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3 - Austria

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  05 August 2012

Thomas U. Berger
Affiliation:
Boston University
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Summary

It has been said that Austria's greatest accomplishment in the twentieth century was to convince the world that Beethoven was Austrian and Hitler was German, when in fact, the reverse is true. Behind this joke is a cruel criticism of Austria's ability to forget: to forget the fact that like the Federal Republic, the Republic of Austria was a successor state to the Third Reich; to forget the role many individual Austrians played in the worst crimes of the Nazi era; to forget the wild scenes of jubilation that greeted Hitler during his triumphal tour of Austria following the Anschluß; and to forget the shameful way in which many Austrians participated in, and often profited from, the destruction of Austria's Jewish community.

For decades, Austria was able to hide from both itself and from the world this darker side of its history thanks to the convenient myth, first propagated by the Allied Powers in 1943, that Austria had been the “first victim of Nazism.” The myth of Austrian victimhood became the basis of a resolutely impenitent official historical narrative, one that denied any Austrian responsibility for the crimes of the Third Reich, neglected the legal pursuit of the perpetrators of atrocities, and paid relatively paltry sums of compensation to the victims of Nazism and their families.

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Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print publication year: 2012

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  • Austria
  • Thomas U. Berger, Boston University
  • Book: War, Guilt, and World Politics after World War II
  • Online publication: 05 August 2012
  • Chapter DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/CBO9781139109437.004
Available formats
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Send book to Dropbox

To send content items to your account, please confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your account. Find out more about sending content to Dropbox.

  • Austria
  • Thomas U. Berger, Boston University
  • Book: War, Guilt, and World Politics after World War II
  • Online publication: 05 August 2012
  • Chapter DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/CBO9781139109437.004
Available formats
×

Send book to Google Drive

To send content items to your account, please confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your account. Find out more about sending content to Google Drive.

  • Austria
  • Thomas U. Berger, Boston University
  • Book: War, Guilt, and World Politics after World War II
  • Online publication: 05 August 2012
  • Chapter DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/CBO9781139109437.004
Available formats
×