Austria profile

A chronology of key events:

1918 - End of the Hapsburg empire.

Capital: Vienna

Vienna street scene

Vienna bears many traces of its imperial past

  • 1st century BC: Romans take over celtic settlement
  • 1276: Start of Hapsburg rule
  • Capital of Austro-Hungarian Empire until 1918

1919 - Treaty of St Germain defines Austria's boundaries.

1920 - New constitution creates Republic of Austria.

1932 - Engelbert Dollfuss, a Christian Socialist, becomes chancellor.

1934 - Government crushes Socialist uprising, backed by the army and the Heimwehr (Home Defence Force). All political parties abolished except the Fatherland Front.

1934 April - Chancellor Dollfuss dismisses parliament.

1934 July - Imprisonment of Nazi conspirators leads to attempted Nazi coup. Dollfuss assassinated, succeeded by Kurt von Schuschnigg.

Anschluss

1936 - Austria acknowledges itself "a German state".

German troops enter Austria German troops cross into Austria in 1938

1938 - The Anschluss (union): Austria incorporated into Germany by Hitler. Schuschnigg imprisoned. Austria now called the Ostmark (Eastern March).

World War II - Austria's armed forces, under German control, used on Eastern Front.

1945 - Soviet troops liberate Vienna. Austria occupied by Soviet, British, US and French forces.

Elections result in People's Party and Socialist Party coalition; Karl Renner elected president, Leopold Figl becomes chancellor.

1946-47 - Denazification laws passed. Reconstruction begins.

Neutrality

1949 - Former Nazis allowed to participate in general election.

1955 - Treaty signed by UK, France, US and USSR establishes an independent but neutral Austria - a convenient buffer between the West and the Soviet bloc. Austria joins the United Nations.

1970 - Government formed under Chancellor Bruno Kreisky who dominates political scene for more than a decade.

1983 - Socialists and the Freedom Party form a coalition government under Fred Sinowatz.

1986 - Ex-UN Secretary-General Kurt Waldheim elected president, despite controversy over role in German army in World War II.

Franz Vranitzky replaces Sinowatz as federal chancellor.

Rise of the right

1992 - Thomas Klestil, former ambassador to the US, replaces Waldheim as president.

Controversial leader

Kurt Waldheim

Kurt Waldheim was at the centre of a storm over his wartime record in a Nazi militia

  • Born - 1918
  • UN Secretary-General - 1972-1982
  • Austrian president - 1986-1992
  • Died - June 2007

1995 - Austria joins EU. Coalition collapses over budget disagreements and strict convergence criteria for European monetary union.

1996 - Social Democrats form new coalition with People's Party.

1997 - Vranitzky resigns as chancellor and leader of Social Democrats. Finance Minister Viktor Klima takes over both positions.

1998 - Klestil re-elected president.

1999 October - Far-right Freedom Party led by Joerg Haider wins 27% of vote in national elections, equal second with centre right People's Party. Social Democrats remain largest party.

2000 January - Coalition talks between Social Democrats and People's Party break down. People's Party opens talks with Freedom Party.

Sanctions

2000 February/March - International outcry as Freedom Party enters government for first time following protracted coalition talks between main parties.

People's Party head Wolfgang Schuessel becomes chancellor with Susanne Riess-Passer of the Freedom Party as his deputy. EU imposes diplomatic sanctions.

Haider hands over as Freedom Party leader to Riess-Passer, seen as less extreme.

2000 August - State-owned companies agree to pay $65m into compensation fund for survivors of Holocaust.

2000 September - EU ends seven months of diplomatic isolation after report concludes that it is counterproductive.

2000 October - Austrian environmentalists blockade border with Czech Republic in protest against the launch of a new Czech nuclear power station at Temelin.

Compensation

2001 January - Deal signed on compensating Jews whose assets were seized by Nazis. Government and companies to pay $360m into settlement fund.

2001 November - Chancellor Schuessel and Czech government move to settle dispute over Temelin nuclear power plant by agreeing tough measures to improve safety and monitor impact on environment.

Joerg Haider

Right-wing party leader Joerg Haider

Right-wing party leader won notoriety for comments on Nazi past

2002 August - Devastating floods as Danube bursts banks following torrential rain.

2002 - September - Coalition collapses. Vice Chancellor and Freedom Party leader Riess-Passer and two Freedom Party ministers resign in row with Joerg Haider, widely seen as part of power struggle within party.

2002 November - Schuessel's People's Party makes sweeping gains in general election, largely at expense of far-right Freedom Party. Coalition talks start.

2003 February - Coalition talks with Social Democrats and Greens fail; People's Party again agrees to form government with Freedom Party.

2003 May - Pension reform plans spark first nationwide strike action in several decades.

2003 October - Package of asylum laws introduced, widely seen as among the most restrictive in Europe.

2004 April - Heinz Fischer elected president.

2005 April - Freedom Party splits as Joerg Haider announces he is leaving to set up Alliance for the Future of Austria.

2005 May - Parliament ratifies the EU constitution.

2005 August - Floods cause devastation as the Danube river bursts its banks.

2006 February - A Vienna court finds British historian David Irving guilty of Holocaust denial and sentences him to three years in prison. He is released in December 2006. The case sparks a national debate about the denial legislation.

2006 April - Rising water levels in the Danube again cause severe flooding.

2006 October - The Social Democrats led by Alfred Gusenbauer narrowly defeat the ruling conservative People's Party in elections. After weeks of bargaining, the two parties agree on a coalition. The government is inaugurated in January 2007.

Jews remembered

Vienna memorial to Jews killed in the Holocaust

Memorial commemorates Austrian Jews killed in Holocaust

2007 September - Pope Benedict XVI makes 'pilgrimage' to Austria where he had spent time in his youth.

National soul-searching

2008 April - National outrage and soul-searching at case of Josef Fritzl, who imprisoned his daughter in a cellar for 24 years and fathered children with her. Tougher law on sexual abuse planned.

2008 July - The centre-right People's Party withdraws from grand coalition with Chancellor Alfred Gusenbauer's Social Democrats, forcing a snap general election.

2008 September - The Social Democrats again emerge as largest party in the general election, but both it and the People's Party suffer heavy losses while resurgent far-right parties take 29%.

2008 October - The leader of the far-right Alliance for the Future of Austria, Joerg Haider, is killed in a car crash.

2008 December - New coalition government made up of the centre-left Social Democrats (SPO) and the conservative People's Party is sworn in, two months after snap elections. SPO leader Werner Faymann becomes chancellor.

2010 April - President Fischer is re-elected.

2010 October - Far-right Freedom Party wins 26% of vote in municipal elections in Vienna, putting it in second place to Social Democrats.

2011 July - Otto von Habsburg - eldest son of the last Austrian emperor - is buried in the Imperial Crypt in Vienna amid much of the pomp associated with the days of the empire.

2013 January - Referendum. Austrians vote to keep compulsory military service.

2013 June - Austria withdraws troops from the Golan Heights after nearly 40 years of monitoring a UN buffer zone between Israel and Syria, as violence from Syria's civil war spreads.

2013 September - Parliamentary elections. The governing coalition parties win enough votes to form a new government.

2014 June - A deal is signed to complete the Austrian section of the South Stream gas pipeline for transporting Russian gas to Europe, despite calls by the EU for its member states to unite against the project.

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