What do Austrians really think of Germans? - The Local
Germans and Austrians are the odd couple of Europe. But their relationship could be compared to that of the Scots and the English, or the. Relations between Austria and Germany are close, due to their shared history and language, with German being the official language and Germans being the. IT IS not easy to discuss Austria's present relations with Germany on the one hand and with Italy on the other. Everyone in a responsible position here in Austria.
When Austria-Hungary stirred up excuses for a war First World War against Serbia, Germany, claiming the Alliance's terms of passive military defence instead of downright aggression, reluctantly entered the war on Austria-Hungary's side. Both Germany and Austria became republics and were heavily punished in the Treaty of Versailles and Treaty of St.Why isn't Austria a part of Germany?
The vast majority in both countries wanted unification with Germany now the Weimar Republic into a Greater German nation, but this was strictly forbidden by the Treaty of Versailles to avoid a dominant German state. On 1 Septemberthe Weimar Republic and Austria concluded an economic agreement.
After Austrian-born Adolf Hitler came to power in Germany inhe demanded the right to Anschluss union between Austria and Germany. Mussolini successfully forced Hitler to renounce all claims to Austria on 11 July Anschluss[ edit ] AfterHitler and Mussolini forged a closer relationship in preparation for Germany's expansionist ambitions.
Hitler used the Nazi Party of Austria to influence public opinions and staged a coup against the Austrian Fascist government in When Hitler decided to refrain from reclaiming South Tyrol, Mussolini abandoned his pledge to protect Austria's independence. Subsequently, the Anschluss of the Third German Reich and Germany-Austria occurred inreuniting both countries for the first time since the s.
Austria, Germany and their relations with Russia
Austria became Ostmark Eastern Region under Hitler's regime. A provisional Austrian government, led by Karl Rennerdeclared the country's regained independence. Austria's democratic constitution was reinstated and elections in late paved the way for a new federal government.
Leopold Figl became the first Chancellor of Austria. Germany, however, was occupied by the Allied Powers and divided into four governing zones: British, French, American and the Soviet. After the Second World Warthere has been no serious effort among the citizens or political parties to unite Germany and Austria. In addition, the Austrian State Treaty forbids such a union and the constitution required Austria's neutrality.
Austria began to develop a separate national identity from Germanyalthough both countries continued to co-operate closely in economic and cultural fields during the Cold War.
Moreover, political relations between both countries have been strong and amicable. One such example was the idea to establish a common free trade zone from Vancouver to Vladivostok, initiated by then EU commissioner Romano Prodi. Other promising initiatives included the creation of an EU-Russia Political and Security Policy Committee, as suggested in the Meseberg Memorandum of but which, according to Peter Schulze, was not even seriously discussed.
Where it all went wrong — a lesson in history Russia and Western allies remain divided over the reasons for the current crisis. Conflicting narratives tend to inflame the political debate, making it difficult to engage in pragmatic cooperation. The speakers on the panel agreed that mistakes have been made by both sides; evidently, an insistence on blaming the other side for everything that has gone wrong is anything but helpful to rebuilding trust.
Austria-Hungary and Germany: complicated relations
The panel reflected on how the breakdown in relations did not just appear with the onset of the conflict in Eastern Ukraine but instead started not long after the dissolution of the Soviet Union.
Peter Schulze drew attention to the fact that in the s, when a new order was in the making, Russia was in deep economic crisis and so primarily focused on its domestic situation. At that time, the main task for Russian elites was to keep the country together and prevent it from degenerating into a failed state.
At the same time, no serious efforts were undertaken to forge stronger ties with Russia.
Teltschik furthered the point by saying that similarly, when offering Ukraine membership, the EU did not sufficiently account for the importance Russia placed on maintaining influence in Ukraine, nor for the long-standing close ties that existed between the two countries. It is important to remember though that this approach is not the result of recent changes in Austrian politics.
Therefore, as Walter Schwimmer pointed out, engaging in dialogue with Russia, especially in difficult times, has been a consistent feature of Austrian foreign policy.
Walter Schwimmer added that Austria has generally treated Russia with respect, and without excessive judgement and prejudice; in spite of circumstances, it has made efforts to try to understand. Germany — the reluctant yet important player While Vienna has maintained good relations with Moscow since the outbreak of the Ukraine crisis, despite its deep historical, political, economic, and social links with Russia, Berlin has taken on a tough posture and has been one of the main drivers upholding the EU sanctions policy.
In his assessment of the German approach towards Russia, Peter Schulze did not mince his words. Critical issues are not being addressed, and no serious effort has been undertaken to change the current state of play. Instead, Schulze argued, Germany should use its position within the EU and its strong historical ties with Russia to stimulate an improvement in EU-Russia relations.
The argument that Germany should take on a more active role was acknowledged by all speakers. Not all is lost yet The consensus among the speakers was that engaging in dialogue with Russia is not merely a matter of choice, but one of necessity.
Russia is part of Europe and ought to be treated as such, Walter Schwimmer insisted.
Horst Teltschik argued against using the current crisis and disagreement between Russia and the West as an excuse for closing down lines of communication. Teltschik emphasised that it is precisely the existing divisions that necessitate engagement in dialogue. According to Schulze, what underlines the need for political rapprochement is the fact that the EU and Russia are in a state of inextricable interdependency; a primary example of this is the energy sector.
Is there any chance of de-escalating tensions and revitalising existing relations? Horst Teltschik is of the opinion that there are clear indications that Russia is indeed interested in restoring relations with Europe.
The panel agreed that Ukraine, which remains a divisive issue between Russia and Western allies, needs particular attention if the deadlock in relations is to be broken. As Werner Fasslabend pointed out, in view of the current situation, freezing the conflict in Eastern Ukraine might be the most effective option, since it could allow both for the commencement of a new phase in the future development of Ukraine and a breaking of the deadlock in Russia-West relations.