What should we think of Europe and others who consider that they can teach us everything about governance democracy then rush around the Middle East and try to impose it? They should, instead, read their history books. Not so long ago there was the Austrian-Hungarian empire. The 1914-1918 war tore it apart. The roads that took you from Vienna to Prague could no longer be taken like before as there were borders now and the same can be said for the Bratislava – Budapest connection. To make things worse, the Empire no longer had an army. The troops had come from different parts of the Empire but suddenly there was no unified army so the borders were ill-defined.
That was the past but for a while now, Austria is a good example of the effect of welcome structure for the vote against. In 1983, the government consisted of the Socialists and the small Liberal Party. In 1985, the presidential elections took place. The Catholic Party had chosen what appeared to be a very good candidate: Kurt Waldheim. He had been General Secretary of the United Nations. In the meantime, the American press accused Austria of giving secret information to the Soviet Union. The American Jewish Congress then accused Waldheim of having been a German officer during the war. Suddenly, antisemitism appeared in broad daylignt as nationalistic reflex.
Haider who was a member of the Liberal Party used this to change the party into a populist one. This boosted the Liberal Party which obtained, at first, 16% in the legislative elections.
A socialist government cannot form a coalition with a populistparty as a result of which new elections were organized in 1999. The results were:
Socialist Party: 33.2%
Catholic Party: 26.9%
Liberal Party: 26.9%
The Catholics and the Liberals formed a government. Some of the members of the European Union members refused to shake hands with the Austrian ambassador.
The government resigned in 2002. The vote for the liberals fell to only 10% because it was no longer the welcome structure for the vote against the government as it was in government.
Not only did WW I have a dramatic effect on Austria but so did WW II. Hitler wanted Austria. He had had Dolfuss, who was the prime minister, killed treachouresly in 1934. While Dolfuss lay agonizing the Nazis tried to force him to sign a decree that would not make Schusnig his succesor. Dolfuss refused and they let him bleed to death.
Before the war the Austrian Nazi party had obtained only 3% of the votes.
Schusnig went to see Hitler in 1938 but he was not received as a head of state having to wait in the lobby. Schusnig went back to Vienna and declared that a referendum would take place in order to have the Austrians decide whether or not to join Nazi Germany. Upon learning this, Hitler invaded Austria. All the pictures of Austrians hailing Hitler’s arrival in Vienna were all set up by Goebels.
To finish on a light note, Haider killed himself in a car accident. One of my students and myself could not agree on the make of his car.