Austria profile - Timeline

  • Published

A chronology of key events:

1918 - End of the Hapsburg empire.

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

1934 - Government crushes Socialist uprising. All political parties abolished except the Fatherland Front.

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


1938 - The Anschluss (union): Austria incorporated into Germany by Hitler.

Image source, Getty Images
Image caption,
German troops cross into Austria in 1938

World War II - Austria's armed forces, under German control, fight 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.

1946-47 - Denazification laws passed. Reconstruction begins.


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.

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

Rise of the right

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

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 February/March - International outcry as People's Party head Wolfgang Schuessel forms coalition government with Freedom Party. EU imposes diplomatic sanctions.

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

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.

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

2002 November - Wolfgang Schuessel's People's Party makes sweeping gains in elections, largely at expense of 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.

2005 May - Parliament ratifies the EU constitution.

2006 October - Social Democrats narrowly defeat the ruling conservative People's Party in elections. After weeks of bargaining, the two parties agree on a coalition.

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 September - Social Democrats emerge as largest party in snap 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 of the Social Democrats and People's Party sworn in.

2011 July - Otto von Habsburg - the last crown prince of Austria - 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.

Migrant crisis

Image source, AFP
Image caption,
Tens of thousands of migrants crossed into Austria - mostly en route to Germany - in 2015

2015 October - Austria says it plans to erect barriers at a border crossing with Slovenia after tens of thousands of migrants are estimated to have entered the country - mainly en route for Germany.

2016 February - Austria imposes a cap on the number of migrants and refugees allowed to enter the country, after receiving 90,000 asylum applications in 2015.

2016 December - Liberal Alexander Van der Bellen defeats far-right Freedom Party candidate Norbert Hofer in the re-run of the presidential election.

2017 January - Ruling coalition agrees to ban Islamic full-face veils in courts, schools and other public spaces.

2017 October - Federal elections see a strong swing to the right. Conservative People's Party leader Sebastian Kurz becomes chancellor of coalition government with the far-right Freedom Party.

2019 May - Coalition collapses over Freedom Party scandal

2020 January - People's Party leader Sebastian Kurz forms a coalition government with the Green Party after elections in September.

2020 November - Jihadist gunmen kills four people in central Vienna.