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Global Austria

Günter Bischof
Fritz Plasser

II. The World and Austria

Austria and Central Europe

Emil Brix

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At least since the sixteenth century the position of Austria on the geopolitical map of Europe has always been a consequence of its position and self-definition as either a German or a Central European power. But until the rise of ethnic political legitimization in the nineteenth century, the Habsburg Empire with its growing territorial reach in eastern and southeastern Europe had little need to make decisions between a leading political role in the German-speaking area and its growing role as a multinational empire which comprised various language groups and peoples with different cultural and religious affiliations. In the second half of the nineteenth century, Austria became Central European not by conviction but by default. In times of growing ethnic-political demands, the multinational Habsburg Empire was either doomed or it would have had to clearly formulate a new integrating idea. The old dynastic principle did not suffice to keep a large Central European political entity wi...

© innsbruck university press, 2011

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