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The Schüssel Era in Austria

 | 
Günter Bischof
, 
Fritz Plasser

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Disturbing Creativity: Phantom Pains, Arts, and Cultural Policies in Postwar Austria

Andreas Stadler

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Austria is known worldwide as a much sought after tourism destination, with its capitals of high culture, such as Vienna and Salzburg, as well as its alpine ski resorts. However, this positive and inviting image has been marred in recent years by crime scandals such as the Josef Fritzl (2008) and the Natascha Kampusch (2006) cases. More or less implicitly, these human tragedies were attributed to a specifically Austrian characteristic: the failure to come to terms with Autria’s Nazi past.1 Even if this oftentimes claimed connection is not empirically verifiable, the discourse shows that a diffuse, sometimes even manifest, suspicion does, in fact, exist.

This stereotype of an “unsettled past” began to emerge in the 1980s during the course of the Waldheim Affair, and resurfaced in the year 2000 when the Wolfgang Schüssel (ÖVP) and Jörg Haider (FPÖ) government made international headlines and triggered political sanctions by fourteen member states of the European Union. The most recent ...

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