Austria 1955 - 2005
At the celebration of the 50th Anniversary of the signing of the Austrian State Treaty in the Belvedere Palace in Vienna on May 15, 2005, British Minister of State for Europe Douglas Alexander addressed the Austrians: "From the rubble of war, you built one of Europe's most prosperous and democratic countries." Without this treaty, Austria would look very differently today. With it, Austria became a so-called ‘miracle of the Cold War.’ What amounted to a miracle was the fact that a treaty was agreed to by all parties in the midst of steadily rising East-West tensions and the beginning nuclear arms race.
Search for Common Ground
There is nothing as old as human conflict. Throughout history, man has resorted to fear tactics, physical violence or armed warfare in an effort to resolve disputes. During the first part of the 20th century, with the world steeped in militarism surrounding the first and second world wars, "peace and conflict resolution" was considered subversive and unpatriotic. Nationalism reigned and victory in war was glorified. With the second half of the 20th century, this all changed. The world was under the threat of nuclear proliferation and destruction of the planet, and consequently, the study of peace became a part of the curriculum at most schools and universities.
Masters in Command
Born Peter Arany in Vienna in 1922, he fled Nazi-occupied Austria in 1938 for England. Like many other refugees, he was held briefly in a British internment camp as a "friendly enemy alien." At the age of 18, he volunteered for an elite Commando unit composed entirely of refugees from Nazi regimes in Austria, Hungary and Germany. All of them spoke fluent German. Most of them were Jewish and expertly trained in the tactics of the German Army. Assuming new Anglo identities with intricate cover stories to explain their heavily accented English, they were recruited for hazardous missions on the front lines. Peter Arany became Peter Masters.
Feather in the Cap or Thorn in the Flesh?
On December 10, 2004, the Austrian writer, Elfriede Jelinek, born in 1946, was awarded the 2004 Nobel Prize for Literature "for her musical flow of voices and counter-voices in novels and plays that with extraordinary linguistic zeal reveal the absurdity of society’s clichés and their subjugating power." The announcement came as a surprise, insofar as Jelinek’s name was not among those dropped in the speculative discussions preceding the Swedish Academy's decision.
Second Republic Silver Coin
The Federal President of Austria, Heinz Fischer, visited the Vienna Mint on April 26 to ceremonially strike the new silver coin designed for celebrating the 60th Anniversary of the establishment of the Second Republic. “This coin commemorates one of the most important events of Austrian history, and I am proud to have this chance to strike a couple of coins on behalf of the country,” Mr. Fischer said.