first traces of man on Austrian territory date from the Paleolithic era (such settlements as Mixnitz in Styria and Willendorf in Lower Austria). The archaeological culture representative of the early human era (the Hallstatt culture, named after the city of Hallstatt in Upper Austria) is especially rich. The initial Illyrian population was gradually Celticized after the invasion of the Celts (between 500 and 400 B.C.). Between the 16th and ninth centuries B.C., the territory of Austria south of the Danube was conquered by the Romans and subsequently formed part of the Roman provinces of Noricum, Rhaetia, and Pannonia. Among the large Roman centers were Carnuntum (near Petronell), Virunum (near Klagenfurt), Vindobona (Vienna), and Juvavum (Salzburg).

During the great migration of peoples, the territory of Austria was subject to invasion by different tribes; from the second half of the sixth century A.D., Teutonic tribes (mainly the Bavarians) were firmly settled in western Austria, and Slavic tribes (mainly the Slovenians) settled in the central and eastern parts. However, as late as the middle of the tenth century, the whole eastern part of Austria remained an object of constant devastations and conquests by nomads—first the Avars, then the Hungarians. Under these circumstances, the Slovenian state of Carantania, which took shape in the second half of the seventh century, fell into vassal dependency on Bavaria in the mid-eighth century; with Bavaria, it found itself included in the Frankish state in 788. On the territory of eastern Austria, won from the Avars by Frankish emperor Charles the Great at the end of the ninth century, the so-called Avar (or Eastern) March was formed. With the disintegration of the Frankish state (843), the territory of Austria was included in the eastern Frankish kingdom (Germany), becoming a constituent part of the Bavarian tribal duchy. The Slavic population was subjected to Christianization (mainly through the Archbishopric of Salzburg and the Bishopric of Passau) and to Germanization (the territory of Eastern Austria was settled by Germanic, mainly Bavarian, colonists). Colonization, which was suspended in the first half of the tenth century in connection with the conquest of eastern Austria by the Hungarians (who routed the Bavarian troops at Press-burg in 907), was renewed after the crushing defeat of the Hungarians by the German king Otto I at the Lech River in 955. The Bavarian Eastern March, later called the Mar-graviate of Austria, was formed on the conquered territory. It was here that the independent Babenberg dynasty was established in 976. In 1156, under Margrave Henry II Jasomirgott, the Margraviate of Austria was transformed into a duchy, finally standing apart from Bavaria; 1156 is considered the year of the formation of the Austrian state.

In 976, Carinthia, or Greater Carantania, separated from the Bavarian duchy to become an independent duchy (around 1,000 the Carantanian March split in turn from Carinthia, to become the independent Duchy of Styria in 1180); the Duchy of Tirol and the region of the Archbishopric of Salzburg followed suit. From the 12th century, the Duchy of Austria, located in the Danube basin (which was suited for agriculture) on an important trade route, gradually consolidated its preeminent position among these feudal principalities. Under the conditions of a general economic upsurge in feudal Europe, the Duchy of Austria was transformed toward the end of the 12th century into a developed agricultural region, with Vienna as the growing commercial and trade center and capital. Leopold V (ruled 1177–94) annexed the Duchy of Styria to Austria (1192). During the administration of Leopold VI (1198–1230), Austria was one of the strongest territorial principalities of the Holy Roman Empire. After the end of the Babenberg dynasty (1246), most of the territory of Austria passed into the possession of the Czech king Premysl II, but it was conquered in 1276–78 by the German king Rudolph I Haps-burg, who handed over Austria and Styria to his sons Albrecht and Rudolph in 1282. This act initiated Hapsburg rule in Austria, which was to last for many centuries (until 1918). In 1335, Carinthia passed to the Hapsburgs, in 1363 Tirol, in 1375 most of the territory of Vorarlberg, and in 1382 Trieste. At the end of the 13th and beginning of the 14th centuries, an estate structure was juridically established in the Austrian Länder; an estate monarchy with Landtage for the separate Länder took shape at the end of the 14th and beginning of the 15th centuries. However, until the end of the 15th century, the Hapsburg state remained a conglomerate of Länder linked mainly by dynastic ties and disintegrating into appanages of different lines of the Hapsburg house. Under Maximilian I (ruled 1493–1519), who united all the Austrian Länder in his hands, attempts at the internal consolidation of the Hapsburgs’ Austrian holdings intensified. Under him and especially under Charles V, Austria found itself in the orbit of the imperial dynastic politics of the Hapsburgs. The Hapsburgs, who were emperors of the Holy Roman Empire (permanently after 1438) and who under Charles V were also kings of Spain, sovereigns of a “world power” (including huge possessions in Europe and America), followed a policy of establishing, under the aegis of Catholicism, a universal, supranational empire.

The 16th century was marked by important changes in the economic and political development of the Austrian Länder. These Länder (especially Tirol, Styria, Upper Austria, and Carinthia), constituting one of the chief regions of the mining industry in Europe, became in this period seats of early capitalist production (South German merchant capital—the Fuggers and Hochstetters, who were closely connected with the Hapsburgs—exploited the mining wealth of Austria). The general growth of commodity production was accompanied in agrarian relations by the intensification of the feudal exploitation of the peasantry. This was the main cause of the antifeudal peasant revolt in the Austrian Länder. In 1515 there was an uprising in Carinthia and Krain (Carniola). During 1525–26 peasant uprisings covered Upper Austria, Styria, and especially Salzburg and Tirol, where the struggle led by M. Geismeyr was especially stubborn and protracted. The struggle of the Austrian peasantry during this period was part of the Peasants’ War of 1524–26 in Germany. A large-scale peasant uprising enveloped Upper Austria and part of Lower Austria in 1595–97. Although the peasantry in Austria managed to resist the feudal lords longer than the peasants in southwestern Germany, the result of the struggle here, too, was the victory of feudal reaction.

During this period, the decisive external factor in the development of the Austrian state was the attack by the Ottoman Empire (Turkey) on southeastern Europe. The prolonged and painful Austro-Turkish wars of the 16th to 18th centuries began with the military campaign of the Turkish army led by Sultan Suleyman I Kanuni, who routed a Hungarian and Czech army at Mohács in 1526 and besieged Vienna, the capital of Austria, in 1529. In the struggle of the peoples of central and southeastern Europe against the “Turkish menace,” the Hapsburg Austrian Länder—the southeastern outpost of the Empire—occupied the most prominent position, and the Hapsburgs exploited this situation to expand their possessions. Maximilian I had already prepared the transfer of the kingdoms of Czechoslovakia and Hungary to Hapsburg rule by a system of marital unions. After the death of the Hungarian-Czech king Louis II at Mohács, Ferdinand I (the brother of Charles V, from whom he received the hereditary Hapsburg Austrian Länder in 1521–22) secured his own election as king of Czechoslovakia and Hungary (the western parts). Thus, under the conditions of the Turkish menace, the multinational Hapsburg monarchy began to take shape, with Austria as its political center. Its development in domestic and foreign policy determined changes toward great political centralization in Austria (such as the creation of some central administrative organs for all the Austrian Länder, the convening of a Pan-Austrian Landtag) which became noticeable in this period (beginning with Maximilian I and Ferdinand I). However, this centralization still remained extremely precarious. The Austrian archduke (this title was conferred on the Austrian princes in 1453) was dependent in all matters (particularly financial questions) on the local estates. In 1564, after the death of Ferdinand I, Austria underwent a new division among representatives of the Hapsburg house: the Austrian line (which received Austria itself, the kingdom of Czechoslovakia, the western part of Hungary, and the title of emperor), the Styrian line (to which Styria, Carinthia, and Krain passed), and the Tirolean line (which received Tirol and the Hapsburg possessions in Alsace and which remained separate until 1665) were distinguished.

The social and political struggle in Austria from the 16th through the mid-17th century assumed the form of bitter conflicts between supporters of the Reformation and of the Counter-Reformation. The ideas of the Reformation began to spread in the Austrian Länder in the 1520’s. Protestantism was disseminated particularly widely during the reign of Maximilian II (1564–76), the representative of the Austrian line. But the attack against the Protestants, which acquired the character of a forcible counterreformation, began as early as the reign of Rudolph II (1576–1612). The majority of the popular antifeudal offensives, the anti-Hapsburg liberation movement in the Czech and Hungarian Länder, and the actions of the noble estates that were attempting to preserve their medieval freedoms and privileges passed under the banner of Protestantism. Militant Catholicism became the Hapsburgs’ weapon in suppressing popular and liberation movements; it gave ideological sanctification to their struggle for a reactionary, universal empire. In 1607–09 an internecine struggle unfolded in the Hapsburg house between Emperor Rudolph II and his brother Matthias; the struggle was closely bound up with the religious-political struggle in the Austrian Länder. Matthias compelled Rudolph to transfer Austria, the kingdom of Hungary, and Moravia to him in 1608; in 1611 he also gained Czechoslovakia, Silesia, and Luzyca. In this way, the nobility gained considerable religious concessions. Matthias’ appointment of the fanatical Catholic Ferdinand of Styria (from 1619, Emperor Ferdinand II)—who was closely bound to Spain—as his successor gave impetus to the anti-Hapsburg Czech uprising of 1618–20, which initiated the Europe-wide Thirty Years’ War of 1618–48. The war, which concluded with the defeat of the Hapsburg Catholic camp, ruined the Hapsburgs’ attempt to restore a supranational Hapsburg-Catholic empire. At the same time, in their hereditary Austrian possessions and in Czechoslovakia (which was deprived of the remnants of independence after the defeat at White Mountain in 1620 and annexed to the Hapsburg hereditary lands in 1627), the Hapsburgs managed to reestablish Catholicism, to suppress the peasants’ movement (its most powerful manifestation in their own Austrian Länder was the Peasant War of 1626 in Upper Austria) and the feudal-estate opposition, and to shift to a policy of strengthening central authority. With the failure of the universal empire and “world” policy, the attention of the Hapsburgs concentrated more and more on their possessions in southeastern Europe. The possessions of the Hapsburg monarchy expanded considerably at the end of the 17th and the 18th centuries. The Austro-Turkish war of 1683–99, which began with a new siege of Vienna by the Turkish army, concluded with the transfer to the Hapsburgs of most of Hungary, Transylvania, almost all of Croatia, and Slavonia (by the Peace of Karlowitz of 1699). In the War of the Spanish Succession (1701–14), the Austrian Hapsburgs added to their possessions the southern Netherlands (the territory of Belgium) and vast lands in Italy, including the city of Milan (in the wars at the end of the 17th and beginning of the 18th centuries, Eugene of Savoy brilliantly demonstrated his military skill). Later, in the first (1772) and third (1795) partitions of Poland, Austria seized a number of Polish and Ukrainian lands (Galicia and others). The Hapsburg monarchy turned into a vast multinational state of territories with very different levels of economic development, historical traditions, and degrees of subordination to the Hapsburgs. By the Pragmatic Sanction of 1713, Charles VI declared all the possessions of the Hapsburg crown to be indivisible; in the absence of a male heir, they were all to pass to his daughter Maria Theresa. However, after Charles’ death her rights of inheritance were disputed. The European War of the Austrian Succession (1740–48) ended with the acknowledgment of Maria Theresa’s rights; however, the Hapsburgs lost Silesia, which was highly developed economically and which was conquered by Prussia. Efforts to win back Silesia during the Seven Years’ War (1756–63), in which Austria became allied with its traditional enemy France, were unsuccessful.

The characteristics of Austria’s internal development in the second half of the 17th and the 18th centuries were the victory of feudal-Catholic reaction; the formation in some areas of the Hapsburg monarchy (first and foremost, in Czechoslovakia, Hungary, and part of lower Austria) of a large-scale landlord entrepreneurial economy based on the corvée labor of enserfed peasants; the economic and political strengthening of the great nobility, which was connected with the Hapsburgs; the growth of the bureaucracy and the army; the reinforcement of absolutist tendencies, which here clearly reflected a noble-feudal nature; and the comparatively slow development of capitalist elements in the economy of Austria (which lagged behind not only bourgeois England and the Dutch republic, but also behind France and some German states). The economic and political weakness of the Hapsburg monarchy (revealed in particular in the wars of the mid-18th century) forced the Austrian absolutist government of Maria Theresa (ruled 1740–80) to embark on economic and administrative reforms. The policy of mercantilism and protectionism, the encouragement of the development of capitalist manufacturing, and so forth were pursued much more energetically. Attempts were undertaken at some peasant reforms necessitated by the increase in peasant actions, particularly in Bohemia; by fiscal and military goals; and by the requirements of developing capitalist industry (the edicts of 1771 and 1775 limiting corvée to three days a week, the limitation of the powers of the patrimonial court, and so on). Reforms were also introduced to increase centralization and strengthen the apparatus of state power (the introduction of permanent military taxes, collected without the consent of the estates of individual provinces, the establishment of a standing army and of a number of central institutions for the Austro-Czech provinces). Joseph II (ruled 1780–90) went still further in this direction, conducting a policy of enlightened absolutism. An attempt was undertaken to create a uniform absolutist administrative-bureaucratic system for the whole Hapsburg monarchy, including the Länder that still retained some autonomy. The breaking of old relations—which was carried out without regard for historically formed national features and ties—was accompanied by forced Germanization, which brought an intensification of the liberation struggle (in Hungary and in the Austrian Netherlands).

Joseph II’s peasant reforms (the edicts of 1781–82 and 1785 abolishing serfdom, the attempt to replace corvée and other natural obligations with a single land tax, and so on) encountered stubborn resistance from the reactionary nobility and were not carried out. The attempt to transform the most decrepit Austrian institutions by means of reform “from above” within the limits of the feudal-absolutist structure was thus in vain.

Austria from the end of the 18th century to the 1860’s. In the era beginning with the Great French Revolution, the position of official Austria was on the extreme right of the counterrevolutionary feudal-absolutist camp. During the years of the French Revolution, Austria, in close alliance with its former enemy Prussia, was the initiator and a participant in the intervention against revolutionary France. During the Napoleonic Wars, Austria participated in the anti-French coalition. Having suffered a number of crushing defeats (at Marengo in 1800, Austerlitz in 1805, Wagram in 1809, and so on), Austria lost the greater part of its possessions and was forced to renounce all influence in Germany (the creation by Napoleon of the Rhine Confederation and the elimination of the title emperor of the Holy Roman Empire, 1806).

Austria was strengthened as a result of the defeat of Napoleonic France. By the decisions of the Congress of Vienna (1814–15), territories lost during the Napoleonic Wars were returned to Austria. The Hapsburgs also realized their long-standing aspiration—the exchange of the distant, extremely vulnerable Austrian Netherlands for northern Italy (the annexation of Lombardy and the possessions of the former Venetian Republic). Austria gained the dominant influence in fragmented Germany (the creation of the German Confederation, 1815).

Relatively backward economically and with a reactionary feudal-absolutist regime under the government of C. Mei-ternich (from 1809 minister of foreign affairs; chancellor 1821–48), Austria became one of the main strongholds of reaction in Europe. This was manifested in its policy at the Congress of Vienna, especially in the creation of the counterrevolutionary Holy Alliance (1815). In 1821, Austria’s armed forces suppressed revolutions in the Kingdom of Naples and in the Piedmont. The Austrian absolutist state strove to keep its patchwork empire from disintegrating and to maintain its domination over the non-Austrian peoples, for whom the revolutionary era was a period of awakening of national self-consciousness and strengthening of the national liberation movement. The first, though timid, sprouts of bourgeois opposition appeared in the Länder of Austria proper (the so-called Jacobin conspiracy of 1794). The general upsurge of the popular patriotic movement in the country during the Napoleonic Wars (the uprising in Tirol led by A. Hofer in 1809 and so on) also promoted the growth of antifeudal sentiment.

The decline of Austrian absolutism began at the end of the 18th century. The support of feudal landownership, the maintenance of remnants of guild restrictions, state regulation, and many other factors hampered the development of Austrian industry, which did not basically emerge from the manufacturing stage until the 1830–40’s. The industrial bourgeoisie was extremely weak; Metternich’s government was the government of feudal landlords and big financiers. The Metternichian system, with its all-embracing police surveillance, spying, and setting of one oppressed people of the empire against another, could not halt the growing crisis of the feudal system in the country.

The process of the displacement of workshops by capitalist factories began in the Austrian Empire in the 1830–40’s. The first steam engines appeared at the start of the 19th century. The production of cotton yarn increased ten times between 1831 and 1842. The first railroad was built in 1822, and at the beginning of the 1840’s the length of railroad track amounted to 144 km. An industrial bourgeoisie and a factory proletariat emerged. But the process of capitalist development was slow, hindered by absolutism and the feudal order.

The bourgeois-democratic revolution erupted in the Austrian Empire in March 1848. The main goals of the revolution were the abolition of the absolutist monarchy and of feudal relations, the resolution of the national question, the liquidation of the multinational empire, and formation of separate national states. During the revolution of 1848–49, the war of the Hungarian people for independence unfolded, and the radical wing of the Czech bourgeoisie moved to separate the Czech provinces from the empire. The Austrian bourgeoisie, weak and tied to the aristocracy, was frightened by this turn of events; for the purpose of preserving the empire, it was prepared to reconcile itself with absolutism and to be content with the most insignificant concessions. The defeat of the revolution of 1848–49, primarily as a result of its betrayal by the liberal bourgeoisie, meant that significant vestiges of the Middle Ages survived for many years to restrain social development and the growth of the proletariat. “These vestiges are absolutism (unlimited autocratic power), feudalism (landlordism and feudal privileges), and the suppression of nationalities” (V. I. Lenin, Poln. sobr. soch., 5th ed., vol. 22, p. 155).

Despite the defeat of the revolution, a number of its achievements were preserved. Agrarian reform (the liquidation of corvée, quitrent, and other obligations), adopted by the Reichstag in 1848 and implemented in the 1850’s, cleared the ground for the more rapid development of capitalism. In the 1850–60’s certain other bourgeois reforms (elimination of the customs boundary between Austria and Hungary, abolition of restrictions on the development of trade, permission for the purchase and sale of land, and others) were carried out. During these years extractive industry expanded, and factories producing agricultural, weaving, and spinning machinery arose. However, since the revolution was not completed, since the government made repeated efforts to deprive the bourgeoisie of its share of influence (the abolition of the constitution of Mar. 4, 1849, and the reestablishment of the emperor’s unlimited power by the decree of Dec. 31, 1851), and since the supremacy of the monarchy and the aristocracy was preserved, the development of capitalism proceeded slowly and unevenly; the industrial revolution was completed only in the 1870–80’s.

The Hapsburgs’ domestic policy from the end of the 1850’s was directed mainly toward pacifying the Hungarian aristocracy, at the expense of somewhat weakening the influence of the Austrian bourgeoisie and relaxing the policy of centralization. In 1860 the so-called October Diploma was introduced, reestablishing the Landtage, the Reichsrat, and their domination by the nobility. But by 1861 the October Diploma was replaced by the centralist February Patent (in effect until 1865).

Austria suffered a number of failures in foreign policy during the 1850’s and 1860’s. The sharp deterioration of relations with Russia during the Crimean War (1853–56), the defeat in the wars against the Kingdom of Sardinia and France in 1859 and against Prussia and Italy in 1866, and the formation of the North German Confederation in 1867 meant the loss of the Hapsburg monarchy’s influence over the German states and, at the same time, the loss, for all intents and purposes, of its position as a great power.

The Hapsburg monarchy in the last third of the 19th century. The formation of Austria-Hungary. After its military defeat in 1866, centrifugal tendencies in the Hapsburg monarchy increased significantly. In 1867 the government of F. Beust and the leaders of the Hungarian parties concluded a settlement by which the Hapsburg Empire was turned into the Dual Monarchy, henceforth, Austria-Hungary, which was composed of two parts: Cisleithania and Transleithania. There were three common ministries for Austria-Hungary: finance, foreign affairs, and military-naval. The agreement of 1867 formalized the alliance of the Austrian ruling circles with the Hungarian aristocracy, with the goal of joint oppression and exploitation of the other peoples of the empire. After the formation of Austria-Hungary, the struggle of the oppressed peoples for their national independence became even more intense.

The formation process of the Austrian nation came to completion. This process occurred under conditions in which a part of the Austrian bourgeoisie, fearing the Czech and Hungarian national movements, continued to seek an alliance with Germany and intensified its propaganda for the reactionary and antinationalist idea of Pan-Germanism. The struggle among the bourgeoisie of different nations within the empire and the ever-increasing oppression of the Slavic peoples by the Austrian bourgeoisie brought the national struggle to a point of exacerbation unknown in any country at that time: the Hapsburg “prison of peoples” entered a period of profound political crisis.

At the end of the 1860’s, Marxism, which won influence among progressive workers through a struggle against Lassalleanism, began to spread in Austria. In Austria proper and in other parts of the Hapsburg Empire, sections of the First International came into existence. In 1868 the formation of the Social Democratic Party, which achieved its final shape in 1888, was proclaimed. Opportunism prevailed in the policy of the party’s leaders from the end of the 1890’s (the formation of six national parties instead of one unified party and so on). At the turn of the 20th century, under the influence of the theoretical work of K. Renner, O. Bauer, F. Adler, and others, Austro-Marxism—a variety of revisionism—took shape in the Austrian social democratic movement.

In foreign policy, Austria-Hungary fell increasingly under the influence of Germany. The Austro-German alliance, which was directed mainly against Russia and France, was concluded in 1879. Shortly afterward, the Triple Alliance of 1882 was signed by Germany, Austria-Hungary, and Italy.

Austria-Hungary, 1900–18. By the start of the 20th century, Austria-Hungary had become a country of monopoly capitalism. Thus, six large monopolistic organizations concentrated in their hands the mining of almost all iron ore and the production of 92 percent of the steel. The number of joint-stock companies reached 648 in 1907 (in 1896 there were 449). Banking capital grew. A distinctive feature of Austrian imperialism was the interweaving of highly developed forms of monopolistic capital with semifeudal vestiges in agriculture and, as a result, a bond between the financial oligarchy and the feudal landowning aristocracy. Another characteristic of Austrian imperialism was its dependence on foreign monopoly capital, especially German. Having conceded its domestic market in a significant measure to German capital, Austrian capitalism was very active economically in the Balkans. The system of state monopoly capitalism was less developed and less organized in Austria-Hungary than in Germany because of the comparatively weak industrial development of Austria-Hungary and because of the national contradictions tearing at it.

The Hapsburg multinational monarchy was founded on the enslavement and exploitation of Slavic and other peoples. For the national composition of Austria-Hungary’s population, see Table 2.

Table 2. National composition of the population of Austria-Hungary, census of 1910 (percent)
Austrians ................................23.5
Hungarians ..............................19.1
Czechs and Slovaks ......................16.5
Serbs and Croats ........................10.5
Poles ...................................10.0
Ukrainians ..............................8.0
Rumanians ..............................6.5
Slovenians ..............................2.5
Others ..................................3.4

The workers’ movement gathered strength in Austria-Hungary in the early 20th century. Under the influence of the Revolution of 1905–07 in Russia, the multinational working class of Austria-Hungary went into battle under the slogan “Let us speak Russian.” The strike movement assumed great scope. The right-wing Social Democratic leaders, who had embarked on a path of collaboration with the monarchy, did everything they could to limit the workers’ struggle for universal suffrage. Huge meetings, demonstrations, strikes, and the threat of a general political strike forced the government in January 1907 to adopt a law on universal suffrage for men 24 years of age.

Austria-Hungary’s foreign policy at the start of the 20th century was characterized by increased expansion in the Balkans, which led to conflicts with Russia and Serbia on the one hand, and to a still closer rapprochement with Germany on the other. In 1908, Austria-Hungary annexed Bosnia and Hercegovina, which it had occupied since 1878.

On July 28, 1914, Austria-Hungary declared war on Serbia and, on August 6, on Russia. It entered World War I as an ally of Germany. Austria-Hungary suffered defeats from the very start of the war. In August and September 1914, Russian troops routed the Austrian army in the battle of Galicia. The breakthrough by the Russian army on the southwestern front in June-August 1916 led to a new defeat for the Austro-Hungarian forces. From 1916 on, Austria-Hungary grew increasingly exhausted economically; difficulties in provisioning increased, and prices rose. The discontent with the dictatorship of the military clique that had established itself during the war, the shakiness of the state apparatus, the continuous political crisis, the striving to finish with the war, the defeats at the fronts, and the influence of the Great October Socialist Revolution in Russia led to a revolutionary crisis which proceeded amid the nascent general crisis of capitalism. The workers of Austria-Hungary took actions in defense of Soviet Russia and declared a general political strike in January 1918; the workers were followed by sailors, who rose in revolt against the monarchy in February 1918. As a result of the broad national movement and the powerful actions of the multinational proletariat, the bourgeois-democratic revolution triumphed in the Hapsburg Monarchy in October-November 1918. The empire disintegrated, and on its ruins bourgeois states were created—Austria, Hungary, and Czechoslovakia. Portions of the former possessions of the Austrian Hapsburgs were included in Yugoslavia, Rumania, and Poland.

Austria from 1918 to 1938 (until the conquest by fascist Germany). The revolution of 1918 brought serious displacements in the internal and external political situation of the country. On Nov. 12, 1918, under pressure from the Austrian working masses, a republic was proclaimed. One of the most reactionary monarchical regimes in Europe was replaced by a bourgeois-democratic structure. The proletariat of Austria achieved a number of gains, including the eight-hour workday and social insurance. The equality of women was established by law, and the rights of local organs of self-government were expanded. Austria outstripped the other capitalist countries in its social and political legislation. In the course of the bourgeois-democratic revolution in Austria, soviets of workers’ and soldiers’ deputies arose. In the creation of the soviets and the formation of the Communist Party of Austria in November 1918 (one of the first in Western Europe), the huge influence of the October Socialist Revolution was manifested in the Austrian working class. However, the entire apparatus of the bourgeois-landlord state remained almost untouched; no agrarian reforms were effected, and much land stayed in the hands of large-scale owners. The overwhelming majority of soviets were not elected but were made up of officials of the Social Democratic Party, who actively hindered the development of the bourgeois-democratic revolution into a proletarian revolution. Using “left” phrases and social demagoguery (especially the promise of the “socialization” of industry), the Social Democrats strengthened their position and even broadened their influence among the working class. This fact was evident during the elections to the Constituent Assembly (February 1919) and especially in the Viennese municipal elections (May 1919), where the Social Democrats won 100 out of 165 seats. Leaders of the Austrian Social Democratic Party also led the trade unions, which included the majority of Austrian workers.

The Austrian bourgeoisie, with the help of the leaders of Social Democracy, managed to uphold the capitalist structure in 1918. The Catholic church, which exercised influence among the broad masses of the population, rendered a great service to the bourgeoisie in this respect. The churches, together with the Christian Social Party of the big bourgeoisie, managed to maintain the obedience of the peasantry and to prevent it from supporting the proletariat in the revolution of 1918.

The Entente powers bound Austria to the St. Germain Treaty in 1919; at the same time, they began to offer political and financial support (the granting of credits) to the Austrian bourgeoisie in its struggle against the revolutionary movement. On Oct. 1, 1920, the constitution of the Austrian bourgeois republic was adopted, providing a federal structure for the country.

The economy of Austria, which had been one of the industrial regions of the vast empire up to 1918 (in 1910 the population of the Hapsburg Empire was 52 million; in 1920 the population of Austria was 6,426,000), sharply felt the rupture of previous economic ties and the contraction of the internal market. For a number of years, underutilization of industrial enterprises characterized the country’s economy.

In 1922 the Austrian government signed the Geneva protocols with England, France, Italy, and Czechoslovakia, providing for a delay in the payment of reparations and for a credit of 650 million gold crowns. At the same time, control over Austria was exercised by a general commissioner (1922–26) appointed by the League of Nations. These measures strengthened Austria’s dependence on foreign capital and facilitated the penetration of foreign capital into the country’s economy. Some Austrian capitalists planned to rely on the stronger German bourgeoisie in their own struggle against the Austrian working class. Many leading figures of the Social Democratic Party were also advocates of the liquidation of the Austrian state and the Anschluss (the inclusion of Austria in Germany). In their antinational propaganda, the bourgeoisie and Social Democratic figures fighting for the annexation of the country to Germany exploited the economic difficulties of Austria and advanced the theory of its lack of vitality. In fact, the new state was fully capable of survival and had the economic and natural resources necessary for normal development. The Austrian nation, which had taken shape in the 19th century, had already developed independently for a long time.

The first decade of the Austrian republic was marked by sharp class conflicts—numerous strikes, demonstrations, and even street battles (July 1927). However, with the aid of the same allies—Social Democratic leaders and the Catholic Church—the Austrian bourgeoisie managed to beat back the assault of the working class.

The world economic crisis of 1929–33 had exceptionally severe consequences for the Austrian economy. An epidemic of bankruptcy seized the country, and unemployment affected a significant part of the working class. Ruling circles began to seek an escape from social contradictions and economic difficulties in an intensification of reaction and in a rapprochement with Italian and German fascism. Changes made in the constitution in 1929 designated the start of a fascist state structure in Austria. Soon the government began to turn openly to fascist methods of administration. It used fascist and semifascist organizations (mainly the armed Heimwehr detachments) in its struggle against the workers. In March 1933 the parliament was dissolved and freedom of the press and of assembly were abolished; in April the Social Democratic armed organization Schutzbund was dissolved, and in May the Communist Party was banned. A fascist “authoritarian system of administration” was proclaimed in Austria.

In February 1934 the workers of Vienna, Linz, and other cities took up arms against the fascist detachments that had embarked on the destruction of Social Democratic and trade union organizations everywhere. For three days Communists and members of the dissolved Schutzbund waged a heroic battle against the fascist bands, the police, and the armed forces, which used armored cars and artillery. The insurgents were not supported by a general strike (it was broken by the leaders of the Social Democratic Party) and suffered defeat. Violence against the working class paralyzed the only force in the country that was capable of defending the independent existence of Austria. At the same time, the events of 1934 revealed the treasonous role played by the opportunist leaders of Social Democracy. Thousands of progressive workers began to abandon the Social Democratic Party and go over to the Communists.

The struggle between Germany and Italy for influence in Austria had great influence on political events in the country. The Austrian chancellor E. Dollfuss and the leaders of the armed Heimwehr detachments favored an orientation toward Italy. Another section of the bourgeoisie, closely connected to the German monopolies, demanded an immediate annexation of Austria to Germany. They supported the Austrian National Socialists—Hitler’s agents.

As a result of the bitter struggle between pro-German and pro-Italian groups (the Putsch of the Heimwehr in 1931, the Nazi Putsch of 1934, and the murder of Dollfuss), advocates of Austria’s subordination to fascist Germany gained more and more strength in the ruling circles. The state apparatus was saturated with Hitler’s agents. In July 1936, Schuschnigg’s government concluded an agreement with Germany by which Austria was bound, in effect, to follow the policy of Hitler’s Germany. On Feb. 12, 1938, Hitler delivered an ultimatum to Chancellor K. Schuschnigg demanding that Austrian Hitlerites be given complete freedom of action and that their representatives be included in the government. The Austrian chancellor accepted these demands. During these decisive days, the Communists roused the workers to a struggle, achieving unity of action of all progressive forces. Under pressure from the masses, Schuschnigg set a plebiscite for March 13 to decide the fate of Austria. In an ultimatum, Hitler demanded abrogation of the plebiscite and the retirement of Schuschnigg. Despite the fact that Schuschnigg accepted the ultimatum, German troops entered Austria on the night of Mar. 11–12, 1938. The country was occupied, and its annexation to Germany was proclaimed. Fascist Germany managed to carry out the conquest of Austria because of the policy pursued by England, France, and the USA of encouraging fascist aggression and also as a result of the antinational position of the Austrian ruling circles. The only great power to protest against the seizure of Austria was the Soviet Union.

Austria under the rule of fascist Germany (1938–45). The seven years of fascist rule were the darkest period in the history of Austria. The country was turned into a province of fascist Germany. Many thousands of Austrian citizens were victims of fascist terror. The Hitlerites strove to assimilate the Austrians by force. The country’s entire economy was subordinated to the military needs of Germany. Austria participated in World War II (1939–45) as a constituent part of Germany. Although the resistance movement in Austria was not large, progressive people carried on the struggle against the Hitlerite annexation. The Communists were the motive force of this struggle.

In 1943 the ministers of foreign affairs of the USSR, the USA, and Great Britain, at a conference in Moscow, signed the declaration on Austria, which announced the desire of the three powers “to see the reestablishment of a free and independent Austria.” In March 1945, Soviet troops crossed the Austrian border. The Soviet Army, pursuing the German fascist troops, liberated Vienna on Apr. 13, 1945, after heavy battles. The Soviet Union played the decisive role in liberating Austria from Hitler’s oppression.

Austria after the emancipation from German fascist oppression and the reestablishment of its independence (since 1945). The emancipation of Austria made the reestablishment of Austrian statehood possible. After Austria was liberated from the rule of fascist Germany, the country was divided into four zones of occupation: the Soviet, American, English, and French. An occupation regime was put into force in the country. The activity of political parties was permitted—the Austrian People’s Party (APP), the Socialist Party of Austria (SPA), and the Communist Party of Austria (CPA). The Provisional Government was established in Vienna in April 1945; its competence was gradually spread over the entire country. Supreme power on questions concerning Austria as a whole was vested in the Allied Council (made up of four high commissioners from the USSR, USA, Great Britain, and France). The Soviet command rendered great material assistance to the population of Austria and also helped in the reestablishment of industrial enterprises and transportation. In October 1945 diplomatic relations between Austria and the USSR were renewed. (They were first established on Feb. 25–29, 1924, and were broken off in March 1938 in connection with the conquest of Austria by fascist Germany.)

The USA and other Western powers followed a policy aimed at the subordination of the Austrian economy to foreign monopolies and the transformation of Austria into a military-strategic base for the aggressive North Atlantic bloc. In 1948, under pressure from the USA, the Austrian government signed an agreement for Austria’s participation in the so-called Marshall Plan. In every way possible, the USA and the other Western powers dragged out the conclusion of the state treaty with Austria. The CPA (chairman, J. Koplenig until 1965) undertook a struggle against the policy of “Marshallization” and for the national independence of Austria. On the initiative of the CPA, workers carried out a large-scale strike (more than 400,000 participants) in October 1950 as a sign of protest against the lowering of their standard of living.

In 1946–48, nationalization embracing a significant portion of heavy industry (the production of cast iron, steel, electric energy, oil drilling, coal mining, and so on) and three large banks was carried out. However, the main positions in the country’s economy remained in the hands of the capitalist monopolies, and foreign capital, as before, played a large role. The USSR consistently supported the transformation of Austria into an independent democratic state and the implementation of a program of democratization, demilitarization, and denazification and opposed attempts to use Austrian territory in the interests of the aggressive blocs of Western powers.

In 1953–54 the Soviet government carried out a number of measures to relax the regime of occupation in Austria. In April 1955, on the initiative of the Soviet government, Soviet-Austrian negotiations were held in Moscow, laying the basis for the conclusion of the state treaty with Austria. On May 15, 1955, in Vienna, the State Treaty on the Reestablishment of an Independent and Democratic Austria was signed by representatives of the USSR, the USA, England, France, and Austria; it was an important contribution to the cause of relaxation of international tension and strengthening the peace in Europe. It created the essential preconditions for the development of an independent Austria and for the revival of its economy and culture.

In accordance with the treaty, the occupation of Austria was ended (the withdrawal of occupation forces was completed on Oct. 25, 1955). On Oct. 26, 1955, the Austrian parliament adopted a constitutional law on Austria’s permanent neutrality. It prevented the country from entering any military alliances and from allowing the establishment of foreign military bases on its territory. Austria’s neutrality was acknowledged by the majority of nations.

From 1945 to 1966 power was held by coalition governments of two main parties—the bourgeois People’s Party and the Socialist Party. In May 1958 the SPA, conducting a policy of “social partnership,” adopted a new reformist program which was marked by a further retreat from Marxism and a rejection of the class struggle. In the parliamentary elections of Mar. 6, 1966, the APP received an absolute majority of seats in the National Council (85 out of 165) and formed a one-party government. The SPA moved into opposition.

At the base of the foreign policy of the Austrian government lay the obligation of permanent neutrality stipulated by the state treaty and accepted by Austria. However, within Austria itself and outside its borders are forces that are attempting to push Austria off the path of neutrality. The so-called Austrian Freedom Party is oriented toward the monopolists of the Federal Republic of Germany. The neo-Nazi National Democratic Party operates (1969) in Austria. The penetration of West German capital into the Austrian economy is increasing. West Germany occupies first place in Austria’s foreign trade. Since 1962 negotiations have been held repeatedly on the possibility of Austrian participation in the Common Market.

The Communist Party of Austria (chairman, F. Muhri) stands for peace and the strict observance of Austrian neutrality and opposes the aggressive strivings of the imperialists of the Federal Republic of Germany that threaten Austrian independence; it stands for the unity of the working class and for higher living standards for the workers. In February 1958 a conference of the CPA adopted a program document, “Austria’s Path to Socialism” (confirmed at the 18th congress of the CPA in April 1961), in which the possibilities and distinctive features of Austria’s transition to socialism were analyzed on the basis of Marxist-Leninist principles.

The 19th (May 1965) and 20th (January 1969) CPA congresses underlined the necessity for profound democratic transformations in the country, with the goals of limiting the power of big capital and carrying out “the goals on the stages along the path to socialism.”

Neighborly relations have been established between the Soviet Union and Austria. Economic, trade, cultural, and scientific-technical ties between Austria and the USSR and other socialist countries are developing fruitfully. The visits by Chairman of the Presidium of the Supreme Soviet of the USSR N. V. Podgorny to Austria (Nov. 14–21, 1966) and by Chancellor J. Klaus of (Mar. 14–21 1967) and President F. Jonas of Austria (May 20–25, 1968) to the Soviet Union have promoted the improvement of Soviet-Austrian relations.


Engels, F. “Revoliutsiia i kontrrevoliutsiia v Germanii.” K. Marx and F. Engels, Soch., 2nd ed., vol. 80, pp. 30–40, 64–69.
Marx, K. “Bankrotstvo Avstrii.” Ibid., vol. 10.
Engels, F. “Nachalo kontsa Avstrii.” Ibid., vol. 4.
Engels, F. “Germaniia i panslavizm.” Ibid., vol. 11.
Engels, F. “Bol’noi chelovek Avstrii.” Ibid., vol. 15.
Engels, F. “Avstriia—Razvitie revoliutsii.” Ibid.
Lenin, V. I. “O ‘kurturno-natsional’noi’ avtonomii.” foln. sobr. soch., 5th ed., vol. 24.
Lenin, V. I. “O prave natsii na samoopredelenie.” Ibid., vol. 25, pp. 269–72.
Lenin, V. I. “Pis’mo k avstriiskim kommunistam.” Ibid., vol. 41. Priester, E. Kratkaia istoriia Avstrii. Moscow, 1952. (Translated from German.)
Mitrofanov, P. Istoriia Avstrii, part 1. St. Petersburg, 1910.
Kan, S. B. Revoliutsiia 1848 g. v Avstrii i Germanii. Moscow, 1948.
Skazkin, S. D. Konets avstro-russko-germanskogo soiuza. Moscow, 1928.
Ovnanian, S. V. Pod’em rabochevo dvizheniia v Avstrii (1905–1906 gg.). Moscow, 1957.
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Rubinshtein, E. I. Krushenie avstro-vengerskoi monarkhii. Moscow, 1963.
Avstro-Vengriia i slaviano-germanskie otnosheniia. [Collection of articles,] Moscow, 1965.
Lozinskii, S. G. Tsarstvovanie Frantsa-Iosifa. Petrograd, 1916.
Koplenig, J. Izbrannye proizvedeniia (1924–1962). Moscow, 1963. (Translated from German.)
Fürnberg, F. Vliianie Velikoi Oktiabr’skoi sotsialisticheskoi revoliutsii na Avstriiu. Moscow, 1957. (Translated from German.)
Kommunisty v bor’be za nezavisimost’ Avstrii. Moscow, 1956. (Collection translated from German.)
Turok, V. M. Ocherki istorii Avstrii. 1918–1929. Moscow, 1955.
Turok, V. M. Ocherki istorii Avstrii. 1929–1938. Moscow, 1962.
Ardaev, G. B. Natsionalizatsiia v Avstrii. Moscow, 1960.
Efremov, A. Sovetsko-avstriiskie otnosheniia posle vtoroi mirovoi voiny. Moscow, 1958.
Sal’kovskii, O. Ekonomicheskoe polozhenie rabochego klassa Avstrii posle vtoroi mirovoi voiny. Moscow, 1958.
Beletskii, V. N. Sovetskii Soiuz i Avstriia. Moscow, 1962.
SSSR v bor’be za nezavisimost’ Avstrii. Moscow, 1965.
Uhlirz, K., and M. Uhlirz. Handbuch der Geschichte Osterreich-Ungarns, 2nd ed., vol. 1. Graz, 1963.
Zöllner, E. Geschichte Osterreichs. Munich, 1961.
Huber, A. Geschichte Osterreichs, vols. l-5, Gotha, 1895–96; vols. 6–7, Gotha, 1921–42.
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Fürnberg, F. 50 Jahre: Die sozialistische Oktoberrevolution und Österreich. Vienna, 1967.
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N. N. SAMOKHINA (period up to the end of the 18th century),

M. A. POLTAVSKII (end of the 18th century-1918),

I. S. KREMER (1918&45), and D. N. MOCHALIN (since 1945)

Political parties. The Austrian People’s Party (Österreichische Volkspartei) is a bourgeosie-landlord party. It was created in April 1945 on the basis of the former Christian Social Party and had a membership of more than 700,000 in 1969. It is closely connected with Catholic circles. Its press organ is Volksblatt. In the parliamentary elections of March 1966, the party received 85 seats (an absolute majority of the seats in parliament) to become the ruling party. The Socialist Party of Austria (Sozialistische Partei Osterreichs) was established in 1945 on the basis of the former Social Democratic Party. In 1968 it had more than 700,000 members. From 1945 to 1966 the party participated in the governing coalition. It won 74 seats in the parliamentary elections of 1966 and is now in opposition. It belongs to the so-called Socialist International. Its press organ is Arbeiter-Zeitung, which was founded in 1889. The Communist Party of Austria (Kommunistische Partei Österreichs) was founded in November 1918. It was underground from 1933 to 1945. Its press organs are the newspaper Volksstimme and the periodical Weg und Ziel. The Austrian Freedom Party (Freiheitliche Partei Osterreichs) was created in 1955 on the basis of the neofascist Union of Independence. It received six seats in parliament in the 1966 elections. Its press organ is the weekly Neue Front.

The Democratic Progressive Party (Demokratische Fortschrittliche Partei) takes a position of anti-Communism and right-wing reformism. It was founded in September 1965.

The National Democratic Party (Nationaldemokratische Partei) is a neo-Nazi party. Its aims are close to those of the West German National Democratic Party.

Trade unions and other social organizations. The origin of trade unions in Austria dates to the 1860’s. The Austrian Trade Union Federation, founded in April 1945, numbered more than 1.5 million members in 1968. It amalgamates 16 branch trade unions (the largest trade unions are the metalworkers and miners, construction workers, and railroad workers). The leading roles in the trade unions belong to representatives of the federation. The federation belongs to the International Confederation of Free Trade Unions. Its press organ is the weekly magazine Solidaritat.

The Austrian Federation of Industrial Workers (Osterreichische Industriellen Vereinigung) was founded in 1945. The Austro-Soviet Society was founded in June 1945. The Union of Democratic Women was founded in June 1948; its press organ is Stimme der Frau. The Socialist Women’s Union is an organization of the Trade Union Federation. The Austrian Women’s Movement is an organization of the People’s Party. The Union of Free Austrian Youth is a progressive youth organization founded in 1945; its press organ is the periodical Jugend. The Union of Socialist Youth is the youth organization of the Trade Union Federation. It belongs to the International of Socialist Youth, and its press organ is the periodical Trotzdem. The Catholic Youth of Austria is a youth organization under the influence of the People’s Party. The National Council of Austrian Youth Organizations (Bundesjugendring), which was founded in 1953, unites the youth organizations and is under the influence of the Socialist and People’s parties. The National Council of Students is the student youth organization of Austria. The Union of Resistance Fighters and Victims of Fascism (with its press organ Mahnruf), the Austrian Committee for the Defense of Peace, and the Austrian Committe for Peace and Disarmament are social organizations whose goal is the struggle for peace.


General character of the economy. Austria is an industrial and agricultural country with a high level of capitalist development. Of the value of the total social product in 1966, the share of industry and trade was 40.8 percent; agriculture and forestry, 7.4 percent; commerce, 13.8 percent; transportation, 6 percent; and construction and services, 32 percent. Austria produces 0.7 percent of the industrial product of the capitalist world. In 1967 the output per capita was cast iron, 300 kg; steel, 413 kg; and electrical energy, 3,335 kW-hrs. Agriculture is also developed (it meets 80–85 percent of the country’s requirements in foodstuffs), as is transportation, in which transit freights play an important part in the freight turnover. Foreign tourism (up to 10 million people a year) is profitable. About 25 percent of the gross national product is sold abroad, including 70 percent of the saw-timber and graphite, 60 percent of the paper, cellulose, and magnesium, and more than 70 percent of the aluminum. At the same time, a large quantity of raw materials, fuel, and foodstuffs is imported. Austria’s dependence on foreign markets is caused not so much by natural conditions as by the social and historical conditions of its development. Until 1918 regions of Hungary, Czechoslovakia, Poland, Transylvania, Serbia, and other constituent parts of the Austro-Hungarian Empire served as suppliers of food and raw materials for Austria and markets for the sale of its industrial production. During this period, branches of industry that were oriented primarily to foreign markets developed in Austria—textiles, clothing, and machine-building. After the disintegration of Austria-Hungary, Austria experienced several economic crises. The policy of so-called normalization of the economy (1920–28) ended in complete failure. From 1929 to 1933 the Austrian economy found itself in deep decline. Until 1930 extensive participation of foreign capital, mainly English, French, and American, in the Austrian economy was characteristic. From 1930 the penetration by German monopolies increased; after the Anschluss (1938), they occupied the dominant position. Including Austria in the system of its military economy, fascist Germany forced Austrian development of energy, petroleum, metallurgical, machine-building, and military industries. Austria’s economic development continued to be dependent on foreign capital even after World War II. The Vienna memorandum and the treaty with the Federal Republic of Germany on property questions (1959) that were signed by the Austrian government expanded still further the position (20 percent of industrial production) in the Austrian economy of foreign capital (mainly West German and American).

The nationalized sector consists mainly of heavy industry, accounting for 32 percent of the country’s industrial production. A group of monopolistic associations, involving private as well as state capital, occupies the dominant position in the economy—Alpine-Montangesellschaft A. G., Voëst, Gebrüder Böhler, Schöller-Bleckmann, Aluminium-Ranshofen, Österreichische Stickstoffwerke A. G., Steyr-Daimler-Puch A. G., and others. The financial and credit system is controlled by a number of banks—Creditanstalt Bankverein, Länderbank, and Credit Institut. Large foreign investments and the huge demand for raw materials and industrial products promoted the rapid growth of the Austrian economy as a whole during the early postwar years.

Industry. By 1967 the volume of industrial production had increased nearly four times in comparison with 1937, mainly because of heavy industry (the production of cast iron, steel, and rolled metal grew five to six times, aluminum 18 times, and electric power nine times). The

Table 3. Output of mining industry
1 million cu m
2 shipping bulk
3 thousand tons
Source: Statistisches Handbuch für die Republik Österreich. Vienna, 1968
Lignite .....................5,760,0004,600,000
Petroleum ..................2,660,0002,700,000
Natural gas1 .................1,7601,800
Iron ore ....................3,560,0003,500,000
Copper ore2 .................114,000143,600
Lead-zinc ore3 ...............197,400190,300
Magnesium (raw) ............1,650,0001,500,000
Graphite ...................101,90081,500
Salt ........................168,200185,300

number of people employed in industry (excluding construction) in 1966 was 890,000, of which 35 percent were employed in machine-building and metal processing, 17 percent in textiles and clothing, 9 percent in woodworking and paper, 8.2 percent in chemicals, 6 percent in metallurgy, 6.3 percent in mining and electrical energy, and 6.6 percent in the food industry. A high degree of concentration in industry is characteristic. More than 50 percent of the industrial and office workers of the country are employed in enterprises with 500 and more workers; in transportation, machine-building, mining, and metallurgy, the figure is 75–80 percent.

Mining is based on varied, although not large mineral resources. Iron ore has long been mined in Austria (Eisenerz is the main region), as have lead and zinc (the Bleiberg mine) and copper ore (Salzburg). In the world capitalist economy, Austria is noted for magnesium output (northeastern Styria and Carinthia). The mining of graphite (mainly in Styria) and salt (in the Salzkammergut region and at Bad Aussee, Bad Ischl, and other centers in Upper Austria) is of some importance. The petroleum industry, which began to develop only in the 1930’s and grew especially during World War II, is increasingly important (Matzen, Zistersdorf, and elsewhere in Lower Austria), as is the extraction of gas. Coal remains the basic fuel resource, although it fulfills only one-fourth to one-third of the domestic needs for mineral fuel. More than 60 percent of the coal consumed is imported. Styria is the most important region in the country for the mining of lignite. The energy of mountain streams is extensively exploited. Data on mining output appear in Table 3.

Electrical energy is produced mainly (72 percent) at hydroelectric stations, the most powerful of which are on the Inn, Salzach, and Danube rivers. A significant portion of the electrical energy produced is exported to the Federal Republic of Germany and to Italy. In Austria’s fuel-power balance, the share of coal is about 30 percent; oil and gas, 47.6 percent; and hydroelectric energy, 22.6 percent (1967).

Machine-building and metalworking are the main manufacturing industries. Transport, machine-building, and electrical engineering are highly developed, as is the production of equipment for mining, metallurgy, textiles, woodworking, and food processing. These branches are basically concentrated in three regions—Vienna and the Vienna basin, Linz-Steyr-Wels, and Graz.

Ferrous metallurgy is concentrated in the Styrian (Eisenerz-Donawitz) and Upper Austrian (Linz) regions,

Table 4. Production of electric energy and products of manufacturing industry
 1964 (tons)1967 (tons)
1 million kW-hrs
2 units
3 pairs
4 cu m
Source: Statistisches Handbuch fur die Republik Österreich. Vienna, 1968
Electric power1 ............20,40024,400
hydroelectric stations1 ...13,20017,700
Iron .....................2,200,0002,100,000
Steel ....................3,200,0003,000,000
Rolled metal ..............2,300,0002,200,000
Copper (electrolytic) .......15,00017,700
Aluminum (elementary).....77,70078,900
Motor vehicles  
trucks2 .................4,0003,000
Cloth (cotton) .............. . . .103,000,00094,000,000
Yarn (cotton) .............27,00022,900
Yarn (wool) ...............13,50013,700
Shoes (leather)3 ...............12,700,00012,200,000
Cement ..................3,800,0004,500,000
Cellulose .................540,900558,400
Mineral fertilizers..........1,100,0001,300,000
Wood (commercial)4 .......7,500,0007,700,000

and the production of aluminum in Ranshofen; there is a small amount of copper, zinc, and lead smelting. The chemical industry is represented by factories that produce nitrogen fertilizers, sulfuric acid, artificial fibers, plastics, sodas, and perfume products (Linz is a center, with the Os-terreichische Stickstoffwerke combine). Petrochemistry (Vienna) is a new branch.

The leading branch of light industry is the textile industry (Vorarlberg, the Vienna region); the leather and shoe, knitwear, and clothing industries are also developed. Branches of woodworking (state purchases of timber amounted to 10.4 million cu m in 1965)—sawmills, pulp and paper industries, and furniture industries—are widely represented. The production of electrical energy and the most important products of manufacturing industry of Austria are shown in Table 4.

Agriculture. The agricultural area constitutes 47 percent of the country’s territory; about 40 percent is forest, and 13 percent is unproductive lands. Of all the agricultural land (3.9 million ha), 40 percent is arable; 38 percent, meadows and pastures; and 22 percent, alpine meadows (1966). Small farming predominates. Only about 10 percent of the total land supply belongs to about half the farmers (with holdings of up to 5 ha each). More than 50 percent of the land supply

Table 5. Area under cultivation and yield of main agricultural crops
 Area under cultivation (ha)Yield (tons)
Source: Food and Agriculture Organization, 1967
Wheat ..........204,000314,000348,000897,000
Rye ............230,000144,000343,000363,000
Oats ...........203,000126,000274,000325,000
Maize ..........58,00055,000120,000275,000
Sugar beets .....31,00047,000726,0002,308,000

(including forest) is in large farms (more than 100 ha). Among these, the land magnates (the princes Schwarzenberg, Liechtenstein, and others) are notable. A significant portion of the land belongs to Catholic orders and monasteries. Leasing of land, including metayage, is widespread. Capitalist farms are the main producers of commodity produce. There is a broad network of supplies-and-sales and consumer cooperatives, which are dependent on banks. The growth of the stock of agricultural machinery, broader use of mineral fertilizers, and intensification of the labor of hired workers have led to an increase in commodity agricultural output in comparison with the prewar years, despite the decrease in the number of agricultural workers.

Livestock breeding is the basis of agriculture (more than 60 percent of the value of all agricultural produce). The livestock population includes (1967) about 2.5 million head of cattle (including 1.1 million dairy cows), 2.9 million pigs, and 66,000 horses. Mixed farming is characterized by the combination of field-crop cultivation, truck farming, gardening, and viticulture. Among the crops, cereals (wheat, rice, and maize) predominate, followed by fodders and potatoes and industrial crops (including beets). For the amount of land under cultivation, yield of main agricultural crops, and livestock production, see Tables 5 and 6. Lower and Upper Austria, Burgenland, and Styria account for more than 80 percent of the country’s agricultural production.

Transportation. Railroad transportation holds the dominant role in the country’s total freight turnover (16.3 billion tons per km, 1965). There are 8.4 km of railroad for every 100 sq km of territory. The main railroad junctions are Vienna, Linz, Graz, and Villach. The total length of railroad lines is 7,200 km (1967), of which about one-third is electrified. Half of the freight turnover from the railroads goes by electrified rail. There are 31,000 km of roads capable of truck traffic, including 9,200 km of highways. There are 1,390,000 motor

Table 6. Livestock production
 1948–52 (tons)1966 (tons)
Source: Food and Agriculture Organization, 1967
Milk ..............................2,125,0003,259,000
Butter ............................25,00045,000
Cheese ...........................16,00049,000
Meat .............................214,000435,000

vehicles, including 790,000 automobiles. There are 1,733 km of internal water routes. Navigation on the Danube was 6,741,000 tons in 1966. The main ports are Linz (freight turnover, 3.5 million tons) and Vienna (2.4 million tons, 1965). A total of 38,567 planes passed through Austria’s six airports in 1966; of these, three-fourths passed through the Schwechat (Vienna) Airport. Altogether, 1.2 million passengers were transported.

Foreign trade. Foreign trade accounts for about 5 percent of the country’s national product. In 1967 the total value of exports was 47 billion schillings and of imports, 60 billion schillings. Industrial and semifinished goods accounted for 80.3 percent of the total export volume and 71 percent of the import volume; 29 percent of the imports consisted of raw materials, fuel, and food. Austria’s main trading partners are the capitalist countries of Europe, which accounted for 76.4 percent of its imports and 62.3 percent of its exports in 1967; the Federal Republic of Germany’s shares were 40 percent and 32 percent respectively. The socialist countries’ share of Austria’s exports is 19.5 percent and of imports 11.1 percent. Relations with the USSR, Czechoslovakia, Poland, and Hungary are especially active. The USA and Canada account for more than 6 percent of the foreign trade turnover; the share of the developing countries is 7.3 percent of exports and 5.7 percent of imports.

The monetary unit is the schilling. At the rate of exchange of the State Bank of the USSR (Sept. 1, 1969), 100 schillings equal 3 rubles 49 kopeks.

Economic and geographic regions. The Austrian Danube (Lower Austria, Upper Austria, and North Burgenland) is a region of diversified industry and intensive, highly marketable agriculture. It accounts for 46 percent of the country’s industrial output, including more than 40 percent of the production of cast iron and steel, 100 percent of petroleum, more than 60 percent of motor vehicles, 24 percent of lignite, and 33 percent of electric power. The region produces 75 percent of the total yield of food grains and most of the vegetables, fruits, and grapes; more than 50 percent of the country’s cattle and 63 percent of its hogs are raised on farms in this region. The Danube River, an internationally important transport artery, is the determining factor of the region; its valley served as the initial nucleus of the Austrian national state.

Southern Austria (Styria, Carinthia, and the southern part of Burgenland) is a region of mining, metallurgy, machine-building, forestry, and developed agriculture. The region’s importance in the country’s economy is based on the major sources of raw materials and fuel located there: 100 percent of Austria’s total extraction of iron ore (Eisenerz, Hüttenberg), zinc and lead (Bleiberg), magnesium (Radenthein), up to 80 percent of the manganese ore, lignite (Köflach), and graphite (Trieben), and 70–100 percent of the quartzite, salt, and talc. The region is rich in forests and hydroelectric energy. The ferrous metallurgical plants of southern Austria (Donawitz, Leoben, Kapfenberg, and others) do about 60 percent of Austria’s smelting of cast iron and steel. The region plays an especially great role in the production of rolled metal, wrought iron, and various metal goods. Large heat and power plants (Voitsberg, Fohnsdorf, Donawitz) and hydroelectric stations (Schwabegg on the Drava River) deliver part of the electrical energy to Vienna and the northwest of the country.

Western Austria comprises Salzburg, Tirol, and Vorarl-berg. The region produces about 5 percent of Austria’s total industrial output and 3 percent of its food grains. It is noted in the country’s economy for the production of electric power (one-third of the total output of the country) and livestock products, mainly meat and wool (one-sixth of Austria’s cattle). There are three large hydroelectric centers—Salzburg, West Tirol, and Vorarlberg (they export electric power to other parts of Austria, the Federal Republic of Germany, and Switzerland). The textile industry is an old one (cotton in Vorarlberg and coarse broadcloth in Tirol). The machine-building, chemical, and mining (copper, lignite, fluorspar, salt, and magnesium) industries developed after World War II.


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The armed forces of present-day Austria were created after the conclusion in 1955 of the state treaty, which reestablished an independent and democratic Austria. In 1968 the armed forces consisted of land troops, air forces, and territorial troops; the president is the commander-in-chief. Land troops and air forces numbered about 55,000 men (headed by an inspector general who is responsible to the minister of defense). The active call-up period lasts up to 15 months. At the start of 1968, the land forces included three corps groups (commands), consisting of seven infantry and motorized brigades, three separate tank battalions, three separate artillery divisions, a number of battalions for communications and engineering, and supply units. The air force consisted of fighter-bomber air squadrons (two squadrons), helicopter groups (three squadrons), antiaircraft units, and training elements.

The territorial army (about 14,000 men) numbered up to 70 subunits. There is a military academy in Wiener Neustadt to train officers.

Medicine and public health In 1968 the birthrate was 17.1 per 1,000 and the death rate 13. Infant mortality decreased from 190 per 1,000 live births in 1913 to 26 in 1967. The main causes of infant mortality, according to 1964 data, were prematurity and birth trauma.

Noninfectious diseases predominate the pattern of illness. Among the major infectious diseases are tuberculosis (51.3 cases per 100,000 people), epidemic hepatitis (114 per 100,000), scarlet fever (110 per 100,000), and gonorrhea (44 per 100,000).

Vienna and Danubian Austria are marked by the highest mortality rate from cardiovascular diseases (in Vienna more than 500 per 100,000 from 1958 to 1963; in the Danube region, 300–400 per 100,000) and malignant neoplasms (the mortality from cancer was 332 in 1959 and 245 in 1961 per 100,000). These same regions register the highest number of tuberculosis cases in Austria. Western Austria has the lowest death rate from cancer (180–198 per 100,000); the death rate from cardiovascular diseases was 200 per 100,000 from 1958 to 1963. The lowest mortality rate from heart disease was in southern Austria and in Carinthia (1958–63, about 100 per 100,000). In Carinthia and Tirol (western Austria) there are endemic goiter and influenza. Encephalitis from ticks is encountered in mountainous wooded areas; there are breeding grounds of rabbit fever in the plains.

The general coordination of public health work and the work of scientific research and control institutes is carried out by the federal Ministry of Social Affairs (the administration of public health); there are public health divisions and public health inspectors and aides in each province. Private physicians receive patients in their offices and make house visits; payment is made either by the patients or by social insurance. In 1968, Austria had 319 hospitals with 68,700 beds (9.3 beds per 1,000 people) and 11,800 doctors (one doctor per 622 people), of which only 248 worked in state service. In addition, there were 3,500 dentists and dental technicians, 2,000 pharmacists, 1,400 midwives, and 12,600 nurses. Doctors and pharmacists are trained at the universities in Vienna, Graz, and Innsbruck.


Veterinary services. The livestock population is satisfactory as a whole with regard to infectious and invasionary diseases. However, cases of erysipelas (2,489 outbreaks in 1966) and hog cholera and of tuberculosis and paratuberculosis among cattle continue to be recorded. Brucellosis is constant in mountainous sheep-raising regions; fascioliasis is widespread in the regions of Austria adjacent to the Danube. Mastitis of cows, which causes great economic harm, exists on a mass scale. Among bird diseases, pseudoplague is notable (39 outbreaks in 1966).

There were 1,483 veterinarians in the country in 1966. Specialists are trained in a veterinary college in a 4Vi-year program. Scientific research in veterinary medicine is carried out mainly in the federal institute in Modling (Vienna) and in regional institutes in Linz, Innsbruck, and Graz.


The federal Ministry of Education exercises general leadership over public education. Each province has a school council with jurisdiction over general secondary schools and vocational schools.

In accordance with modifications introduced in 1962 by school legislation, nine-year universal compulsory education began in 1966; however, the final implementation of this law was suspended in the summer of 1969. Most kindergartens, general schools, and secondary and lower vocational institutions, as well as all institutions of higher education, are run by the state. Religious schools occupy a significant place among private educational institutions. Religion is taught in all types of schools.

The current system of public education in Austria has a complex structure. The initial link in the system are the kindergartens for children from three to six years of age (in 1968, more than 110,000 children were enrolled). At the age of six, all children enter four-year public primary schools. After completing this school, students are divided among different types of general schools. Most children either finish public school (where the full program is eight years) or transfer to four-year central schools; the minority enter Gymnasiums. The central school usually has two tracks: in one, Latin is taught, in order to give graduates the opportunity to enter a higher level of Gymnasium; in the other, Latin is not taught, and graduates are accepted only by vocational institutions.

The secondary school is represented mainly by Gymnasiums, where the term of study is eight years (four plus four). There are several types of Gymnasiums: the Gymnasium properly speaking (with an orientation to the humanities, modern languages, and practical work); the technical Gymnasium (with a natural science and mathematics orientation); and the technical Gymnasium for girls, where special attention is paid to home economics and modern foreign languages. There are also advanced Gymnasiums for students who have graduated with distinction from the eighth grade of public school. Graduation from a Gymnasium brings the right to enter an institution of higher education. In the 1968–69 academic year there were 918,300 students in schools of compulsory education and 106,800 in secondary schools.

Vocational instruction is given in various types of educational institutions. Lower vocational schools, with programs of one to three years, train skilled industrial workers, office workers, and administrative personnel; special attention is given to the training of cadres in lines of service connected with the development of tourism. Technical schools and schools of artistic trades (with four- to five-year programs) give more advanced professional training but do not provide access to institutions of higher education. Secondary five-year vocational and technical schools offer certificates of completion and the right to enter the appropriate type of institution of higher education. During the 1968–69 academic year, more than 200,000 students were enrolled in the vocational education system.

Teachers for the public and central schools are trained (according to the law of 1962) in two-year pedagogical academies, which accept graduates of full secondary schools. There are also four-year pedagogical institutes (following the eight-year schools), which train instructors in home economics for general schools and teachers in specialized disciplines for vocational schools. Training in the universities and in the four-year pedagogical institutes confers the right to teach in a Gymnasium.

Among the institutions of higher education in Austria are four universities: the University of Vienna and the universities in Graz (founded in 1586), Salzburg (founded 1620; reopened in 1963), and Innsbruck (founded 1669). Each university has a theological faculty. The most prominent institutions of higher education include the advanced technical schools in Graz and Vienna, the advanced mining school in Leoben, the Institute of World Trade, agricultural and veterinary institutes in Vienna, and the Institute of Socio-Economic Sciences in Linz. There are also academies of fine and applied arts, conservatories, and so on. The term of study in institutions of higher education is from three to five years. During the 1968–69 academic year, there were 52,400 students in these schools.

The largest libraries are the National Library in Vienna (founded in the 15th century; about 1.9 million volumes), the library of the University of Vienna (founded 1365; 1.5 million volumes), the University of Graz (founded 1586; 560,000 volumes), and the philosophy faculty library of the University of Innsbruck (founded 1746; 700,000 volumes).

The main museums are located in Vienna: the Gallery of the Academy of Fine Arts (founded 1822), the Austrian Gallery, the Museum of Art and History (founded 1891), the Albertina Graphic Art Collection (founded 1776), the History Museum of the City of Vienna (founded 1887), the Natural History Museum (founded 1748), the Museum of the 20th Century (founded 1962), and the L. Beethoven, J. Haydn, W. Mozart, and F. Schubert museums and others; there are also museums in Graz, Salzburg, and other cities.


Scientific institutions. The Austrian Academy of Sciences (founded in 1847) is a scientific institution incorporating commissions on various branches of science. The principal scientific centers are the universities (in Vienna, Graz, Salzburg, and Innsbruck), the higher technical schools in Graz and Vienna, and other institutions of higher education with numerous research institutes and laboratories. There are also several independent scientific centers in the country: the Austrian geological service (since 1849), centers for meteorology and geodynamics (since 1851) and for metrology, and a government nuclear research commission. Research centers and laboratories in various technical fields have also been established by private industrial companies.

Numerous scientific societies appeared during the 19th and 20th centuries: the zoological-botanical society (founded in 1851), geographical society (founded in 1856), meteorological society (founded in 1865), physical-chemistry society (founded in 1869), the mineralogical society (founded in 1901), anthropological society (founded in 1870), mathematical society (founded in 1904), geological society (founded in 1907), physics society (founded in 1952), several historical societies, and others.

Natural and technical sciences. For socio-economic and political reasons, the history of science and engineering in Austria is bound up with both German science and the work of Hungarian and Slavic scientists in former Austria-Hungary. The rise of medieval science and industry, about which little information has been preserved, was due partially to the needs of commerce, handicrafts, and the ore and mining industry in Central and Eastern Europe that arose, for example, in the 11th century in Tirol. As early as the 14th century, Austrian metallurgists were preparing high-quality steel. The universities at Vienna, Graz, Salzburg, and Innsbruck have long been playing the role of scientific centers.

Prominent mathematicians and astronomers have taught at the University of Vienna: in the late 14th and 15th centuries, Johann von Gmunden, Georg von Purbach, and his disciple Regiomontanus (Johann von Müller); in the late 15th and 16th centuries, George Tanstetter, Georg von Lauchen, and others. The German naturalist and physician Paracelsus (first half of the 16th century) spent part of his life in Austria. Applied research in engineering (ore hoists, water drains, and so on) was developed in the 16th century with the dawn of capitalist relations (particularly in mining). G. Gasteiger invented a hydraulic machine for extracting ingots from furnaces.

The work of J. Kepler at Graz (1594–1600) and Linz (1612–26) contributed to the acceptance of the heliocentric system and with it the establishment of natural science as a whole. The work of the missionary-scientists A. Kofler and J. Grieber, who left geographical descriptions of China, Tibet, and other countries of Asia, was bound up with the intensification of clerical expansion in the East in the 17th century. During that century, the chemists J. Glauber and J. Becher were working in Austria.

Scientific research became more systematized and consistent after the 1750’s, with the development of the capitalist structure in Austria and the shift to a policy of encouraging industry and commerce. The role of scientific and educational institutions (for example, mining academies) was significant in Slovakia, Bohemia, and Hungary. A prominent role must be assigned to Czech naturalists in the development of natural science. Thus, in the earth sciences earlier than others, there appeared the mineralogical-petrographic trend, which was associated in large measure with the work of the 18th century Czech-Austrian educator J. Born.

The work of the old Vienna clinical school, founded by the Dutchman G. van Swieten (one of whose followers, L. Auenbrugger, was the originator of the percussion method), dates from the same period. The first investigator of hypnotism was the physician F. Mesmer (second half of the 18th and early 19th century). The physician and anatomist F. J. Gall, who discovered that the large cerebral hemispheres are the organs of psychic activity, worked at about the same time in Vienna.

Higher technical schools appeared during the first half of the 19th century: in Vienna (1815), Graz (1827), the higher mining school at Leoben (1840). However, the development of science and engineering during that period, held back by the feudal-absolutist state, lagged markedly behind the advanced countries of Europe. The Imperial Academy of Sciences in Vienna was opened only in 1847, later than several other European academies.

PHYSICAL AND MATHEMATICAL SCIENCES. The upsurge of natural and engineering sciences began in the 1850’s. Research in physical and mathematical sciences was notable. C. Doppler established the alteration of wavelength as a function of the speed of movement of the source of the waves. J. Stefan, known for his experimental work on thermal radiation, the thermal conductivity of gases, acoustics, optics, electromagnetism, and so on, may be considered the founder of the Austrian school of physics. One of the founders of molecular physics was J. Loschmidt, who ascertained the number of molecules per unit volume of gas. L. Boltzmann, a disciple of Stefan, was one of the founders of statistical physics, thermodynamics, the kinetic theory of gases, and nonrelativistic cosmology. His name is associated with the basic theorem in the kinetic theory of gases, as well as with the universal constant. Works on mechanics, acoustics, aeromechanics, experimental psychophysics, and psychophysiology are attributed to E. Mach (second half of the 19th and early 20th centuries). His positivistic views were subjected to criticism from the positions of dialectical materialism.

The most famous of the Austrian mathematicians of the late 19th and early 20th centuries were L. Gegenbauer (theory of numbers, algebra, theory of functions), E. Huber (statistics and probability theory), and F. Furtwängler (theory of numbers).

CHEMISTRY. The development of chemistry in Austria during the 19th century was influenced primarily by the French and German scientific schools. A. Lieben developed the new structural trend in organic chemistry, Z. Skraup investigated the alkaloids of cinchona bark, and C. Auer von Welsbach, the discoverer of rare earths, investigated their chemistry. Work on microanalysis (inorganic microanalysis by F. Feigl and organic by F. Pregl, who received the 1923 Nobel Prize) promoted the development of biochemistry in Austria. The inventor of the ultramicroscope, R. Zsig-mondy (1925 Nobel Prize), made a significant contribution to colloidal chemistry.

GEOLOGY. The mineralogical-petrographic trend developed first and foremost in geology during the 19th century. The Czech mineralogists F. Zippe and A. Reuss became professors in Vienna during the third quarter of the 19th century. W. von Haidinger compiled the first geological map of Austria (1845) and was director of the Geological Institute (founded 1849), on the basis of which one of the world’s first government-sponsored geological services was created. The work of the founders of microscopic petrography, G. Tschermak and F. Becke, dates from the second half of the 19th and the early 20th century. The development of historical and regional geology began in the 19th century with the paleobotanical work of F. Unger and continued with research by E. Süss, E. Mojsisovics, and M. Neumair. The Academy of Sciences in Vienna conducted geological expeditions in various parts of the world, the most famous being F. Hochstätter’s expedition to New Zealand. Süss, a professor at the University of Vienna and the president of the Academy of Sciences, was the author of Face of the Earth; he is credited with the most important theoretical synthesis of planetary and regional geology, especially including the data of Russian scientists (primarily V. A. Obruchev). The Institute of Meteorology and Geo-dynamics was founded in Vienna in 1854.

BIOLOGY. The first prominent evolutionist scientist in Austria in the field of biology was Unger. The geobotanist and taxonomist A. Kórner belonged to his school. Animal physiology was investigated by E. Brücke. E. Fleischl von Marxow was one of the first to study the electrical activity of the brain. The laws of heredity, established by G. Mendel, were published in Austria in 1866 in a little-known periodical and passed unnoticed. Among the scientists who rediscovered Mendel’s laws was the Austrian botanist E. Tschermak. Invertebrate zoology was studied by K. Heider. The cytological work of the zoologist K. Rabl was used in substantiating the chromosome theory of heredity.

MEDICINE. Special medical societies promoted the productive development of the medical sciences in Austria. Classical work on pathology is credited to the Czech K. Rokitansky (president of the Academy of Sciences in Vienna from 1869 to 1878). The work of the new Vienna clinical school, as well as the Vienna dermatological school, which retains its significance today, dates from the 19th century. The founder of the Austrian surgical school, the German surgeon T. Billroth, worked in Vienna after 1867. A. Politzer was the founder of otology. His disciple R. Bárány was a Nobel Prize laureate (1914). C. von Pirquet (early 20th century) made a great contribution to pediatrics and tuberculosis. The Nobel Prize winner (1930) K. Landsteiner, who emigrated to the USA in 1922, discovered the human blood groups. The neurological and psychiatric movement in research acquired worldwide significance. T. Meinert (second half of the 19th century) introduced the idea of projection and association systems. Psychopathology and neurology were developed by R. von Krafft-Ebing, K. Notnagel, and K. Economo. The 1927 Nobel Prize was awarded to J. Wagner von Jauregg for his method of treating progressive paralysis and his theory of an infectious therapy for psychosis.

ENGINEERING. Austrian engineering sciences during the 19th century were geared to the needs of mining, metallurgy, machine-building, and transportation industries, and others.

The first steam engine in Austria was built in 1826. P. Rittinger devised machines for mining and salt production. M. Mauermann devised the first formula for stainless steel. H. Müller and T. Obach proposed overhead ropeways. F. Mayer put forth the concept of a boat to skim the surface of the water.

MODERN MATHEMATICS. Austrian science continued to develop in a number of directions in the early 20th century. In mathematics, the work of J. Radon on integral theory, variational calculus, and differential geometry was outstanding, as was that of the representatives of the Austrian topological school E. Menger (dimensional theory) and H. Hahn (theory of functions of a real variable). The so-called Vienna circle occupied a special place in scientific thought after 1922. Its founder was the physicist M. Schlick; members included the mathematicians L. Wittgenstein (living in Britain after 1929), R. Carnap (living in the USA after 1936), and K. Godel (who emigrated to the USA in 1940).

QUANTUM MECHANICS. The work of several prominent contemporary physicists was associated with Austria, in particular, that of E. Schrodinger (a Nobel Prize laureate of 1933), the founder of nonrelativistic quantum mechanics. The Austrian physicist V. Hess received the Nobel Prize (1936) for his discovery of cosmic rays. L. Meitner, who moved to Germany in 1907, was one of the discoverers of atomic fission.

BIOCHEMISTRY. In the 20th century Austrian scientists achieved successes in biochemistry. The Nobel Prize was awarded to R. Kuhn in 1938 for his work on vitamins. M. Perutz, who emigrated to Britain, was awarded the Nobel Prize in 1962 for his study of protein molecules. The work of the biologist P. Kammerer, who made an experimental study of the possibility of inheritance of acquired characteristics in amphibian animals, dates from the early 20th century. Significant physiological research was conducted by E. Steinach and O. Loewi, who received the 1936 Nobel Prize with H. Dale for the discovery of the chemical transmission of nerve impulses.

MINERALOGY AND PETROGRAPHY. The mineralogical-petrographical trend was represented in the 20th century by V. Sander—one of the originators of the micropetrostructural method. The historicogeological movement was developed by the stratigrapher and paleogeographer F. Korner-Marilaun, who introduced mathematical methods into paleoclimatology. G. Häfer validated the theory of confinement of oil deposits to anticlines and developed the hypothesis of the animal origin of petroleum. L. Kober, a representative of the Süss contraction school in geotectonics, developed the study of kratogens (platforms) orogens (geosynclines).

The work of O. Ampferer (1906) and R. Schwiener (1920)—in which the hypothesis of subcrustal convection currents is presented as a conjectural reason for the movement of the earth’s crust—belongs to the geotectonic trend.

GEOPHYSICS. Geophysical investigations, particularly seismological research, were begun in 1881 and were closely linked with the above work. In 1925, V. Conrad ascertained the seismic boundary within the earth’s crust that now bears his name. The achievements of W. M. Schmidt in the physics of the atmosphere and hydrosphere and of E. Exner in theoretical meteorology are well known. Work in the field of Quaternary geology and geomorphology has acquired independent significance. The geomorphological school headed by A. and W. Penck, who developed the concepts of interaction between internal and external factors in relief formation, has played a worldwide role. J. Hahn’s research on climatology and on meteorology is essential.

MODERN ENGINEERING. The engineering sciences have been developed intensively in the 20th century. The outstanding machine designers were G. Horbiger, E. Rosenberg, a designer of electrical generators, and F. Porsche, who built an electrically powered automobile as early as 1900. There were significant successes in radio engineering: E. Lecher was the first to make accurate measurements of the frequency and length of radio waves; in 1906, R. Lieben invented the gas mercury triode; and M. Valier built an automobile with an impulse duct engine in 1928 and constructed a liquid-fueled propulsion aviation engine in 1929–30. G. Schretter developed one of the first proposals on the construction of nuclear reactors.

The spread of fascist ideology in Austria and the country’s seizure by Nazi Germany in 1938 had an extremely negative effect on the development of Austrian science. Progressive scientists were persecuted and driven out of scientific and educational institutions; many of them perished, while others emigrated. Only narrowly applied research was developed; fundamental investigations were curtailed in many aspects. After World War II (1939–45), the lack of scientific personnel and scantiness of resources provided for scientific research hindered scientific development.

PHYSICS. Physics in modern Austria is represented to a significant extent by research in atomic energy, concentrated at the Siebersdorf Reactor Center, which includes institutes of electrical engineering, physics, chemistry, metallurgy, and biology. The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) is located in Vienna. Research centers in physics also include the Physics Institute of the University of Vienna, the Institute of Theoretical Physics, and the higher technical school in Vienna. Groups in Austria today include the Mathematical Physics Society of Innsbruck (since 1936), a statistical association in Vienna (since 1951), and the Central Statistical Office in Vienna (since 1863). Scientific centers in chemistry include the Physical Chemistry Society of Vienna (since 1869), the Association of Austrian Chemists (since 1897), and the Biochemical Society (since 1952). A radium institute was founded in 1910.

The work of the biologist L. von Bertalanffy (now living in Canada), who proposed a so-called general theory of systems as a special scientific and logicomethodological concept, is closely associated with the development of Austrian science. The first publications on cybernetics date from 1951 (the Zemanek team, Austrian Academy of Sciences).


, A. L. CHERNIAK, and

Social sciences.PHILOSOPHY. The development of Austrian philosophy is inseparable from that of German philosophy, but the spirit of abstract speculative reasoning that is so characteristic of the German tradition is alien to Austrian philosophy, in which a tendency toward concrete, objective investigation has predominated. Until the dissolution of Austria-Hungary in 1918, the development of philosophy in Austria was furthered by people from the various nationalities of the Austrian empire. Thus, the most significant figure in Austrian philosophy during the first half of the 19th century was the Czech B. Bolzano, who developed Leibniz’ idea of actual infinity. In the second half of the 19th century, the distinction he worked out between the psychological and the logical was the basis for the views of F. Brentano, who formulated the doctrine of the intentionality of psychic phenomena that became the theoretical source for Husserl’s phenomenology. This line of thought was continued by Brentano’s disciple A. Meinong, who developed the theory of objectification. F. Jodl was an adherent of Feuerbach’s anthropological views. In physics L. Boltzmann maintained a materialist stand in the struggle against idealism.

On the whole, a positivistic elaboration of gnoseological problems dominated Austrian philosophical thought during the latter half of the 19th and early part of the 20th century. E. Mach originated the positivistic school of empiriocriticism. The Vienna circle (M. Schlick, O. Neurath, K. Gódel, V. Kraft, and others), which gained international fame for developing the foundations of logical neopositivism, was formed in the 1920’s. Essays on philosophic-aesthetic theory were written by R. Kassner. The Catholic neo-Thomist theologian F. Ebner developed ideas which in many features were close to the teachings of the Jewish religious philosopher M. Buber, an Austrian by birth. L. Gabriel attempted to combine the principles of neo-Thomism and existentialism.

The Austrian sociologists L. Gumplowicz and G. Rat-zenhofer are among the creators of the reactionary trend of social Darwinism. In the 20th century O. Spann developed the idealistic theory of society as a spiritual entity.

In aesthetics and artistic theory, the so-called Vienna school was widely acclaimed for its art criticism; its chief representatives were A. Riegl, who advanced the principle of a formal stylistic analysis of art, and M. Dvorak, who posed the task of researching the history of art as “the history of spirit” (1923).

PSYCHOANALYSIS. Psychoanalysis, a system of psychotherapy and theory of the unconscious that was formulated by the Viennese physician S. Freud at the turn of the century, was practiced in many countries. The uncritical, universal acceptance of this theory and its elevation to the rank of a philosophical and anthropological doctrine served as the source for a number of conceptions of 20th-century bourgeois philosophy and sociology such as Freudianism and neo-Freudianism. Freud’s disciple A. Adler modified the ideas of psychoanalysis and developed the trend of so-called individual psychology. In the new Viennese school of the 1940’s and 1950’s (V. Deim, V. Frankl, I. Caruso), psychoanalytic ideas were interpreted in the spirit of neo-Thomism and existentialism.

At the end of the 19th century, V. Ehrenfels, a disciple of Brentano and Meinong, was one of the direct forerunners of Gestalt psychology. In the 20th century, K. Bühler worked with problems of general and child psychology; K. Lorenz, with animal psychology; F. Kainz, with the psychology of language; and H. Rohracher, with the connection between organic and psychic processes.

Marxism began to spread in Austria at the close of the 19th century. At the beginning of the 20th century, Austro-Marxism took shape in the Austrian Social Democratic Party; its theoreticians (K. Renner, O. Bauer, M. Adler) advanced the Marxist idea from a position of right-opportunist revisionism. The establishment of the Austrian Communist Party initiated the development and publication of Marxist-Leninist ideas in 1918.

Philosophical journals published in Austria include Zeitschrift für Philosophie, Psychologie, Pädagogik (established 1953); Salzburger Jahrbuch für Philosophic und Psychologie (established 1957); Wiener Jahrbuch für Philosophic (established 1968); and Weg und Ziel (established 1941), the theoretical journal of the Austrian Communist Party.

ECONOMICS. In the 1880’s there arose the so-called Viennese or Austrian school of economics, whose founder was C. Menger; it was a subjective, psychological movement of bourgeois politicoeconomic theory. This trend arose as a bourgeois reaction to the spread of Marxist economic doctrine and the growth of the revolutionary workers’ movement. At the turn of the 20th century, the Austrian school was headed by C. Menger, F. von Wieser, E. Boehm-Bawerk, and E. Sax. Its spokesmen advocated the theory of so-called marginal utility. The methodological principles of the school were formulated by Menger in his book Analysis of the Method Employed by the Social Sciences and by Political Economy in Particular (1883). The theoretical formulations of the Austrian school were expounded in Menger’s The Foundations of Political Economy (1871), Boehm-Bawerk’s The Theoretical Bases for the Value of Economic Welfare (1886) and Capital and Profit (1884–89), and Wieser’s Concerning the Origin and Fundamental Laws of Economic Value (1884) and Natural Value (1889).

In the 1920’s, the Austrian school began to be replaced by the so-called new Austrian school, which was represented by L. Mises and R. Stigl. In 1928 the Market Research Institute was established in Vienna. After 1945 economists at the universities of Vienna and Innsbruck dealt with the problems of directing the economy (problems of prognosis, econometrics, and theories of economic growth). These questions were investigated by A. Nuss-baumer, W. Weber, and E. Streisler at the University of Vienna; by J. Dobretsberger at the University of Graz; and by K. Rothschild and H. Riese at the University of Social and Economic Sciences in Linz. Scientific work on economic problems is also carried out at the Vienna Institute for Economics Research, which publishes monthly joint reports in which questions of national income, currency circulation, planning, economic growth, and so forth are examined.

The economic journals Arbeit und Wirtschaft and Wirtschaftspolitische Blatter are published in Vienna.

HISTORY. The first works devoted exclusively to the history of Austria were the Austrian Regional Chronicle by L. Steinreiter (14th century) and the Austrian Chronicle by T. Ebensdorfer (15th century). The most prominent representative of Austrian humanistic historiography was J. Kuspinian. In the 17th and 18th centuries when Austrian historical research largely reflected the views of the court and officialdom, numismatics, genealogy, heraldry, and the study of Austrian antiquity underwent great development. Among the most important historians of the first half of the 19th century were the orientalist J. Hammer-Purgstall (the first president of the Austrian Academy of Sciences) and J. Chmel, director of the Austrian Academy of Sciences’ Historical Commission—created in 1847—which began large-scale publication of Austrian historical sources (the series Fontes rerum Austriacarum).

During the first half of the 19th century, historical research experienced severe censorship. A certain revival in the development of historical study set in after the revolution of 1848–49. The University of Vienna became the leading center for Austrian historical studies. The Historical Philological Seminar (known as the Historical Institute after 1872) was established there in 1849 and the Institute for Austrian History Research in 1854; the latter became one of the main European centers for the study of auxiliary historical disciplines and for the publication of historical source materials. The leading scholars at this institute have been T. Zikkel, E. Mühlbacher, O. Lorenz, and H. Hirsch; its contemporary research scholars have included L. Santifaller (director of the institute since 1945) and H. Fichtenau. In 1858 the formerly “secret” dynastic, court, and state archives in Vienna were opened for historical research; the archives, founded in 1749, are among the richest in Europe.

In the 1850’s and 1860’s, when the question of how to unify Germany was one of the central political problems, the so-called greater German Catholic historical school arose. It was headed by J. von Ficker, who tried to substantiate historically the necessity of unifying Germany around Austria under the aegis of the Hapsburg dynasty and who gave particular attention to the history of the medieval Holy Roman Empire and the house of Hapsburg. The exacerbation of the national question drew attention to the problem of state structure in the multinational Austrian Empire (after 1867, Austria-Hungary)—the problem of Austro-Hungarian dualism. From the 1880’s there was a strong current of Pan-Germanism in Austrian historiography. Historians of this trend and those close to it (H. Friedjung, G. Übersberger, A. F. Pshibram, and others) gave great attention to the elaboration of foreign policy and diplomatic history.

From the end of the 19th to the early 20th century, social democratic historiography also occupied a relatively prominent place; some of its spokesmen (K. Grünberg, L. M. Hartmann, V. Schiff) made significant contributions to the treatment of the economic history (particularly agrarian) of Austria and Austria-Hungary and to the history of socialism and the workers’ movement.

A manifestation of the increasingly reactionary tendency in Austrian historiography in the 1920’s and 1930’s was the “rehabilitation” of the Metternichian system in the works of G. Srbik and the assertion in a number of historical works that the Hapsburgs did not oppress the peoples of Austria-Hungary (this idea is put forth in the works of Srbik, G. Ganch, and others and continued to be widespread after World War II). The awakening of interest in economic history and the history of culture (particularly that of the Middle Ages) proceeded from a reactionary methodological base; the school of A. Dopsch, who exercised great influence on West European bourgeois medievalism, became the dominant school. Austrian Marxists, historians, and publicists, such as A. Klaar, G. Steiner, and E. Priester, concentrated their main attention on the basis for the existence of an independent Austrian nation, on the elucidation of the history of the Austrian workers’ movement, and on the revolutionary and democratic traditions in the history of the Austrian people.

Austrian historians are joined in the Union of Austrian Historical Societies (founded in 1949). There are a great number of local and regional historical societies that focus on the local history of separate Länder and cities.

Historical materials are published in the journals Sitzungsberichte der philosophisch-historischen Klasse der Österreichischen Akademie der Wissenschaften (founded 1848), Mitteilungen des Instituts für Österreichische Geschichtsforschung (founded 1880), Wiener Geschichtsblätter (founded 1946), and others.


Istoriografiia novogo vremeni stran Evropy i Ameriki. Moscow, 1967.
Lhotsky, A. Österreichische Historiographie. Munich, 1962.
Lhotsky, A. Quellenkunde zur mittelalterlichen Geschichte Österreichs. Graz-Cologne, 1963.

In 1969 there were 202 newspapers and periodicals published in Austria. The most important periodical publications include Wiener Zeitung (founded 1703, circulation 30,000 in 1969), the official organ of the Austrian government; Volksblatt (circulation 40,000 in 1969); Arbeiter-Zeitung (founded 1889, circulation 50,000 in 1969); Volksstimme (founded 1918, circulation 25,000 in 1969); Die Presse (founded 1848, circulation 40,000 in 1969), a newspaper reflecting the interests of commercial and industrial circles; Kurier (circulation 350,000 in 1969); and Salzburger Nachrichten (circulation 35,000 in 1969). The last two are bourgeois newspapers. The information service is the Austrian Press Agency.

Austrian radio and television is directed by an association created especially for this purpose, Österreichische Rundfunk Gesellschaft; for all practical purposes it is controlled by the Austrian People’s Party. There are radio and television stations in all the federal Länder. By 1968, there were 361 state and private radio stations and 116 television stations; transmissions are carried by three radio and two television channels. In addition to broadcasting in German, there are broadcasts in Serbo-Croatian, Czech, and Hungarian.


The earliest Austrian literary monuments date to the 12th century. These are the naively religious poems of the nun Ava—“The Life of Christ” and “Antichrist”—and the anonymous “Song of Mary” (1125). In 1160 the knight Heinrich von Melk wrote the satirical poem “Reminder of Death,” which exposes the sinful life of the feudal estate. The Song of the Nibelungen dates from the period when knightly culture was flourishing in Vienna (about 1200). The Minnesang developed in the 12th-13th centuries, reaching a peak in the poetry of Walther von der Vogelweide, which was closely linked to folk songs. The temper of medieval Austria was reflected in the chivalrous novel Service to a Lady (about 1255), by the Styrian Ulrich von Lichtenstein.

The rise of cities in the 13th century gave birth to burgher literature and one of its leading genres, the Schwank. The most popular work of this kind was Stricker’s “Priest Amis,” a tale about the adventures of a knavish clergyman. The poet Wernher, nicknamed “The Gardener,” wrote “The Settler Helmbrecht,” a satirical tale in verse. The Schwank was developed in the stories of the so-called priest from Kalenberg, which were collected by Philipp Frankfurter (about 1470). In the 14th—15th centuries, Heinrich der Teichner and Peter Suchenwirt wrote didactic epigrammatic poems.

At the turn of the 16th century, during the Renaissance, scenes from the people’s everyday life—marking the start of Austrian folk comedy (the great Tirolean Song of Neidhart and others)—were created and performed along with religious mystery plays. Renaissance poetry entered Austria from Germany and Italy. The neo-Latin poet and humanist Conrad Celtis was invited to the court of Maximilian I from Germany. The poet and Petrarchist Christof von Schallenberg carried the influence of Italian Renaissance poetry to Austria. During the Counter-Reformation at the end of the 16th century, a genre of Jesuit drama in Latin appeared, based on the Gospels and the lives of the saints. Court poetry developed, glorifying the reigning dynasty in epics (Wolf Helmhard von Hochberg’s poem Hapsburg Ottobert and others).

Baroque plays on mythological and historical themes were written and performed at court and in monastic schools in the 17th century. One of the best-known dramas of that time was Piety Triumphant (staged in 1659) by N. Avancinus, in which allegorical characters—the personifications of vices and virtues—performed. Popular everyday comedy absorbed elements of the Italian “comedy of masks.” The comedy of everyday life found its own original poet in P. Hafner, the author of plays based on the lives of the Viennese burghers, such as The Shrew (1764) and New Burlesque (1771). The father of Austrian artistic prose was Abraham a Santa Clara (pseudonym of Johann Ulrich Megerle), whose preachings F. von Schiller used in Wallenstein. In his edifying work Do Not Forget, Vienna (1679), he exposed the sinfulness of the upper strata of society from a democratic standpoint; his novel Archknave Judas (1686–95) was marked by keenness of characterization and rich folk humor.

As absolutism strengthened in Austria in the second half of the 18th century, “purified” German was introduced into state institutions and schools. Its principles were elaborated by the theoretician of German classicism J. Gottsched, who struggled for clarity and verisimilitude against the extremes of the baroque. His successor was Josef von Sonnenfels, a later champion of enlightened absolutism, which was known in Austria as Josephinism (for Emperor Joseph II). The leading figure of the Enlightenment in Austria, A. Blumauer, wrote the poem Adventures of the Pious Hero Eney (1783–86), one of its main themes being the conflict between faith and science. The poetry of M. Denis (pseudonym Bard Sined), author of religious and patriotic odes, contained elements of sentimentalism.

During the war with revolutionary France, H. von Collin proclaimed in classical dramas (Regul, 1801 and others) the idea of a strong state system demanding sacrifices from its subjects. Napoleonic rule in Austria aroused patriotic feelings and interest in national history. After Prussia’s defeat at Jena (1806), German reactionary romantics assembled at Vienna, where A. W. von Schlegel gave a series of lectures on literature. However, the theories of the German romantic school found a response in Austria only among a few imitative authors (J. N. Vogl, J. C. von Zedlitz). The originality of Austrian literature was largely determined by the reciprocal influence of the various national cultures of the Hapsburg Empire. Features of classicism and romanticism merged in the works of F. Grillparzer. His tragedies (Sappho, 1818; the trilogy The Golden Fleece, 1822; Libussa, 1848) are permeated with the consciousness of discord between the ideal and the real but are not without an instructive optimism as well. The actor and playwright F. Raimund wrote the moralizing comedies The Girl From the Fairy World, or the Peasant Millionaire (1826), The King of the Alps, or the Enemy of Mankind (1828), The Spendthrift (1833), and others, combining the features of folk comedy with the fairy-tale spectacle of baroque theater. J. N. Nestroy, in his satirical comedies In the Dress Circle and on the First Floor (1835) and Freedom in a God-forsaken Hole (1848), caustically ridicules the bourgeois parvenu and the spiritually impoverished nobility. N. Lenau was a moving lyric poet, the creator of an original symbolics of nature and the author of Songs in the Rushes (1832) and Wandering in the Mountains (1833); he also appeared as a political poet, reflecting a spirit of opposition, indignantly attacking the political despotism of Metternich and the dominance of censorship, and depicting the misery of the unfortunate workers. The poet’s confidence in the ultimate triumph of justice was expressed in the revolutionary romantic poems Johannes Ziska (1837) and The Albigensians (1842). In his verses Walks of a Viennese Poet (1831), A. Grün (pseudonym of Count Von Auersperg) subjected Austria’s sociopolitical regime to criticism; however, true to the legacy of Josephinism, he set great hopes on liberal reforms. The lyric poetry of M. Hartmann, a participant in the Revolution of 1848, is permeated by revolutionary moods; in his satirical poem the Rhymed Chronicle of the Priest Maurizius (1849), he ridiculed the halfway character of bourgeois parliamentarians.

After the Revolution of 1848 was defeated and the bourgeoisie renounced its democratic slogans, many writers retreated from great social problems. In the work of A. Stifter (the author of many stories and novels, including Indian Summer, 1857, and Witiko, 1865–67), the unpleasantness of capitalist relations is reflected in meditative idylls. Realistic tendencies gained strength in the 1860’s and 1870’s (the novellas of Marie von Ebner-Eschenbach and F. von Saar). Critical realism reached its height in Austrian literature in the dramas of L. Anzengruber— The Priest of Kirchfeld (1870), The Farmer Forsworn (1871), The Fourth Commandment (1878)—which show the penetration of the countryside by capitalism and the disastrous situation of rural toilers. The prose writer P. Rosegger, more inclined to peaceful idylls, depicted life in the village.

The beginning of the era of imperialism and the crisis of bourgeois culture gave birth in the early 20th century to the phenomenon of decadence. The writer and critic H. Bahr became a theoretician of modernist currents. Neoromantic tendencies and aestheticism characterized the work of H. von Hofmannsthal: the collection of lyric poetry Images; the dramas The Death of Titian (1892), The Madman and Death (1893), Electra (1903), Oedipus and the Sphinx (1906), and Everyman (1911). Aspects of impressionism mark the work of A. Schnitzler. In his psychological short stories and dramas, the heroes, giving themselves over to sensual pleasures, feel the presence of death: the comedies Anatol (1893), Flirtation (1896), and the short stories “The Sage’s Wife” (1898) and “Lieutenant Gustl” (1901). The work of R. M. Rilke, with its philosophical symbolism and poetic animation of objects, holds an important place not only in Austrian literature but in the whole of 20th-century European lyric poetry. Reflections on the tragic isolation of the poet, lamentations on the sorrows of life, and dreams of the perfect man characterize both his earlier anthology Poems From the Book of Hours (1905) and his later Duino Elegies (1923). G. Trakl and F. Werfel heralded the birth of expressionist lyric poetry in 1910–11. During the prewar years, the socialist poet A. Petzold, author of the collections In Spite of Everything (1910) and Strange Music (1911), became the spokesman of the moods of the Austrian working class. The first works of F. Kafka appeared on the eve of the collapse of the Austro-Hungarian Empire. In his short stories, parables, and novels, the individual’s dependence on social forces is obscured and presented as irresistible fate, absurdity, and punishment from on high (Metamorphosis, 1916; “In the Penal Colony,” 1919; The Trial, 1925).

K. Kraus, the publicist, satirist, and publisher of the opposition journal Die Fackel (Torch, from 1899), held an important place in Austrian literature of the period 1918–45; he wrote the monumental drama The Last Days of Mankind (1918–19), an angry accusation against the instigators of imperialist war. Joseph Luitpold, a worker-poet, published Heart in Fetters, a collection of antiwar poems, in 1917; his anthology of ballads, The Return of Prometheus (1927), was devoted to the misfortunes of the exploited. The interwar period was marked by high achievements in literary prose. The psychological short stories of S. Zweig in his collections Amok (1922) and Confusion of Feelings(1927) are filled with humanist optimism. The work of F. Werfel (the novel Forty Days of Musa Dagh, 1934) reflect a development from expressionism to realism during these years. The danger of a new world war and the impending threat of fascism stimulated the interest of Austrian writers in the historical fate of their homeland. J. Roth’s novel Radetzky’s March (1932) combines an ironic depiction of the decrepit Hapsburg Empire with an elegiac melancholy for the patriarchal days of old. In his monumental analytical novel The Man Without Qualities (1930–43), R. Musil reveals the spiritual crisis of 20th-century bourgeois society.

Progressive figures in Austrian culture left their homeland after Austria’s forced Anschluss by fascist Germany. After emigrating, Rott struggled manfully against fascism, and Musil, Zweig, Werfel, and Luitpold did creative work with the publicist’s pen. H. Broch wrote the philosophical-historical trilogy The Sleepwalkers (1931–32), which showed the reactionary tendencies in the development of Germany at the beginning of the 20th century and the reappraisal of all moral values; after his emigration, he wrote The Death of Virgil (1945) and The Tempter (published 1953). Persecuted by the Nazis, the playwright F. T. Csokor emigrated; in the dramatic European Trilogy (1952) he generalized the historical experience of the recent decades of the 20th century. The book On Foreign Roads (1955) was devoted to the antifascist resistance of the European peoples.

After World War II, many works on the country’s recent past appeared. H. von Doderer wrote the novels Strudelhofstig, or Melzer and the Thickness of Years (1951), based on life in Vienna in the 20th century, and The Demons (1957), in which revolutionary tendencies of social development are depicted as a certain demonic force. In the novel Galloping on the Tiger (1958), F. Habeck gives a realistic picture of life in Austria over half a century. The novels of G. Fritch (Moss on the Stones, 1956), and H. Sand (Heirs of Fire, 1961) analyze the historical fate of Austria after the collapse of the empire. G. Saiko’s novel Man in the Reeds (1956) recounts the battle of the Austrian working class against fascist reaction. H. Lebert’s novel Wolf’s Skin (1960) has an antifascist orientation. Talented prose writers (H. Eisenreich, F. Humler, F. Kain) and poets (I. Bachmann, A. Okopenko, H. C. Artmann, and W. Schmid) emerged in the 1950’s and 1960’s.


Avstriiskaia novella XIX veka. Moscow, 1959.
Tschulik, W. Die Österreichische Dichtung . . . , 3rd ed. Vienna, 1955.
Görlich, E. J. Einführung in die Geschichte der österreichischen Literatur, 3rd ed. Vienna-Mainz, 1948.
Langer, N. Dichter aus Österreich, [issues 1–3]. Vienna-Munich, 1956–58.
Lux, J. A. Ein Jahrtausend Österreichischer Dichtung. Vienna, 1948.
Reimann, P. Von Herder btschechischen Liter aturbeziehungen. Berlin, 1961.
Schmidt, A. Dichtung und Dichter Österreichs im 19 und 20 Jahrhundert, vols. 1–2. Salzburg-Stuttgart, 1964.
Blauhut, R. Österreichische Novellistik des 20 Jahrhunderts. Vienna-Stuttgart, 1966.
Strelka, J. Brücke zu vielen Ufern: Wesen und Eigenart der österreichischen Literatur. Vienna, 1966.


Many monuments of primitive art have been found on Austrian soil: the Paleolithic Venus of Willendorf, Neolithic ceramics, and ceramic and bronze articles of the Hallstatt and La Tène cultures. Remains of buildings, specimens of local sculpture, paintings, and decorative art from the period of Roman rule (first century B.C. to fifth century A.D.) have been preserved.

There are numerous monuments in the Roman style (11th—13th centuries: basilicas in Gurk and Seckau, the western facade of the Cathedral of St. Stephen in Vienna, the Karners [centered funeral chapels], frescoes, reliefs, and miniatures) and in the Gothic style (13th—15th centuries: single-aisle chapels and choirs of the churches in Heiligenkreuz and Zwettl, the Cathedral of St. Stephen and the church of Sankt Maria am Gestade in Vienna, stone castles and city houses, monumental-decorative and freestanding sculpture, easel painting, stained-glass windows, and jewelry).

Fifteenth-century works of art (altar pieces by the sculptor J. Kaschauer and the painter R. Frueauf; carved and painted altars by M. Pacher) began to show the transition to the humanistic principles of the Renaissance, which took shape in Austria in the 16th century (city buildings with loggias and balconies in Graz, Innsbruck, and Klagenfurt; fortified palaces; the painting and graphics of W. Huber). The art of Austria achieved broad international importance in the baroque era (17th-18th centuries): the architects J. B. Fischer von Erlach, J. L. von Hildebrandt, and J. Prandtauer worked in Vienna, Salzburg, Linz, and Melk, building magnificent country residences, monasteries, city palaces, and churches which were distinguished by their grand scale, wealth of plastic form and decor, and, at the same time, a certain cold elegance. Decorative sculpture (B. Permoser, G. R. Donner, F. X. Messerschmidt), painting (D. Gran, P. Troger, F. A. Maulpertsch), carvings, furniture, and ceramics (Viennese porcelain, from 1718) flourished, combining emotionally elevated style with a bent for clarity and easy elegance. The transition to classicism in the last quarter of the 18th century was marked by the portrait painting of J. B. Lampi, F. H. Füger, and J. Grassi and the porcelain sculpture of A. Grassi.

In the first half of the 19th century, classicism dominated architecture and lyrically painted romantic works were dominant in painting (the landscapes of J. A. Koch, paintings of J. Führich, a follower of the Nazarethans, compositions on folk themes by M. Schwind). The intimate art of Biedermeier became established in mid-century (in city homes and in paintings by P. Kraft, M. Daffinger, F. von Amerling, G. F. Waldmüller, and J. Danhauser); it reproduced the atmosphere of city and village life in a realistically exact way but not without idyllic sentimentality.

Eclecticism reigned in the architecture of the second half of the 19th century. The cities of Austria were built up with substantial homes and pretentiously splendid public buildings (by the architects G. Semper, K. von Hasenhauer, and others). In painting, the theatrically effective pictures of H. Makart were in contrast to the realistic strivings of A. von Pettenkofen, F. von Defregger, the work of land-scapists E. J. Schindler and E. Ettel, and the early impressionists K. Shuch and K. Moll. The Vienna Sezession (1897) became the focus of an extremely artificial modern style, full of unrestrained decorative fantasy (the architects J. Olbrich, O. Wagner, and J. Hoffman; the painter G. Klimt; the objects produced by the Viennese studios, 1903). However, in the early 20th century Austrian architecture moved toward simplicity and clear, functional solutions (the architect A. Loos), whereas subjectivity and fantasy (E. Schiele, A. Kubin) and then expressionism (O. Kokoschka, H. Böckl) became established in painting and graphics.

A search for rational planning of housing developments, workers’ settlements, and public buildings was evident in the architecture of the 1920’s and 1930’s (the architects F. Schuster and J. Frank). A national-romantic tendency also developed (the architect C. Holzmeister). After 1945 a number of boldly designed contemporary structures were built (the Stadthalle in Vienna, 1955–58, by architect R. Rainer). Along with abstractionism (the sculptor F. Wotruba) and surrealism (the painter E. Fuchs), humanist traditions of realism continued in the fine arts (several landscapes by Kokoschka and the portraits of J. Dobrowsky).


Schaffran, E. Kunstgeschichte Österreichs. Vienna, 1948.
Benesch, O. Kleine Geschichte der Kunst in Österreich. Vienna, 1950.
Dehio, G. Die Kunstdenkmäler Österreichs. Vienna-Munich, 1953–61.
Grimschitz, B. Ars Austriae. Vienna, 1960.

The originality of Austria’s musical culture resulted from the multinational composition of its population and the abundance of influences of various cultures, including Latin, German, Czech, Hungarian, Croatian, and Italian. From the early Middle Ages, the bearers of Austria’s musical folk culture were the wandering singers and Spielmänner, and later the Vaganten—fugitive students, monks, and teachers who created mischievous antichurch songs. Monasteries played an important role in musical development between the eighth and 13th centuries: they introduced singing into schools and arranged religious presentations accompanied by choral music and dancing.

During the 12th-13th centuries, musical culture developed at the courts of the Tirolean and Styrian dukes and at the residence of the Babenbergs in Vienna. The poetry of the Minnesingers (Walther von der Vogelweide, Neidhart von Reuenthal, Tannhäuser, and others), who based their works on folk songs, was cultivated. The first monuments of folk polyphony date to the late 14th century; making music at home acquired broad popularity. Court choirs arose in the 15th century in Vienna, Innsbruck, and Graz, where the choirmasters G. von Slatkonja and H. Finck and the organists P. Hofhaymer, H. Grauendorfer, C. Krall, and others worked. At the same time, Austrian music was influenced by polyphonists from the Netherlands (for example, G. Isaac), many of whom directed court choirs.

After the founding of the University of Vienna (1365), the students joined the schoolboy singers of the Cathedral of St. Stephen to form a choir that participated in performances of festive secular music. The imperial choir, including a group of instrumentalists and vocalists, was formed in Vienna in 1498, thus facilitating the concentration of the country’s musical forces. Public student performances accompanied by choral and dance music began in the mid-16th century. The composers J. K. Kerll, F. T. Richter, B. Staudt, M. Zecher, and others wrote music for the theater of the Jesuit college in Vienna (founded 1620). There were similar theaters in all large Austrian cities. The theaters became particularly famous in Salzburg, where the school tradition was very old and held on for a long time (as an 11–year-old boy, W. A. Mozart wrote music to the Latin comedy Apollo and Hyacinth for this theater).

Composers of the Italian school (M. A. Cesti, N. Porpora, A. Salieri, and others) lived and worked in Vienna during the 17th—18th centuries, creating church music, oratorios, and operas. Vienna was transformed into one of the centers of operatic art; in the mid-17th century, a court opera theater was built there, and in 1741 the Burgtheater, on whose stage the Singspiele of I. Umlauff and K. von Dittersdorf were presented. Among the outstanding Austrian composers of the 18th century was J. Fux.

The so-called old Viennese school took shape in the mid-18th century; its representatives included G. K. C. Wagenseil and G. M. Monn. They furthered the development of instrumental music (the sonata, concerto, and symphony). A Viennese classical school was established in the second half of the 18th century; its founders were J. Haydn, W. Mozart, and L. van Beethoven, a German composer who lived in Vienna. The father of the classical symphony and string quartet was Haydn, who established the four-part sonata cycle and fixed the permanent composition of the symphonic orchestra. Mozart created a new type of realistic opera, imparting psychological depth to instrumental music. Beethoven imbued Viennese symphonic music with a monumental force and philosophical profundity that reflected the fiery spirit of the revolutionary epoch. He deepened and dramatized all genres of instrumental music. Joining the Viennese classicists, C. W. Gluck infused his operas on themes from antiquity with the principles of enlightened drama. He subordinated musical dramaturgy to theatrical laws and brought speech and music together in a vocal monologue.

F. Schubert was the father of the romantic movement in Austrian music in the first half of the 19th century. His work was linked with the democratic tradition of Viennese dance and song culture. He devoted much attention to genres of everyday music—songs, vocal ensembles, and piano pieces.

The second half of the 19th century brought forward no important composers of universal talents. H. Wolf emerged as a composer of late romantic songs; his work reflected a poetically refined and tense system of images. The only great Austrian symphonist was A. Bruckner, who imparted a touch of philosophical pantheism to the Viennese symphony. Living in Vienna during the same period was J. Brahms, whose works were marked by rationalistic clarity and logic. The work of both of these composers became the subject of fierce discussions among concert-goers and musicians of Vienna.

Austria was the home of the waltz in the 19th century. The founders of this genre were J. Lanner and the Strauss family. They worked out a distinctive cyclical form for the waltz. Lanner’s waltzes had a sincere character, and Johann Strauss the father gave them brilliance, elegance, and dash. Johann Strauss the son created lyric orchestral poems based on the waltz. The experiment of combining ballroom music with the traditions of the musical folk theater (Singspiel) lay at the base of the Viennese operetta, which was marked by gentle humor, a poetic quality, and emotional lyricism. Its practitioners included J. Strauss the son, F. von Suppé, C. Zeller, and C. Millöker.

Austrian symphonic music once again rose to one of its historic peaks at the end of the 19th and in the first decade of the 20th century, thanks to G. Mahler, the composer of ten symphonies and the symphony-cantata Song of the Earth. Mahler’s symphonies reflected the composer’s tragic humanism and his noble, if Utopian and abstract, romantic ideals. His works, innovative in their musical language, constituted an epoch in the history of contemporary music and exerted an enormous influence on the subsequent development of world symphonic music. F. Schreker, composer of the operas A Distant Bell (performed 1912) and The Princess and the Toy (performed 1913), followed Mahler as an important figure in Austrian music. A certain superficiality and, at the same time, a brilliant virtuosity and emotional oversaturation were peculiar to his work. Schreker left Vienna in the 1920’s and settled in Berlin. He did not create a school of his own. His most gifted students, E. Křenek (who lived in Germany after 1920 and in the USA after 1937) and A. Haba, associated themselves with other currents.

The so-called new Vienna school arose in Austria in the 20th century and exerted a significant, generally negative, influence on the development of music during the interwar period. Its representatives included A. Schónberg, A. von Webern, and A. Berg, heralds of expressionism, the elements of which had already appeared in the late works of Mahler. The works of these composers reflected the tragedy of man in 20th-century bourgeois society. At times, they took positions against militarism (the opera Wozzeckby Berg, staged in 1925) and fascism (Ode to Napoleon for narrator, string instruments, and piano, 1943; Survivor from Warsaw for narrator, male chorus, and orchestra, 1947, by Schönberg), exposed social sins (the operas Moses and Aaron by Schönberg, staged 1954; Lulu by Berg, staged 1937), or preached moral-religious ideals (the spiritual songs and cantatas of Webern). The musical language of their productions, which was based on a total or partial rejection of tonal thinking, permitted them to achieve strong psychological effects in characterizing traumatic situations or bringing to life states of depression. However, the new Vienna school gave way to extremes and closed off the possibilities of embodying humanistic ideals. Beginning with free atonal writing, they moved to a serial system in which the speculative methods of contrapuntal style were applied. Hence came extreme subjectivism, forfeiting ties to folk sources and losing the national and genre aspect of the music. Despite the patronage of the International Society for Contemporary Music, which was organized in Vienna after World War I, and of a number of music publishers, the principles of the new Vienna school did not find sufficiently favorable ground in Austria.

Austrian music fell into deep decline in the 1930’s, especially after the country’s forced annexation to fascist Germany (1938). Austrian musical life was revived after Vienna was liberated by the Soviet Army in 1945. The work of the composers of the last decades—presenting a conglomeration of diverse currents—has not achieved the power and depth of generalization of the 19th century. Interest in the social and ethnical problems of contemporary life has declined. The only Austrian composer who created his own school (so-called romantic realism) was J. Marx. Among his students were A. Kaufmann and F. Wildgans. M. Rubin and A. Uhl, one of the most prominent symphonists of the older generation, were close to this school. J. M. Hauer worked out and put into practice his own 12–tone system. The most active dodecaphonists are H. E. Apostel and H. Jellinek. Neoclassicism is represented in Austria by P. Angerer and K. Schiske. An inclination toward neomedieval music is characteristic of A. Heiller and L. M. Walzel. A number of composers of Austrian descent live in other countries (H. Gal, A. Melichar, J. N. David, E. Toch, and others).

Among the Austrian musicologists of the 18th—20th centuries have been J. J. Fux, J. G. Albrechtsberger, A. W. Ambros, E. Hanslick, G. Adler, R. Wallaschek, R. Lachmann, B. Paumgartner, O. E. Deutsch, W. Fischer, E. Wellesz, E. Schenk, and R. Haas; conductors have included G. Mahler, F. Schalk, E. Shuch, A. von Zemlinsky, C. Krauss, E. Kleiber, J. Krips, H. von Karajan, and F. Stiedry. Among the notable pianists were S. Thalberg, E. Sauer, and F. Gulda; violinists have included J. Böhm, F. Kreisler, J. Mayseder, W. Schneïderhan, and I. Schuppanzigh. Among cellists was E. Feuermann; among male singers, I. M. Vogel and A. Dermota; and among female singers, K. Unger, A. Milder-Hauptmann, A. Materna, M. Brandt, A. von Bar-Mildenburg, and I. Seefried.

There are opera theaters in Vienna (the Vienna State Opera, Volksoper, and Chamber Theater) and Graz. Symphonic orchestras have been established under the auspices of the Concert Society. There is a society of musicians of the Vienna Philharmonic under the auspices of the Austrian radio in Vienna and a Lower Austrian musicians’ orchestra. Choral groups include the Vienna Boys’ Choir. The musical societies of Austria include the Society of Friends of Music in Vienna (since 1812), the Styrian Music Society in Graz (since 1815), the Austrian Music Society in Vienna (since 1964), the Austrian section of the International Society for New Music, the International Federation of Youth and Music, and the Vienna Mozart Society. There is the Austrian Union of Composers. The Mozarteum—an international institution that is the greatest center for Mozart studies—has been operating in Salzburg since 1841. Academies of music and dramatic arts have been instituted in Vienna, Salzburg, and Graz. There is a music institute at the University of Vienna and a commission of musicology at the Academy of Sciences. Musical festivals are held in Vienna, Salzburg, and Bregenz.


Chernaia, E. Avstriiskii muzykal’nyi teatr do Motsarta. Moscow, 1965.
Musikbuch aus Österreich . . . , vols. 1–10. Vienna, 1904–13.
Schenk, E. 950 Jahre Musik in Österreich. Vienna, 1946.
Brauner, R. F. Österreichs neue Musik. Vienna, 1948.
Högler, F. Geschichte der Musik von der Wiener Klassik bis zur Gegenwart. Vienna, 1949.
Zoder, R. Volkslied, Volkstanz und Volksbrauch in österreich. Vienna, 1950.


Presentations including dances were held at the Austrian court in the 16th century. Professional dancers made their appearance in the 1660’s, participating in the interludes of dramatic and operatic performances. At the turn of the 18th century, a number of dancers emerged: K. Appelshofer, S. Della-Motta, M. Szio (a woman), and others. The first permanent theater (Kärntnertortheater) was established in Vienna in the beginning of the 18th century; it had a ballet troupe. A ballet troupe also worked at the Burgtheater.

The development of Austrian ballet was linked to the genres of everyday and comedy ballets of the choreographer F. Hilferding, who introduced elements of peasant and city dance into them and who organically combined dance and pantomime. The dramatic ballets of G. Angiolini (a choreographer and dancer who developed the genre of heroic pantomime ballet) and the choreographer J. G. Noverre (the second edition of his Letters on the Dance was published in Vienna and exerted a progressive influence on the development of Austrian ballet) were staged in Vienna at the end of the 18th century. The foreign teachers and choreographers S. Viganò, G. Joya, J. Aumer, and J. Perrot worked in Austria in the early 19th century.

Starting in the 1830’s, ballet performances were staged in the Leopoldstadttheater as well as in the Kärntnertortheater. Romantic ballet developed in Austria in the first half of the 19th century; it was represented by the outstanding female dancer F. Elssler. In the mid-19th century, the outstanding figures in Austrian ballet were the female dancers F. Cerrito, B. Linda, and K. Kuki and the male dancers L. Frappar and K. Godlewsky. In this period, the traditions of court ballet developed. The waltz was employed extensively as a choreographic form. The development of the Viennese waltz influenced the formation of lyrical-comedy ballets, which were staged to the music of Austrian composers by the choreographer J. Hassreiter (his best-known ballet is The Doll Fairy, 1888, with music by Bayer).

In the early 20th century, rhythmic-plastic dance temporarily drove classical ballet out of the repertoire. Modernist tendencies were resisted by the producer E. Tels (who implemented the realistic principles of Stanislavsky) and by G. Kreuller, who staged ballets at the Vienna State Opera. From 1945 to 1958, the choreographer E. Hanka directed the ballet troupe of the Vienna State Opera; its ballets combined classical with rhythmic-plastic dance.

Until 1954 ballet performances were staged at two opera theaters in Vienna—the State Opera and the Theater an der Wien. Among the ballet artists were J. Drapal, E. Tempi, K. Vimmerl, K. Raimund, and K. Musil. In the late 1960’s, performances of the ballet masters D. Parlić (Yugoslavia), A. Millos (Hungary), and others were staged at the Vienna State Opera.

There are also ballet troupes at the Volksoper theater in Vienna and at theaters in Salzburg, Linz, Graz, and other cities. A ballet school was founded at the Vienna State Opera to train dancers.


In the 14th—15th centuries, miracle plays and mystery plays were performed widely on the territory of what later became the Austrian Empire. At first they were connected with church services, but later they were transferred to city squares. The Austrian theater began to take shape in the 16th century. Initially it consisted of wandering troupes of improvisational actors. Hanswurst was the main character in these presentations. During the period of feudal-Catholic reaction that held sway in Austria during the late 16th and 17th centuries, theaters arose under the auspices of Jesuit colleges. Jesuit dramaturgy preached the grandeur of the church and the stability of the feudal structure. Court and Jesuit theater struck the audience with an abundance of external effects and with the color of the spectacle. Vienna became the center of Austria’s theatrical life.

In the early 18th century, the work of the actor and playwright J. Stranitzky, who established the first permanent Austrian theater in Vienna (1712), had great significance for the development of Austrian theatrical culture. The Royal Theater at the court (named the Burgtheater) opened in Vienna in 1741. Theater art took form there amid an intense struggle between aristocratic and democratic trends. Censorship hindered the development of theater, restricting the repertoire and striving to make theater a means of glorifying the monarchy. The fame of the Burgtheater and its importance in the development of Austrian theatrical culture were determined by the many generations of actors who created genuinely realistic theatrical traditions. Under the direction of the journalist and producer J. Schreyvogel, the greatest Austrian actors worked in the theater—among them, S. Schröder, M. Korn, and G. Anschütz. The playwright Grillparzer wrote for the Burgtheater. A number of theaters were opened in the suburbs of Vienna at the end of the 18th century: the Leopoldstadttheater (1781), the Josefstadttheater (1788), the Theater auf der Wieden (1787), and others. The operas of Mozart and Haydn, Singspiele, comedies with Hanswurst, and other performances were staged in these theaters. In some of the presentations of the suburban theaters, improvised performances by the actors reflected the oppositional moods of the Austrian people. This resulted in a ban on improvisations in 1770. The suburban theaters reached their creative heyday in the early 19th century, when they were involved primarily with the great playwrights and actors F. Raimund and J. N. Nestroy. They created an original genre of national comedy, continuing and developing the best traditions of democratic theater. After the defeat of the revolution of 1848–49, the suburban theaters lost their democratic character and came to have an entertaining, diverting repertoire.

In 1778 at the Burgtheater, the actor I. Müller opened the first theatrical school, which in 1909 was reorganized into the Academy of Music and Fine Arts. The theater was directed by H. Laube from 1849–67. He managed to establish the classics on the theater’s stage (works by Goethe, Shakespeare), managed to remove the censor’s prohibition on the plays of Schiller, and strengthened the theater’s troupe with such actors as A. von Sonnenthal, J. Lewinsky, and S. Wolter. From 1870 to 1881, the Burgtheater was managed by the producer F. Dingelstedt, who presented a cycle of Shakespeare’s tragedies, as well as the plays of L. Anzengruber, H. Ibsen, and others. In the 1880’s, the works of Russian playwrights (N. V. Gogol, I. S. Turgenev, and L. N. Tolstoy) were staged in Austrian theaters.

Antidemocratic tendencies gained strength in Austrian theater art at the end of the 19th century. The leading figures in dramaturgy were H. Bahr, A. Schnitzler, and H. von Hofmannsthal, whose works were remote from social problems. The absence of an artistically important contemporary repertoire had a negative effect on the work of the Burgtheater, which became narrowly academic. The most important aspect of theater art in this period was the work of the actor J. Kainz. Under the leadership of the actor and producer A. Heine, the Burgtheater experienced an upsurge in creative activity in 1918. The actors G. Reimers, M. Devrient, R. Asian, A. Moissi, and others worked in the theater. The Josefstadt theater (directed by M. Reinhardt from 1924 to 1938) led the struggle for progressive art.

Democratic figures in Austrian culture were subjected to persecution during the time of Hitlerite occupation (1938— 45). Many theaters were closed, and the Burgtheater building was destroyed. After the liberation of Austria by the Soviet Army in 1945, democratic forces commenced the struggle for the development of a national culture. The Burgtheater became the leading theater of Austria; on its stage and that of its affiliate, the Academic Theater, works of classical and contemporary drama were extensively performed. In the 1960’s the tragedies of Sophocles, the historical chronicles of Shakespeare, the comedies of Raimund, and other works were presented. The Cherry Orchard and Ivanov by Chekhov, The Inspector General by Gogol, and The Life of Galileo by Brecht were also performed. The progressive traditions of the theater have been affirmed by the producers L. Lindtberg and R. Steinböck.

The progressive, democratic Theater Scala operated in Vienna from 1948 to 1956. Dramatic theaters included the Josefstadttheater and the so-called cellar-theaters (“underground theaters”), which led the search for new forms of theatrical expression.

Among the prominent theatrical figures of Austria have been the actors and producers of the Burgtheater (R. Asian, E. Balser, A. Skoda, A. Hörbiger, K. Dorsch, P. Wessely, H. Thimig-Reinhardt, L. Lindtberg, E. Lothar, A. Rott, and others).

An international theatrical festival is held annually in Salzburg. There are theaters in Graz and other Austrian cities. The Viennese Theatrical Research Society and the M. Reinhardt seminar of the Academy of Musical and Fine Arts in Vienna are research centers.


Ignatov, S. S. Istoriia zapadnoevropeiskogo teatra novogo vremeni. Moscow-Leningrad, 1940.
Markov, P. V teatrakh razlichnykh stran: Avstriia. Moscow, 1967.
Gregor, J. Geschichte des Österreichischen Theaters. Vienna, 1948.
Holzer, L. Die Wiener Vorstadtbühnen. Vienna, 1951.
Wiegel, H. Tausend und eine Premiere Wiener Theater (1946–61). Vienna, 1961.

The first permanent film theater was opened in Vienna in 1903. Until 1906 only foreign films were shown in Austria; then the producers A. Kolm and J. Flek began to release native short films. The first Austrian feature film was From Step to Step (1908), produced by H. Hanus. In 1912, Kolm and Flek established the film company Wiener Kunstfilm, which filmed the works of German and Austrian writers. In 1914 the joint-stock company Sascha-Mester-film (after 1918, Sascha-film) was organized under the chairmanship of A. Kolovrat. For a long time it was the center of Austria’s film industry.

Film experienced an upsurge in the period 1920–24. During these years, The Prince and the Pauper (1920; produced by A. Korda), Sodom and Gomorrah (1922; produced by M. Curtiz), The Hands of Orlak (1924; produced by R. Wiene; a joint German and Austrian production), and other films were produced. Importing of foreign films increased as of the mid-1920’s. With the advent of sound, the Austrian film industry began to issue many musical films— for example, Softly Pray My Songs (1933), about the composer Schubert, and Masquerade (1934). Some figures of the Austrian film industry emigrated in the 1930’s (B. Wilder, O. Preminger, and others). After the forced annexation of Austria to Germany and the establishment of a fascist regime in the country (1938), the development of cinematography came to a halt. With the reestablishment of Austria’s independence after the conclusion of World War II, a renaissance of Austrian cinematography began. The feature film Distant Path (produced by E. Hösch), about the tragic fate of the soldier returning from war, was issued in 1946. The films The Trial (1948; produced by G. W. Pabst) and The Last Bridge (1954; produced by H. Käutner) were awarded prizes at international film festivals. Dear Friend (1955; produced by L. Daquin; a French and Austrian production) was based on G. de Maupassant. Last Action was produced by Pabst in 1955. Musical films—screen versions of plays, operas, and operettas and biographical films devoted to the lives of composers and actors—continued to dominate during the 1950’s and 1960’s. The film Heroic Symphony (1945) was devoted to the life and work of Beethoven. Franz Schubert; The Darling of Vienna; Fidelio; and Give Me Your Hand, My Life (about Mozart) were Austrian films. The film opera Merry Wives of Windsor (1965) and Devil in a Skirt (1966; based on a play by K. Schöchner) were also produced. Revues were also made (Child of the Danube, Golden Symphony, Magic Revue, and others). Many melodramas, comedy farces, and detective stories have been issued. Since the late 1950’s, filmmaking organizations in the Federal Republic of Germany have exerted great pressure on Austrian cinema.

The most important Austrian film actors have been P. Wessely, M. Andergast, T. Lingen, and H. Moser. Such well-known Austrian actors as Maximilian and Maria Schell, O. W. Fischer, and R. Schneider have made films in many countries. The producers G. W. Pabst, V. Kolm-Welte, W. Forst, E. von Borzody, H. and E. Marischka, and A. Kwendler have played a large role in the development of Austrian cinema. Cinema workers are trained by the cinema division of the Academy of Musical and Fine Arts. The Austrian Film Archive was founded in 1955, and in 1964 an Austrian film museum was established. Journals include Filmkunst (founded 1949), Filmschau (founded 1951), and Wiener-Filmzeitung (founded 1937).

The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.


Official name: Republic of Austria

Capital city: Vienna

Internet country code: .at

Flag description: Three equal horizontal bands of red (top), white, and red

National anthem: “Land der Berge “ (Land of Mountains), lyrics by Paula von Preradovic, composer uncertain

Geographical description: Central Europe, north of Italy and Slovenia

Total area: 32,369 sq. mi. (83,858 sq. km.)

Climate: Temperate; continental, cloudy; cold winters with frequent rain and some snow in lowlands and snow in mountains; moderate summers with occasional showers

Nationality: noun: Austrian(s); adjective: Austrian

Population: 8,199,783 (July 2007 CIA est.)
Ethnic groups: Austrians, Croats, Hungarians, Slovenes, Czechs, Slovaks, Roma, Sinti

Languages spoken: German

Religions: Roman Catholic 73.6%, Protestant 4.7%, Muslim 4.2%, other 3.5%, non-denominational 12 %, unknown 3.5%

Legal Holidays:

All Saints' DayNov 1
Assumption DayAug 15
ChristtagDec 25
Easter MondayApr 25, 2011; Apr 9, 2012; Apr 1, 2013; Apr 21, 2014; Apr 6, 2015; Mar 28, 2016; Apr 17, 2017; Apr 2, 2018; Apr 22, 2019; Apr 13, 2020; Apr 5, 2021; Apr 18, 2022; Apr 10, 2023
EpiphanyJan 6
Immaculate ConceptionDec 8
National DayOct 26
New Year's DayJan 1
StaatsfeiertagMay 1
StefanitagDec 26
Whit MondayJun 13, 2011; May 28, 2012; May 20, 2013; Jun 9, 2014; May 25, 2015; May 16, 2016; Jun 5, 2017; May 21, 2018; Jun 10, 2019; Jun 1, 2020; May 24, 2021; Jun 6, 2022; May 29, 2023
Holidays, Festivals, and Celebrations of the World Dictionary, Fourth Edition. © 2010 by Omnigraphics, Inc.


a republic in central Europe: ruled by the Hapsburgs from 1282 to 1918; formed a dual monarchy with Hungary in 1867 and became a republic in 1919; a member of the European Union; contains part of the Alps, the Danube basin in the east, and extensive forests. Official language: German. Religion: Roman Catholic majority. Currency: euro. Capital: Vienna. Pop.: 8 120 000 (2004 est.). Area: 83 849 sq. km (32 374 sq. miles)
Collins Discovery Encyclopedia, 1st edition © HarperCollins Publishers 2005