country in Central Europe

Austria, officially the Republic of Austria (German: Republik Österreich), is a country in the central European Union. It borders Germany, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Hungary, Slovenia, Italy, Liechtenstein and Switzerland. It comprises 9 federated states. Its capital, largest city and one of the nine states is Vienna. It hosts the headquarters of the OSCE and OPEC. Its current head of state is President Alexander Van der Bellen, and its current head of government is Karl Nehammer.

Austria's two achievements were to have persuaded the world that Hitler was German and that Beethoven was Viennese. —Christopher Hitchens
Austrians have a wonderful sense of humour, Germans, not so much. —Christoph Waltz

Quotes edit

  • The second cardinal tragedy [of World War I] was the complete break-up of the Austro-Hungarian Empire by the Treaties of St. Germain and Trianon. For centuries this surviving embodiment of the Holy Roman Empire had afforded a common life, with advantages in trade and security, to a large number of peoples, none of whom in our own time had the strength or vitality to stand by themselves in the face of pressure from a revivified Germany or Russia. All these races wished to break away from the federal or imperial structure, and to encourage their desires was deemed a liberal policy. The Balkanisation of Southeastern Europe proceeded apace, with the consequent relative aggrandisement of Prussia and the German Reich, which, though tired and war-scarred, was intact and locally overwhelming. There is not one of the peoples or provinces that constituted the Empire of the Hapsburgs to whom gaining their independence has not brought the tortures which ancient poets and theologians had reserved for the damned. The noble capital of Vienna, the home of so much long-defended culture and tradition, the centre of so many roads, rivers, and railways, was left stark and starving, like a great emporium in an impoverished district whose inhabitants have mostly departed.
  • Our difficulties with the Russians increased, but I never really blamed Konev. He obviously was merely carrying out instructions. He even had a sense of humor about it occasionally. Once when we were discussing Austrian politics, the name of the Communist party leader, Ernst Fischer, was mentioned. Jokingly, I said: "Well, I don't like him because he is a Communist." Konev grunted. "That's fine," he said. "I don't like him either because he's an Austrian Communist."
  • Long live Germany. Long live Argentina. Long live Austria. These are the three countries with which I have been most connected and which I will not forget. I greet my wife, my family and my friends. I am ready. We'll meet again soon, as is the fate of all men. I die believing in God.
  • Well, the break-up of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, the whole problem faced by this was probably one of the causes which made me shift my interest from pure natural science to political problems. It meant observing the collapse of the society and more especially, the collapse of the intellectual society of Vienna. The Vienna was, as you said and remained for a number of decades one of the great intellectual centers of the world. Nothing could be more exciting than Vienna of the 1920s and early '30s.
  • Austria’s amnesia was even more striking. In the decades after World War II, it managed, very successfully, to portray itself as the first victim of Nazism. In a 1945 ceremony in Vienna for a memorial to fallen Soviet soldiers, Leopold Figl, who was shortly to become the country’s chancellor, mourned that “the people of Austria have spent seven years languishing under Hitler’s barbarity.” Austrians comforted themselves for the next decades with such assurances. They were a happy, gentle people who had never wanted to be joined with the likes of Nazi Germany; Hitler had forced the Anschluss on them. They had never wanted war and if their soldiers had fought, it was only to defend their homeland. And they had suffered hugely, it must be said, at the hands of the Allies. Who, after all, had destroyed the magnificent Opera House in Vienna? The fact that many of the most fervent Nazis, including Hitler himself, were Austrian; the wildly enthusiastic crowds who greeted his triumphal march to Vienna in 1938; and the willing collaboration of many Austrians in the persecution and destruction of the Jews—all that was simply brushed under the carpet. The few brave liberals who tried to celebrate both the small Austrian resistance to Nazism and memorialize the destruction of the Jews found themselves isolated and accused of being Communists. It was only in the 1960s, with new generations appearing on the scene and Germany’s own examination of its Nazi past, that questions about Austria’s role began to surface.
  • The decay of the Soviet experiment should come as no surprise to us. Wherever the comparisons have been made between free and closed societies -- West Germany and East Germany, Austria and Czechoslovakia, Malaysia and Vietnam -- it is the democratic countries what are prosperous and responsive to the needs of their people. And one of the simple but overwhelming facts of our time is this: Of all the millions of refugees we've seen in the modern world, their flight is always away from, not toward the Communist world. Today on the NATO line, our military forces face east to prevent a possible invasion. On the other side of the line, the Soviet forces also face east to prevent their people from leaving.
  • I have a message to the neo-Nazis, to the white nationalists, and to the neo-Confederates: Your heroes are losers. You are supporting a lost cause. And believe me, I knew the original Nazis, because you see, I was born in Austria in 1947, shortly after the Second World War. And growing up, I was surrounded by broken men, men who came home from a war filled with shrapnel and guilt, men who were misled into a losing ideology. And I can tell you: that these ghosts you idolize spent the rest of their lives living in shame and right now, they’re resting in hell.
  • I was born in Vienna, I grew up in Vienna, I went to school in Vienna, I graduated in Vienna, I studied in Vienna, I started my career in Vienna, I did theatre for the first time in Vienna, I did film for the first time in Vienna. There are also a few other Viennese details... But how much more Austrian can you get?

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