Austrian State Treaty

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The Austrian State Treaty ( long title: State Treaty on the Restoration of an Independent and Democratic Austria, given in Vienna on May 15, 1955 ; legally short: State Treaty of Vienna) was signed on May 15, 1955 in Vienna in the Belvedere Palace by representatives of the allied occupying powers USA , The Soviet Union , France and Great Britain, as well as the Austrian Federal Government , officially entered into force on July 27, 1955.

The subject of the contract is the restoration of the sovereign and democratic Republic of Austria after the National Socialist rule in Austria (1938–1945), the end of the Second World War ( VE Day ) and the subsequent occupation (1945–1955), in which Austria was formal restored, but not yet an independent state. The State Treaty is also considered to be an essential key indicator for the development of an independent awareness of Austria .

General and structure

Federal Law Gazette No. 152 of July 30, 1955: State Treaty, regarding the restoration of an independent and democratic Austria.

The State Treaty consists of a preamble and nine parts:

  1. Political and territorial provisions
  2. Military and Aviation Regulations
  3. Reparations
  4. Withdrawal of the Allied Powers
  5. Ownership, Rights, and Interests
  6. Economic relations
  7. Regulation in the event of disputes
  8. Economic regulations
  9. Final provisions

Essential points of the contract

Austria undertook in the treaty

  • no political or economic association of any kind with Germany (Art. 4, ban on affiliation ). The Soviet Union used this obligation for decades to challenge Austria's accession to the EEC ;
  • to guarantee the minority rights of the Slovenes and Croats (Art. 7 Para. 2 and 3). The so-called local board dispute achieved media coverage - other points relating to minority rights, as laid down in the State Treaty, have not yet been met;
  • to maintain a democratic government based on secret elections (Art. 8). This had long been the case at the time the contract was signed;
  • to dissolve all National Socialist organizations and not to allow any re-activation of National Socialist and Fascist organizations (Art. 9 and 10, see Prohibition Act 1947 , which still applies);
  • to maintain the Habsburg law (Art. 10), which is still the case today;
  • Persons who were active in the German Wehrmacht with the rank of colonel or higher or who were not exonerated by Austria as former National Socialists are not to be accepted into the armed forces (Art. 12; 2008 determined by the National Council as no longer valid ), and
  • not to participate in the rearmament of Germany (Art. 15 Z. 2; 2008 determined by the National Council as no longer valid ).

Insofar as they still apply, these provisions have constitutional status on the basis of a federal constitutional law passed on March 4, 1964.

Austria also undertook to relieve the Soviet Union of the German property it had managed until then , but not to return it to the previous German owners. Within six years the USSR had to pay around $ 150 million. The Allies undertook to withdraw their troops from Austrian territory within 90 days of the entry into force of the treaty.

The perpetual neutrality constitutionally adopted by the National Council on October 26, 1955, is often wrongly viewed as part of the State Treaty, but has no legal connection with it. However, there was a (no longer relevant today) political connection, which is described in more detail under the Moscow Memorandum .

Obsolete provisions

In view of the changed world situation, the Austrian Federal Government declared the military and aviation provisions (Articles 12–16) to be obsolete in a declaration dated November 20, 1990 to the four other signatory states of the State Treaty. Articles 12 and 15 line 2 were also found to be no longer valid in 2008 .

Right to legal succession

A signatory state to the State Treaty, the Soviet Union , and Yugoslavia , which has acceded to the treaty, no longer exist. In 1992, Federal President Klestil emphasized that there was no automatic legal succession for states that had collapsed. In 1993, the Russian Federation and Austria stipulated in an exchange of notes adopted by the National Council as an interstate treaty in 1994 (the third to last paragraph was downgraded to simple legal rank by Section 7, line 78 of the 1st BVRBG 2008) on how to deal with the agreements dating from the Soviet Union be. The state treaty, about which there were no more open questions with Russia at the time, was not mentioned in this exchange of notes, which named treaties from 1927 to 1990.

The legal succession to Yugoslavia, which Slovenia made political use of in relation to Article 7 of the State Treaty, but has not yet been formally notified, was contested by Austria in 2009 and 2010. After the solution to the Carinthian place-name sign question in 2011, Prime Minister Borut Pahor did not currently consider the notification necessary .


Moscow Declaration

As a result of the Moscow Conference from October 19 to November 1, 1943, the Moscow Declaration was adopted on November 1 by the Foreign Ministers of the Soviet Union, Great Britain and the USA . It explained on the one hand, "that Austria, the first free country to the typical aggressive policy of Hitler to fall a victim to be freed from German domination" and "the occupation of Austria by Germany on March 15, 1938 as null and void" is considered , on the other hand, also stated: "Austria is also reminded that it bears a responsibility for participating in the war on the side of Hitler-Germany , which it cannot escape".


The first freely elected post-war government of Austria under the supervision of the Allied Commission for Austria had already tried in January 1947 in London to negotiate a peace treaty with the Allies. From March 1947 the further negotiations were moved to Moscow . The negotiators from the ranks of the ÖVP, led by Leopold Figl and Julius Raab , largely agreed to the Soviet demands, while the SPÖ negotiators, also in order to maintain the distance between Social Democrats and Communists, refused to give in to the Soviet demands unreservedly. Only Bruno Kreisky , then State Secretary in the Foreign Ministry, was finally able to convince his party colleagues as a social democratic delegate that their anti-Soviet stance was hindering the negotiations.

Yugoslav territorial claims to parts of southern Carinthia and southern Styria initially turned out to be problematic for the negotiations on the State Treaty . Due to the conflict between the Soviet head of state Josef Stalin and the Prime Minister of the People's Republic of Yugoslavia Josip Broz Tito in 1949 this aspect lost its importance for the Soviet Union and the existing borders were retained.

A more serious problem was the question of “German property” in Austria. This included all property that had belonged to German citizens before the “ Anschluss ” of Austria to the German Reich in March 1938, as well as anyone after the “Anschluss” of Germans Property brought to Austria as well as industrial plants built in Austria with German capital and also all property that was acquired by Germans in Austria between 1938 and 1945 (except for forced purchases and expropriations). In the Soviet occupation zone, the entire oil industry, the Danube Steamship Company and a number of industrial companies (around 300 in total) were confiscated as German property and were administered by the USIA (Управление советским имущетским имуществом в в Австритром в Австристр Austria").

On the political level, the linking of negotiations with Austria with a peace treaty between the Allies and Germany , which was particularly demanded by the Soviet Union, was an obstacle on the way to a swift agreement. With the intensification of the Cold War , an early state treaty with Austria also became increasingly unlikely.

On the initiative of Brazil , the UN General Assembly passed a resolution on December 20, 1952 with the serious request to the governments of the signatory states of the Moscow Declaration of 1943, under the aspects of the early termination of the occupation of the country and the full exercise of sovereignty by Austria and again to make urgent efforts to reach an agreement on the terms of a treaty with Austria.

It was only when Dwight D. Eisenhower replaced Harry S. Truman as President of the USA and Josef Stalin died in 1953 that the negotiating climate improved noticeably. After Julius Raab became the new Austrian Chancellor in the same year, the negotiating style on the Austrian side also changed.

Representatives of Austria also took part in the Berlin Foreign Ministers' Conference from January 25 to February 28, 1954. The Soviets only wanted to agree to a treaty with Austria that would allow Soviet troops to remain stationed in the country until a peace treaty with Germany was concluded. The Western powers did not agree to this and Austria was also against it. As a further condition, the Soviet Foreign Minister Vyacheslav Molotov stated that Austria must be a neutral state, which led the Western Allies to fear that their troops in Italy could be cut off from the main contingent of their armed forces in Europe by neutral Switzerland and a neutral Austria. A neutrality based on the Swiss model had already been proposed by Karl Renner (SPÖ), who was the first Federal President of the Republic from 1945 to 1950 after the Second World War, and was also supported by his party.

Moscow Memorandum

While the Federal Republic of Germany joined NATO in 1954 , negotiations on the full sovereignty of Austria continued in Moscow. In April 1955, at the invitation of the Soviet government under Georgi Malenkov, an Austrian delegation arrived in Moscow. Participants were Vice Chancellor Adolf Schärf (SPÖ), Foreign Minister Leopold Figl (ÖVP) and State Secretary Bruno Kreisky (SPÖ), while Chancellor Julius Raab (ÖVP) was the chief negotiator .

The talks from April 12th to 15th led to a breakthrough and are also considered to be the birth of Austrian neutrality . The Soviets wanted neutrality to be anchored directly in the treaty. They viewed permanent neutrality as a prerequisite for regaining Austria's sovereignty, while the negotiators from Austria tried to convince them that only a sovereign state can adopt its legally binding neutrality.

Finally, the talks led to the result that the neutrality law should be passed by the free and sovereign state of Austria. In the final document, the Moscow Memorandum , it was stated that Austria would be a neutral state and that the four victorious allied powers of the Second World War would guarantee the integrity and inviolability of the national territory. When the negotiators returned at Bad Vöslau airfield on April 15, Raab was able to announce: “Austria will be free”.

Contract signing

The contract for the exhibition at the Schallaburg , Lower Austria 2005

On the day before the State Treaty was signed, Foreign Minister Figl succeeded in the final negotiations in Vienna in removing Austria's complicity in the Second World War from the preamble to the treaty, although the Soviet side had to be convinced of this first and foremost. On May 15, 1955, the State Treaty on the restoration of an independent and democratic Austria was finally signed in the marble hall of the Belvedere Palace in Vienna.

The State Treaty bears the signatures of the following nine people:

  1. Vyacheslav Mikhailovich Molotov (Foreign Minister of the Soviet Union)
  2. Iwan Iwanowitsch Iljitschow (High Commissioner and Envoy of the Soviet Union)
  3. Harold Macmillan (Foreign Secretary of Great Britain)
  4. Geoffrey Arnold Wallinger (High Commissioner and Ambassador of Great Britain)
  5. John Foster Dulles (US Secretary of State)
  6. Llewellyn E. Thompson Jr. (High Commissioner and US Ambassador)
  7. Antoine Pinay (Foreign Minister of France)
  8. Roger Lalouette (Deputy High Commissioner and Envoy of France)
  9. Leopold Figl (Foreign Minister of Austria)

The treaty was ratified on June 7th by the Austrian National Council . After ratification by all signatory states or after receipt of the declaration of consent last signed by France in Moscow, the original repository of the Austrian State Treaty, it finally came into force on July 27, 1955. For the withdrawal of the occupation soldiers and their now numerous resident members of the occupying powers, a period of no more than 90 days after entry into force was agreed in the contract, i.e. until October 25, 1955. On October 26, one day after the deadline, the National Council decided to follow suit According to the Swiss model and the Moscow Memorandum, perpetual neutrality and incorporated the declaration of neutrality in the form of a federal constitutional law, the Neutrality Act , into the constitution . With this, Austria declared that it would not join any military alliances, would not allow any foreign military bases on its territory and would defend its independence with all necessary means. Only since 1965 has October 26th been celebrated as an Austrian national holiday (previously: Flag Day ) to commemorate it; this day has been day off since 1967. The often-used story that the last Soviet soldier left Austria on October 25, 1955 is erroneous: this already happened on September 19 at 8 p.m. On October 29, 1955, at least 20 British soldiers with their commanding officer, Colonel ET Roberts, are said to have still been in the Klagenfurt- Lendorf barracks .

On December 14, 1955, Austria became a member of the United Nations .

With the State Treaty, Austria was the only European state that was peacefully freed from all occupying powers from 1945 until the Velvet Revolution in 1989. During the Cold War era , the ban on affiliation and permanent neutrality were interpreted to mean that Austria was not allowed to join the EEC . Austria joined the European Free Trade Association  (EFTA) in 1959 with effect from January 1, 1960 , to which Norway, Sweden, Denmark, Great Britain, Portugal and Switzerland also belonged at that time. It only became a member of the European Union in 1995 .

Mythicization of the State Treaty

Memorial plaque in the floor of the marble hall in the Upper Belvedere, Vienna

Desire for freedom

The state treaty continues to have a high emotional value in the consciousness of the population. The signing of the contract is considered a milestone in the Second Republic . In political rhetoric, the almost ten-year demand for the signing of the treaty was always closely linked to a demand for freedom and sovereignty for Austria, and the term freedom functioned as a prominent key word at that time.

Positive value neutrality

With the achievement of this goal, the central motive associated with the State Treaty changed suddenly. From now on, the written treaty stood as a guarantee for the permanent neutrality of the country, which was propagated as a highly positive value in political persuasion and was a fixed part of Austrian political consciousness for decades until Austria joined the EU. Contrary to popular belief, neutrality itself is not part of the treaty, but was a political precondition for the Soviet Union (see section on the Moscow Memorandum).


Among the testimonies of special status value of the treaty is not only the fact that Chancellor Julius Raab attribute treaty Chancellor received; This includes popular stories in connection with the signing of the treaty, which testify to a political myth of the document.

Foreign Minister Figl, who was also popular with political opponents, was attributed by the people to a certain drinkability. That is why the legend had been spread for a long time that Raab and Figl could have convinced the Soviet Foreign Minister Molotov in a wine tavern mood to delete the reference to Austria's National Socialist past from the preamble. In a caricature by Hanns Erich Köhler for the Munich magazine Simplicissimus entitled Wiener Charme in Moscow , Raab playing the zither was depicted, to which Figl, while the Soviet interlocutors were already crying, whispered in his ear: And now, Raab - now d 'Phylloxera, then no awake! ( The phylloxera was a popular wine tavern song; sans waach = are they soft = are they mildly in tune and ready to give in.) This Raab zither and the notes, on which there are also notes from the Soviet participants, reappeared in 2011 and is published in the Julius Hall of the Hypo Noe Group exhibited in St. Pölten.

In fact, it was a moral argument that the so-called responsibility clause was a blame for the young state, which as a mortgage was not conducive to the development of the young state.

The relevant passages of the Moscow Declaration concerning the restoration of Austria as an independent state and the cancellation of the debt clause from the preamble of the treaty were considered for decades as a main arguments for maintaining the so-called victim theory , which is often referred to as "life-lie of the Second Republic".

Brazil's initiatives 1952–1954

In 2011, the Tyrolean historian Norbert Hölzl linked the first Emperor's wife of Brazil, Dona Leopoldina from the House of Habsburg, with the Brazilian initiatives for the rapid conclusion of the State Treaty, which were supposedly surprising for Austria. The Brazilian President Getúlio Dornelles Vargas had unexpectedly invited Foreign Minister Karl Gruber to Rio de Janeiro in 1952 and informed him that Brazil, as one of the victorious powers of World War II, felt “morally obliged” to do something for Austria.

Brazil then reached a resolution at the UN with the movement of the non-aligned states , which called on the Allies to seriously pursue the state treaty negotiations (see above). The representatives of the Eastern Bloc countries left the room during the vote in December 1952, in which no dissenting votes were cast. In 1953 and 1954 , according to the Austrian Consul General in São Paulo, Otto Heller , President Vargas urged the country's most prominent foreign politicians to warn the Western powers about the outstanding treaty. The federal government in Vienna thanked for diplomatic support in 1954 with a large Brazil exhibition in the Natural History Museum Vienna .

"Austria is free!"

100 Schilling silver coin for the 20th anniversary in 1975
2 euro coin for the 50th anniversary in 2005

When the contract was signed in the Belvedere Palace , the final sentence of Figl's acceptance speech also included his famous words Austria is free! - one of the most famous political quotes in the recent history of Austria. The sentence was spoken in the marble hall and not, as is often assumed, on the balcony when the contract was presented. This misunderstanding, which has remained entrenched to this day, has its origins in media reporting, because in a documentation by the Austria Wochenschau the pictures that Figl show on the balcony during the presentation of the contract are underlaid with the same words of his speech. According to reports from eyewitnesses, this public presentation on the balcony should not have been provided for in the minutes of the signing ceremony, but rather was initiated spontaneously by Figl. On the occasion of the 50th anniversary of the State Treaty, the quote was awarded as saying of the year 2005 by the Research Center for Austrian German . He symbolizes u. a. "50 years of independence from foreign powers", he recalled that freedom was not always as natural as it is today and that the saying "new relevance within the framework of EU membership" has gained.

Original of the contract

For a long time it was hardly known to the general public that the original of the State Treaty is in the State Archives of the Foreign Ministry in Moscow and not in Austria. There is only one copy in the Austrian State Archives . This fact became clear in the so-called anniversary year 2005, when the contract document was brought from Moscow to Austria and was shown to the public for the first time in exhibitions at the Schallaburg in Lower Austria and in the Belvedere in Vienna. The only existing full facsimile of the Austrian State Treaty has been on display in the House of History in the Museum Niederösterreich since September 9, 2019. It is on loan from the Lower Austrian State Collections. The Russian Federation donated this copy to the state of Lower Austria in May 2017. You can also see the fountain pen by Leopold Figl and the painting by Sergius Pauser.


  • Ewald Ehtreiber: Keyword “State Treaty”. In: Oswald Panagl / Peter Gerlich (ed.): Dictionary of Political Language in Austria , öbv, Vienna 2007, ISBN 978-3-209-05952-9 .
  • Felix Ermacora : Austria's State Treaty and Neutrality. Collection of the most important legal acts and political notes relating to the legal status of the Republic of Austria and its development with introductions and explanations. Frankfurt am Main 1957 [without ISBN].
  • Michael Gehler : Model case for Germany? The Austria solution from 1955. Innsbruck, Vienna, Bozen 2007, ISBN 3-7065-4062-2 .
  • Stefan Karner / Gottfried Stangler (eds.): “Austria is free!” The Austrian State Treaty 1955. Horn-Vienna 2005, ISBN 3-85460-224-3 .
  • Stefan Karner / Barbara Stelzl-Marx (ed.): The Red Army in Austria. Soviet occupation 1945–1955. Articles, Graz-Vienna-Munich 2005, ISBN 3-901661-16-6 .
  • Manfried Rauchsteiner , Robert Kriechbaumer (Ed.): The favor of the moment. Recent research on treaty and neutrality (= series of publications of the Research Institute for Political-Historical Studies of the Dr.-Wilfried-Haslauer-Bibliothek, Salzburg. Vol. 24). Böhlau, Vienna a. a. 2005, ISBN 3-205-77323-3 .
  • Manfred Rotter: The State Treaty. in: Reinhold Sieder u. a. (Ed.): Austria 1945–1995. Society, politics, culture, Vienna 1995, ISBN 3-85115-215-8 .
  • Ernst Trost : Austria is free - Leopold Figl and the road to the State Treaty. Vienna 2005, ISBN 3-85002-332-X .
  • Arnold Suppan , Gerald Stourzh , Wolfgang Müller (eds.): The Austrian State Treaty: International Strategy, Legal Relevance, National Identity. (= Archive for Austrian History 140), Vienna 2005, ISBN 3-7001-3537-8 .
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  • Gerald Stourzh: About unity and freedom. State treaty, neutrality and the end of the East-West occupation of Austria 1945–1955. Vienna [u. a.] 2005, ISBN 3-205-77333-0 .

Web links

Wikisource: Austrian State Treaty  - Sources and full texts

Individual evidence

  1. Federal Law Gazette No. 152/1955 (= p. 725)
  2. ^ Foundation House of the History of the Federal Republic of Germany (ed.): Verfreundete Nachbarn. Germany - Austria, Kerber Verlag 2005, p. 85 ff.
  3. a b Federal Law Gazette I No. 2/2008 : § 3 line 1 of the 1st Federal Constitutional Law Consolidation Act 2008
  4. Federal Law Gazette No. 59/1964 (= p. 623), Art. II, point 3.
  5. ^ Ludwig Adamovich , Bernd-Christian Funk, Gerhart Holzinger: Österreichisches Staatsrecht . tape 1 : Basics . Springer, 1887, ISBN 978-3-211-82977-6 , pp. 96 f . ( limited preview in Google Book search).
  6. I owe no thanks to any party . In: Der Spiegel . No. 23 , 1992 ( online interview with Thomas Klestil).
  7. Federal Law Gazette I No. 2/2008 : 1st Federal Constitutional Law Consolidation Act 2008
  8. Exchange of notes on contractual relations between Austria and the Russian Federation, Federal Law Gazette No. 257/1994 in the version of Federal Law Gazette I No. 2/2008
  9. ↑ Local sign dispute. Slovenia insists on legal succession. In: Die Presse daily newspaper , Vienna, 10 September 2009
  10. Walter Hämmerle: Between “Magna Charta” and “Ancient History”. 55 Years of the State Treaty , in: Wiener Zeitung , Vienna, May 15, 2010 (accessed on November 7, 2013)
  11. ↑ Place-name signs: Conflict averted over State Treaty , report from July 27, 2011 on the ORF website.
  12. ^ Page no longer available , search in web archives: UN General Assembly, VII. Session, 409th plenary session, Resolution No. 613@1@ 2Template: Toter Link /
  13. a b These signatures can also be found on the 2 euro commemorative coin for the 50th anniversary of the Austrian State Treaty, issue date May 11, 2005, see issue of coins 2005 ( Memento of March 17, 2012 in the Internet Archive ), OENB.
  14. Illustration in: Franz Endler : Austria between the lines. The transformation of land and people since 1848 in the mirror of the press , Fritz Molden Verlag, Vienna 1973, ISBN 3-217-00467-1 , p. 298.
  15. Electronic illustration in the picture archive of the Austrian National Library
  16. "phylloxera" -Zither Raab saved in the NÖN of 20 February 2012 accessed on 21 February 2012 found.
  17. Norbert Hölzl: World politics of an Austrian woman - From the independence of Brazil to the withdrawal of the Soviets from Vienna. Edition Tirol, Tyrolia-Verlag Innsbruck 2011, ISBN 978-3-85361-155-5 .
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