Austria History in the 1950's

Austria History in the 1950’s

On December 31, 1950, the first president of the post-war Republic, Karl Renner, in office since 1945, the two main parties – the Volkspartei (Catholic) and the Socialist Party – which together formed the government coalition, clashed over the question of whether to choose the new president with elections by universal suffrage, as prescribed by art. 60 of the 1929 Constitution (re-enacted on 19 December 1945), or by indirect election by the federal parliament, as in fact had happened in the two previous elections of 1931 and 1945. The first thesis, supported by the socialists, prevailed. In the election held on May 27, 1951, the success went to the socialist candidate Theodor Körner.

According to EXISTINGCOUNTRIES.COM, the differences between the two government parties also affected almost all aspects of the country’s government, from economic and financial policy to the laws of normalization of internal political life. To leave the country to decide, the two parties decided to advance the general elections from November to February 1953, setting the electoral campaign on economic policy: the planning and directing tendencies of the socialists against the liberal tendencies of the Catholics, the latter representatives of industrial circles. and businesses of the city and of the great mass of small landowners in the countryside. But the results of the elections, assigning 74 seats (previously 77) to the popular and 73 seats (67 in the previous legislature) to the socialists – of the other political groupings, the communists went from 5 to 4 seats and the League of Independents, a far-right formation, from 16 to 14 seats – imposed the reconstitution of the old government coalition with a compromise economic program. The chancellery was taken over by the president of the Catholic party, Julius Raab.

Moreover, for the moment the two parties had an important basis of unity: the common commitment to put an end to the occupation regime of the four great allied powers (USA, USSR, Great Britain and France) through the signing of a state treaty. (Staatsvertrag). The general agreement reached in the London conference of November-December 1947 between the four foreign ministers had been overwhelmed by the general escalation of the tension between the two blocs: both the conference of foreign ministers in Paris in the spring of 1949 and the innumerable subsequent meetings of the deputies of ministers, during which a draft treaty was drawn up complete with almost all of its articles, did not succeed in unblocking a situation by now largely conditioned by the complex of relations between the western and eastern blocs. A new attempt at an agreement made by Westerners on March 13, 1952 with the proposal of a “short treaty” in 8 articles which provided for the recognition of the author also failed. as an independent and sovereign state, the commitment to respect its independence, the prohibition of a union with Germany, the recognition of the borders of 1938, the withdrawal of the foreign armed forces within 3 months, the cancellation of reparations for the Austria and the return to the Austrian state within three months of the German assets located in the four occupation zones. Nor did the Austrian attempt to get the UN to raise the issue from Brazil in December 1953 to unblock the situation, and so did the conference of foreign ministers in Berlin in January-February 1954.

On the latter occasion, on the contrary, the Soviet representative Molotov proposed to postpone the withdrawal of the occupation troops from the Austria until after the conclusion of the peace treaty with Germany. Favorable prospects for the Austrian treaty only opened after a lightening of relations between West and East in 1954. Suddenly, on February 8, 1955, Molotov abandoned, in a declaration to the Supreme Soviet, the rigid position of his government, simply asking, for the signing of the treaty, that it would give guarantees against a new Anschluss. and that the Austria undertake not to enter into military coalitions and alliances and not to allow the creation of military bases on its territory. The shrewdness of the Austrian government of Chancellor Raab was to broaden the attitudes and reassuring statements, placing the to. a “testing ground for the understanding of the peoples”; realizing the true needs of the Soviet government, Rahab achieved full success in his April trip to Moscow, and on May 15 the foreign ministers of the four powers and the Austrian one signed the treaty that restored independence to Austria. On the following 26 October, simultaneously with the completion of the eviction of the occupation forces, the Austrian National Assembly approved the inclusion in the Constitution of the principles of permanent neutrality. Since then, on the one hand the Austria endeavored to consolidate good relations with all countries and with both blocs, for the other he tried to tackle the open problems with neighboring countries: contrast with Italy on the interpretation of the De Gasperi-Gruber agreement for the Alto Adige (v.), Question of the Slovenian minority in Carinthia, etc.

With the signing of the state treaty, the controversy between the parties of the government coalition over the economic and social direction of the state escalated: two early elections, however – a first time on May 13, 1956 and a second time in May 1959 – they did not solve the problem of giving an absolute majority to one of the two parties, and both times it was necessary to return to coalition governments, always chaired by Raab. After Körner’s death in January 1957, a socialist, Austria Schärf (May 7), took over the presidency of the Republic again.

Austria History in the 1950's

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