In May of 1934, Doffluss declared martial law to protect Austria from Hitler, so Hitler had Dollfuss assassinated in a Nazi coup attempt. His successor, Kurt Schuschnigg, struggled hard to keep Austria independent, but to no avail.On March 12, 1938, German troops marched into Austria. The country ceased to exist as an independent state as it was incorporated into Hitler's German Reich.
Jewish Austrians were the first target of the Nazi troops; their assets were stripped and nearly 65,000 became victims of the Holocaust. Fortunately about 150,000 Jews survived by fleeing the country.
On 15 May 1955, after years of tensions and independence talks which lasted for years, Austria regained its full independence by signing the Austrian State Treaty with the Four Occupying Powers.
On October 26, 1955, the Austrian Federal Assembly passed a constitutional article in which "Austria declares of her own free will her perpetual neutrality." It has slightly flexed on that assertion over the years, but still does not allow foreign military bases within its borders.
Because of its location near the "Iron Curtain", Austria soon developed into a nerve center between the West and the East. After the 1956 Hungarian Revolution and the 1968 Prague Spring Invasion, Austria grants asylum to the refugees of those conflicts.
Today, Austria is the host country of many international organizations (UNO, OPEC) as well as host of many important conference and summit meetings. After the 'Iron Curtain fell' in 1989/90, Austria became a member of the European Union in 1995.
Austria is today one of the continent's most influential countries in both economic and political issues, and over the last fifty years it has transformed itself into a major tourism destination.
And it is certainly safe to say that no one country can match the musical resume of Austria. It's the homeland of legendary composers like Brahms, Haydn, Mahler, Mozart, Schubert and the Strausses - both father and son. Also, German-born Ludwig van Beethoven lived in Vienna for most of his adult life.
The biography of Austria includes the Viennese Waltz, Vienna Boys Choir and dancing Lipizzaner horses, and when combined with an abundance of natural beauty, cosmopolitan and historic cities, the Danube River Valley, classical music festivals, and of course - world class Alpine skiing and resorts, Austria paints a very pleasant picture, indeed.
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