Austrian History – The Second Republic Part II

From the state treaty to the sole government of the SPÖ (1955-70)

According to, 1957–65 Schärf was Federal President, 1965–74 F. Jonas, 1961–64 A. Gorbach and 1964–70 J. Klaus Federal Chancellor (1957–66 Vice Chancellor B. Pittermann). While the grand coalition had drawn its inner strength from the memory of the fateful conflict between socialists and bourgeois conservatives in the time of the First Republic and from the necessity of a common stance towards the occupying powers after the Second World War, after gaining independence, the Criticism of a strongly oriented proportional representation and the lack of a strong parliamentary opposition (the FPÖ, 1958–78 led by Friedrich Peter [* 1921 † 2005], had too narrow a parliamentary base). At times, the question of the entry of Otto (von) Habsburg-Lothringen weighed heavily on the ÖVP / SPÖ coalition. In the National Council elections in 1966, the ÖVP won an absolute majority and, with Klaus, formed the sole government. – In its foreign policy, Austria (since 1955 a member of the UN, since 1956 of the Council of Europe, since 1960 of the EFTA) continued to strive to maintain its neutrality. It took part in efforts to ease the tension in the East-West conflict. In 1969 it ratified the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty; Vienna became the seat of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA abbreviation) to monitor this treaty.

The Kreisky era (1970-83)

After the SPÖ had become the strongest party in the National Assembly in 1970, B. Kreisky (1959-66 Foreign Minister) formed a socialist minority government, from the FPÖ on factual issues, among others. with the reform of the electoral law. In the elections of 1971, 1975 and 1979 the SPÖ won an absolute majority of the seats; Kreisky’s strong charisma in liberal and conservative sections of the population played a major role. In tough parliamentary disputes with the opposition, the Kreisky government, among others, continued through a tax, criminal, family, university and broadcasting reform. After a constitutional amendment, community service was anchored in the constitution in 1974 as a substitute for military service for conscientious objectors.

In June 1974 the population elected the SPÖ candidate R. Kirchschläger (independent) as Federal President (re-elected in 1980). With a narrow majority (50.47%) the population rejected the commissioning of the Zwentendorf nuclear power plant in 1978 – and thus the use of atomic energy in Austria.

In terms of foreign policy, Austrian efforts to reach an association agreement with the EC failed in 1971; Instead, the Kreisky government concluded a trade agreement with the EC in 1972, with which there has been complete free trade since 1977. About the Ethnic Groups Act (1976) and the local sign dispute In 1977 there were violent tensions with Yugoslavia. Since 1973 Austria has participated as one of the neutral states in the framework of the Conference on Security and Cooperation in Europe (CSCE) and its successor conferences in the process of détente in the East-West conflict. In 1979 Vienna became the third “UN City” alongside New York and Geneva. On Cyprus and on the Arab-Israeli demarcation lines, Austria has been providing the UN with troops for peacekeeping in these areas since the 1970s. In 1979 the PLO was accredited by the Austrian federal government.

Foreign policy

The government under Vranitzky still had an express reservation of neutrality in July 1989 applied for membership to the EC. With the end of the East-West conflict (1990/91), the question of neutrality came more and more into the domestic political discussion (including the replacement of the State Treaty). After negotiations (from February 1, 1993) with the EC, Austria concluded a treaty on joining the EU on March 2, 1994 (now without mentioning neutrality). After it was approved by the population in a referendum on June 12, 1994 (66.4% of the votes cast) and signed on June 24, 1994 at the EU summit in Corfu, Austria joined the community on January 1, 1995. In February 1995, she joined NATO’s “Partnership for Peace” program. In 2008 Austria ratified the Lisbon Treaty. In the last elections to the European Parliament on May 25, 2014, the ÖVP came to 27, 0% (-3% compared to 2009) of the votes, in second place was the SPÖ with 24.1% (+ 0.4%). The FPÖ recorded strong gains with 19.7% (+ 7%) and the Greens with 14.5% (+ 4.6%). The NEOS party immediately won 8.1% of the vote.

The international Kosovo crisis in 1999 and, in particular, the terrorist attacks on the USA in September 2001 intensified the discussion about the strategic direction of security policy. In the new security and defense doctrine of 2001, the principle of neutrality was deviated for for the first time and this was redefined as “freedom of alliance” while retaining the option of joining NATO. In 2011 the cabinet approved a new security doctrine in which this option was removed again. A commitment to neutrality was again made. Against the background of the escalation in the Syrian civil war, Austria withdrew its soldiers stationed on the Golan Heights as part of a UN mission in June / July 2013.

Austria has been a member of the Eurozone since 1.1.1999; On January 1, 2002, the euro became legal tender.

Austrian History - The Second Republic 2

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