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Austria was dominated by the House of Habsburg (Haus Österreich) from 1273 to 1806, when the Holy Roman Empire came to an end. Austria then became the Austrian Empire, a part of the German Confederation until the Austro-Prussian War of 1866, which Austria lost and was subsequently excluded from German affairs. In 1867 Austria formed with Hungary as a dual monarchy the Austro-Hungarian Empire (1867–1918). When this empire collapsed after the end of World War I in 1918, Austria was reduced to the main German speaking areas of the empire (its current frontiers), and adopted the name The Republic of German-Austria, with hope of joining the new German Weimar Republic. However the union and name were forbidden by the Allies at the Treaty of Versailles. This led to the creation of the First Austrian Republic (1918-1933).

Following the First Republic, Austrofascism tried to keep Austria independent from the German Reich. Engelbert Dollfuss accepted that Austrians were Germans but wanted Austria to remain independent from a largely Protestant Germany. In 1938 Austrian-born Adolf Hitler annexed Austria to the German Reich with the Anschluss, which was supported by a large majority of the Austrian people.[1][2] After the Second World War Austria again became an independent republic as the Second Republic in 1955 and joined the European Union in 1995.


  1. Austria: A Country Study. Select link on left for The Anschluss and World War II. Eric Solsten, ed. (Washington, D.C.: Federal Research Division of the Library of Congress, 1993).
  2. Emil Müller-Sturmheim