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Istituto per i Beni Culturali Emilia-Romagna

Memoria e Ricerca

The Austrian Nation: a XXth century’s construction

di Giovanni Schininà
in Memoria e Ricerca n.s. 38 (2011), p. 159

The construction of the Austrian Nation has been a troubled process, which was only able to begin after 1945 and finally strengthened starting from the 1960s. The author firstly identifies the factors, which inhibit a specific Nation Building during the Habsburg Monarchy. Afterwards he analyses how in the First Republic, characterized by a weak political and economic legitimation and heavy external influences, the first theories and interpretations of an Austrian nation historically and culturally separated from that of Germany arose. Only the tragic experience of Anschluss and the end of II World War permitted in the course of the Second Republic the construction of a collective national identity, supported by economic success, pragmatism of the political élite and an inedited international role. The affirmation of a national identity intertwined with “Opfer-Mythos” and to the theme of co-responsibility regarding Nazism, is finally subjected to reworkings following the entry of Austria into The European Union. Key words: Austria, Nation, II World War, Identity, Nation-building, Opfer-Mythos