Salzburg under Siege: U.S. Occupation, 1945-1955

Salzburg under Siege: U.S. Occupation, 1945-1955

Salzburg under Siege: U.S. Occupation, 1945-1955

Salzburg under Siege: U.S. Occupation, 1945-1955

Synopsis

How did mostly unwanted American and military leaders help conquered people restore law and order, reopen schools, and provide food and housing for a nearly starved population swollen with refugees, war prisoners, and displaced persons in the aftermath of war? Two historians, participants in the U.S. occupation of the province of Salzburg, trace the ins and outs of a ten-year period, at the end of World War II, when Austria was in a precarious situation and when Americans were helping the young republic survive, reviving its economy, and preventing Nazis from returning to office.

Excerpt

Austrians faced a dual outlook as World War II ended in May 1945. On the brighter side, the dictatorship of Adolf Hitler was now over. Indeed, the Germans in no uncertain terms had occupied the former nation since March 1938. We might argue until Doomsday over just how many Austrians welcomed the German Anschluss, but more than eight years of dismal economic hardship and political-social harshness and even brutality toward dissenters convinced many of the pro-Germans of their mistake. Now Austria hoped for a chance to throw off the German stigma and prove its ability to sustain independence.

However, vexing issues confronted the nation and its provinces including Province (Land) Salzburg. One problem involved the very future of Austria as formulated by the allied leadership, argued by the media, and considered in world opinion. the breakup of the Austro-Hungarian Empire in 1918 left a weak Austria, which endured extreme impoverishment economically as well as political instability between the two world wars. Austria earned the "bad boy" image largely from its 1933-1938 severe treatment of the Socialist opposition during the Dollfuss- Schuschnigg years. Winston Churchill was but one of many politicians who gave Austria little chance of success after May 1945. Nevertheless, the U.S. military and civilian leaders assuming their varied tasks in occupying portions of Austria generally believed otherwise and enthusiastically assisted the local citizens in the rebuilding chores.

This book addresses the question of outlook and presents several questions at the conclusion of the initial chapter as a framework for later assessment of the ten-year occupation in Land Salzburg. Basically it stresses American actions, positive and negative; frictions and bureaucracy involving Austrians and Americans; assumption of leadership by the Austrians; and how the U.S. occupation in Land Salzburg . . .

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