SOROKIN A.N. Austrian Neutrality of 1955: A Model for Germany or the Phenomenon of the Cold War?


Alexey N. Sorokin

Candidate of Sciences (History), Associate Professor,

Department of History and Theory of International Relations, Dostoevsky Omsk State University,

Prosp. Mira, 55A, 644077 Omsk, Russian Federation

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Abstract. Introduction. The article considers the problem of solving the Austrian issue by consolidating the country’s neutrality in 1955 in the context of a possible modeling of the situation on the German issue. The consolidation of a neutral non-aligned status with Austria was the result of a broad domestic and foreign policy compromise. At the same time, the main features of the Austrian path to the neutrality of 1945–1955 are highlighted, making this one of the most well-known compromise precedents of the Cold War possible.

Methods and materials. The research of the model character of the “Austrian solution” of 1955 is possible only with regard to the intertwining historical contexts in which the development of the German and Austrian issues took place from 1945 to 1949. The author uses the comparative historical method in the article while comparing historical features of the development of the German and Austrian issues between 1945 and 1955 and comparing different views and concepts of historians. The information base of the article consists of narrative and documentary sources, as well as a wide range of scientific research works of Austrian, German and Russian researchers.

Analysis. The main internal reasons for the successful resolution of the Austrian issue are the existence of the pro-Western government elected in 1945, the unity of the main political forces of Austria in the matter of restoring sovereignty, and the personal role of Chancellor Julius Raab. The main international reasons are the change in the course of the USSR within the framework of the peaceful coexistence policy, as well as the reciprocal cooperation policy of the Western Allies. The author considers the problem both in historical and in historiographical perspectives.

Results. The possibility of applying the “Austrian solution” to the situation with the divided Germany became the subject of a sharp historiographical dispute, which was called “Model Debate” in Austria. Two famous historians, Rolf Steininger and Michael Gehler, developed a concept confirming the model character of the Austrian solution to the situation with Germany. Most of Austrian historians tend to view the successful resolution of the Austrian issue as a single precedent, or phenomenon, of the Cold War. When comparing the situation with Germany and the attempts to model the Austrian version of it, they point to the different potential and significance of the countries for the Western Allies and the USSR, different goals of foreign policy of victorious powers in the German and Austrian issues.

Key words: Austrian history, Austrian historiography, Austrian issue, German issue, Cold War, detente.

Citation. Sorokin A.N. Austrian Neutrality of 1955: A Model for Germany or the Phenomenon of the Cold War? Vestnik Volgogradskogo gosudarstvennogo universiteta. Seriya 4. Istoriya. Regionovedenie. Mezhdunarodnye otnosheniya [Science Journal of Volgograd State University. History. Area Studies. International Relations], 2019, vol. 24, no. 5, pp. 222-235. (in Russian). DOI:

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Austrian Neutrality of 1955: A Model for Germany or the Phenomenon of the Cold War? by Sorokin A.N. is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

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