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Austria's International Position after the End of the Cold War

Günter Bischof
Ferdinand Karlhofer

Austrian foreign and security policy

Austrian Security Policy after the End of the Cold War

Erwin A. Schmidl

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Austrian security policy evolved gradually and in several phases after the Second World War.1 For a long time it was shaped by Austria’s specific geographical position during the Cold War, directly on the “front line” between the two blocs, and by the neutrality policy adopted in 1955.2

Whereas the military always saw its main task (as formulated in the Constitution and the Army Law3) in preparing for military defense in the case of war in Europe, the political leadership never truly expected the Austrian Armed Forces to fight. Under the impression of barely having survived two major defeats, in 1918 and 1945, the political leadership by and large always hoped to stay clear of future wars. This becomes evident from a discussion held in the Parliamentary Defense Committee in February 1958: Chancellor Julius Raab described the military’s main assignment as serving as “an educational tool for youth” (Austria had re-instituted obligatory national service in 19554). In the eve...

© innsbruck university press, 2013

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