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The Paradoxical Republic: Austria 1945-2005

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The Paradoxical Republic

Austria 1945-2005

Oliver Rathkolb
Translated from the German by Otmar Binder

316 pages, 36 illus., bibliog., index

ISBN  978-1-84545-639-9 $135.00/£99.00 Hb Published (January 2010)

ISBN  978-1-78238-396-3 $34.95/£27.95 Pb Published (March 2014)

Hb Pb View cartYour country: United States - Click here to remove geolocation   Recommend to your Library Available in GOBI®


The author's analysis is balanced and frequently insightful, and his concluding chapter looking at future trends is particularly interesting..  ·  Choice

"A fine and powerful book with many new insights…fills a major gap in the literature and deserves to be read widely. If it arouses contradiction and reflection, the author will have achieved his purpose."  ·  European History Quarterly

"A tour de force combining historical insight, political analysis, personal opinion, skillful prose, and visual metaphor to map a pathway through Austria’s recent past."  ·  The Journal of Modern History

“The book, recently published, is already considered a standard work.”  ·  Die Zeit

“The way Rathkolb connects the controlled democracy to the economy is typical for this book: in concentric circles, in apparent detours, he leads [the reader] through the labyrinth of Austria. Always critical, very readable – and enlightening.”  ·  Die Tageszeitung


Austria, a small-state society with barely eight million inhabitants differs from the rest of Europe in that it displays various paradoxical developments in its political culture, social life, and economy. First, most Austrians are the descendents of immigrants from all parts of the Habsburg Monarchy due to intensive migration occurring before 1913. Yet contemporary election campaigns and domestic and international politics have been dominated by xenophobic anti-migration slogans, especially since 1989. Without migration, the country’s population would be in serious decline. Second, the Austrians have profited enormously from EU membership and EU enlargement but are stubbornly opposed to EU institutions, and there is little evidence of any EU hyphenated identities. Last, attitudes to historical events are equally contradictory: even though up to 600,000 Austrians were members of the Nazi Party, often holding prominent positions (Adolf Hitler himself), the German Reich has been regarded as solely responsible for the Holocaust. These and a number of other paradoxical perceptions are explored and interpreted in this fascinating and wide-ranging work by one of Austria’s leading historians.

Oliver Rathkolb is Professor of Contemporary History at the University of Vienna. He was Schumpeter Fellow at the Minda de Gunzburg Center for European Studies at Harvard University and Visiting Professor at the University of Chicago and is member of the Academic Committee for the forthcoming House of European History, European Parliament. He has published widely on Austrian and European contemporary political and cultural history, international affairs and business history. He was founding co-editor of the quarterly Medien und Zeit (Media and Time) and is currently editor of the journal Zeitgeschichte (Contemporary History).

Subject: 20th Century History
Area: Central/Eastern Europe




Chapter 1. Austrian Identity between national pride, solipsism and European patriotism
Chapter 2. Peculiarities of Austrian Democracy
Chapter 3. “Austria can beat everything, if only she wants to”: Myth and reality of Austrian economic policy since 1945
Chapter 4. Ten Chancellors, and not one a woman
Chapter 5. The newspaper tycoons of the Second Republic
Chapter 6. Neutrality and the State Treaty in a new Europe
Chapter 7. “Alles Walzer…”: the politics of art and culture as the early Second Republic’s elixir of life
Chapter 8. The Austrian model of the welfare state and inter-generational and inter-gender contracts since 1945
Chapter 9. Shadow of the Past
Chapter 10. Austria’s political future: some trends


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