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Hidden Hands and Cross-Purposes: Austria and the Irreconcilable Conflict between Neutrality and Market Laws

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  15 May 2012

Extract

Austria emerged in 1955 from a ten-year occupation administered by the four major powers of the successful anti-Third Reich coalition of World War II—France, the Soviet Union, the United Kingdom, and the United States—as a united, independent state. The 15 May 1955 State Treaty signed by these countries and Austria spared Austria the fate of Cold War division suffered by Austria's neighbor to the north (in the ultimate East-West breakdown of Germany's parallel postwar quadripartite occupation). Paving the way for Austria's good fortune was a political quid pro quo agreed between Austrian leaders and their Soviet counterparts in Moscow the previous April. In the 15 April 1955 Moscow Memorandum, Austria consented to becoming a permanently neutral state modeled on Switzerland. This neutrality precluded a possible Austrian membership in NATO in exchange for a long-delayed Soviet assent to an end of Austria's occupation regime with a concomitant abandonment of the Soviet occupation zone and the withdrawal of all occupation troops. After the completion of this withdrawal, a fully sovereign Austria made good on its pledge with the passage on 26 October 1955 of a constitutional law declaring Austria to be “permanently neutral” and foreswearing all military alliances.


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Copyright © Center for Austrian Studies, University of Minnesota 2012

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References

1 A copy of the State Treaty is available at the website European Navigator, see: State Treaty, accessed 3 December 2005; available from http://www.ena.lu/mce.cfm. A German edition is also available at: Staatsvertrag betreffend die Wiederherstellung eines unabhängigen und demokratischen Österreich, accessed 30 January 2006; available from http://www.oesterreichistfrei.at/geschichte3_4.htm. In print, see: Siegler, Heinrich, ed., Austria: Problems and Achievements since 1945 (Bonn, 1969), 178–92.Google Scholar

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33 Cable from the American Embassy in Vienna, Austria, 27 May 1953.

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36 Cable from the American Embassy in Vienna, Austria, 27 May 1953.

37 Security Trade Controls in Austria.

38 Detailed Development of Major Actions Relating to Austria, (NSC 164/1) from 7 April 1955 through 17 November 1955.

39 Convention Respecting the Rights and Duties of Neutral Powers and Persons in Case of War on Land. Article 7 of Hague Convention XIII from 1907 concerning neutrality at sea also stated that a “neutral Power is not bound to prevent the export or transit, for the use of either belligerent, of arms, ammunition, or, in general, of anything which could be of use to an army or fleet.” Yet the immediately following Article 8 demanded that a FIX “neutral Government is bound to employ the means at its disposal to prevent the fitting out or arming of any vessel within its jurisdiction which it has reason to believe is intended to cruise, or engage in hostile operations, against a Power with which that Government is at peace. It is also bound to display the same vigilance to prevent the departure from its jurisdiction of any vessel intended to cruise, or engage in hostile operations, which had been adapted entirely or partly within the said jurisdiction for use in war.”

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45 Luif, “Strategic Embargoes and the European Neutrals,” 175.

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Ibid

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100 Jankowitsch, 367.

101 Hummer and Mayrzedt, 677.

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