Britain and the Occupation of Austria, 1943–45 by Alice Hills (auth.)

By Alice Hills (auth.)

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Sample text

There was a failure to form any effective organisation until the last months of war, and such movements as existed in Austria at the end of the war were submerged by the rapid normalisation process. It was partly this situation that allowed opportunism to flourish immediately after the war, when many so-called resistance groups emerged to claim a reward for having made an important contribution towards the overthrow of the Nazis. Although in some cases these organisations had provided valuable services to the Allied cause, it was clear that many employed the resistance label as a means of political bargaining.

Despite their insistence, Vyshinsky refused to give way, and eventually it was the other two who changed their position. ’ The phrase had a ring of truth about it. Austria did take part in the war on the side of the Nazis; it was only her ability to have done otherwise that was in question. But, the sentence bedevilled later negotiations concerning Austria, especially at the Potsdam conference of 1945. The text of the declaration was soon agreed and printed in the communiqué issued after the conference.

None of the proposals was new. Austria could theoretically be reunited with Germany, since this was considered (by the PWE) to have been only partially discredited by the Anschluss. It would, however, go against the official belief that Austria had been annexed against her will, and the conviction of most policy-makers of the vital necessity of separating the two countries. Austria could have a lone existence, but the paper considered this possibility to have been too severely discredited by the events of 1919 to 1938 to be worthy of attention.

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