Institutional Change in Austrian Foreign Policy and Security Structures in the 20th Century

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1 Institutional Change in Austrian Foreign Policy and Security Structures in the 20th Century Siegfried Beer Andreas Gémes Wolfgang Göderle Mario Muigg University of Graz Abstract Today s Austria, both as a territory and as a people, has undergone several dramatic systemic changes since 1900, in political as well as socio-economic terms. As the administrative centre of the Cisleithanian part of the Dual Monarchy, it was particularly affected by the fall of the Habsburg dynasty. The Republic of Austria, created in as a parliamentary democracy under the watchful eye of the peacemakers in Paris, lasted only until 1933/34, when an authoritarian regime took over. This dictatorship, which ruled under a corporate constitution, survived until March 1938, when Austria was incorporated into the Third Reich. Liberation and restitution as a democratic republic followed Allied victory in May 1945, along with a long decade of quadripartite occupation. In May 1955 Austria regained its full sovereignty and continued its impressive consolidation as a successful small, neutral state. Joining the European Union in 1995 marked the latest major institutional transition. These multiple breaks and changes are examined here in terms of their impact on the organisational development of three important ministries Foreign Affairs, Defence, and Interior whose organization and membership reflected the foreign and security policies of the various political stages under study. This analysis reveals the existence of a far greater degree of continuity than discontinuity. Changes in administrative structure and in elite personnel proved on the whole to be less radical than might have been expected and, when implemented, as in 1938 and 1945, their effects were only short-lived. Die Bewohner Österreichs in den nach dem ersten Weltkrieg etablierten Grenzen haben im Laufe des 20. Jahrhunderts vergleichsweise viele systemische, vorwiegend politische und so-

2 178 Siegfried Beer, Andreas Gémes, Wolfgang Göderle, Mario Muigg zio-ökonomische Umbrüche erlebt. Zu Anfang des Jahrhunderts im Zentrum der cisleithanischen Hälfte der österreichisch-ungarischen Doppelmonarchie gelegen, war es von militärischer Niederlage und darauffolgender Auflösung des Habsburgerreiches im Jahre 1918 in besonderer Weise betroffen. Der Phase der Begründung der kleinstaatlichen Republik folgte schon 1933 der Zusammenbruch der parlamentarischen Demokratie, die 1934 von einem ständestaatlichen Regime abgelöst wurde, das wiederum im März 1938 der militärisch durchgesetzten Eingliederung Österreichs in das Dritte Reich weichen musste. Mit dem alliierten Sieg über Hitlerdeutschland im Mai 1945 wurde die Wiedererrichtung des Staates Österreich als Zweite Republik ermöglicht. Die endgültige staatliche Souveränität wurde freilich erst nach 10-jähriger Besatzung durch die Siegermächte des Zweiten Weltkrieges mit der Unterzeichnung des Staatsvertrages im Mai 1955 erreicht. Es folgten Jahrzehnte der politischen und wirtschaftlichen Konsolidierung, die durch den Beitritt zur Europäischen Union im Jahre 1995 noch verstärkt werden konnte. In diesem Kapitel werden die strukturellen und personellen Veränderungen in den drei für die jeweilige Außen- und Sicherheitspolitik zuständigen Ministerien für Äußeres, Landesverteidigung und Inneres während der einzelnen Phasen der Entwicklung im 20. Jahrhundert nachgezeichnet, insbesondere auch im nachrichtendienstlichen Bereich. Sie lassen über den ganzen Zeitraum gesehen eher ein Bild der Kontinuität als der Diskontinuität erkennen, vor allem in der Zusammensetzung der politischen und administrativen Eliten. Austria, it has been claimed, is a nation without a history, and Austrian history is a history without a nation. Indeed, it can be argued that there is a marked discontinuity between the Austria and the Austrians of today and the Austria and the Austrians of only a century ago. Austrian history from the end of the 19th century to the beginning of the 21st century has been filled with ethnic confusions, multiple paradoxes and pervasive skepticism, which is why Austrians in the present are still insecure about and uncomfortable with their past and heritage. Outside observers even today speak of a lack of national and cultural self-confidence 1. This can also be explained by the fact that during the last century Austria was twice on the brink of becoming a failed state: between 1918 and 1922, and again between 1945 and Both of these phases of despair and misery came after world-wide conflagrations and led to distinctive republican periods, namely, the First Austrian Republic of /38 and the Second Austrian Republic from 1945 until the present day. The first republican experiment ended in failure as a consequence of internal and external pressures. The second opportunity, provided by the victors of World War II, eventually led to an almost miraculous recovery and a remarkable prosperity that was unforeseeable during those early years of almost total crisis. As conditions improved, particularly during the 1950s and 1960s, Austrians developed a new identity as a small, neutral nation-state which enjoyed the advantage of being situated at the crossroads between East

3 Institutional Change in Austrian Foreign Policy and Security Structures in the 20th Century 179 and West. Throughout the long 20th century the Austrian people had to endure bitter regime changes, which were marked by the following caesuras: 1918, 1933/34, 1938, 1945, and All these transitions brought substantial institutional changes, most of them constitutionally grounded. This chapter analyses these institutional changes from two crucial perspectives: foreign policy and security structures. These two fields of public life are best represented by three ministries, namely the Foreign, Defence, and Interior Ministries, which will be separately discussed. It should be noted that the sources relating to these three ministries vary considerably. Regarding the field of security, that is, in the Defence and Interior Ministries, special attention will be given to the respective intelligence structures. This is not only because these represent an interesting and under-researched area, but also because it serves as a revealing case of institutional change. This chapter will thus focus on (1) the institutional changes brought about by the above-mentioned caesuras and (2) the role elites played in these transitions. We will show that despite dramatic systemic changes in the 20th century, bureaucratic structures and their respective elites were somewhat surprisingly marked more by continuity than discontinuity. Austria in the 20th century: an overview For centuries the Habsburg dynasty acquired and controlled regions of varied languages and ethnicities, thereby achieving the status of a major European power. Nevertheless, by 1900 its Dual Monarchy created by the so-called Compromise of 1867, when German Austrians in the western half of the empire (Cisleithania) agreed to share power with the Hungarians in the eastern territories (Transleithania) was in crisis. Its proto-democratic features were consistently suppressed and politically marginalized. The Habsburgs and their aristocratic/bureaucratic elites ruled authoritatively; and although Austria-Hungary became a constitutional monarchy in 1867 the Emperor was reluctant to yield power to the parliamentary assembly. In August 1914, the already aged Franz Josef I stumbled into a regional war in the Balkans which quickly became European and then semi-global. Just over four years later, this dynasty which had dominated significant portions of Central Europe since the Middle Ages vanished along with its empire. German-speaking Austrians found themselves, practically overnight, living in a truncated state of dramatically reduced size. It took a full generation before they were able to absorb the mental and emotional shock. Indeed, this event brought about a severe identity crisis. Austria s first full-fledged democratic experiment lasted a mere fifteen years. The German Austrian Republic was established on 12 November 1918 by representatives of the two political mass parties, the Christian Socials and the Social Democrats, both founded towards the end of the 19th century. On 4 March 1933, only a few weeks after Hitler became the Chancellor of Germany, Austrian parliamentary Institutionalizing Diplomacy

4 180 Siegfried Beer, Andreas Gémes, Wolfgang Göderle, Mario Muigg democracy came to an abrupt end. The conservative Chancellor, Engelbert Dollfuss, following the resignation of all three parliamentary presidents, declared the parliament defunct and imposed an authoritarian form of government based on Christian Social principles. In this he was supported by fascist Italy. Dollfuss and, following his assassination, Kurt Schuschnigg, swiftly created a Churchbacked Corporatist State with fascist features in which only one political movement, the Fatherland-Front, was allowed. This inevitably led to a showdown between the Social Democrats on the left and the Austrian Nazis on the nationalist right. In February 1934, a fully-fledged, though short-lived, civil war broke out in major Austrian cities. It was won by the conservative right and with it the cultural war between provincial and urban Austria. Red Vienna, with its Austro-Marxist-inspired municipal structures, was again under conservative control, much like the period when Karl Lueger had been mayor at the turn of the century. The Corporatist State, as embodied in the constitution of 1 May 1934, was never accepted by the majority of Austrians, who considered it a throwback to the Habsburg past. Hitler openly defied and threatened it, as the so-called July Putsch by Austrian Nazis in 1934 demonstrated. Even the Dollfuss and Schuschnigg governments of 1933 to 1938 conceived of Austria as a German state, albeit with strong Austrian features. By 1936 international support for Austrian sovereignty and independence had withered and Hitler moved towards a gradual subversion and absorption of his homeland. In March 1938 Nazi Germany annexed Austria without much internal resistance or international protest. With the Anschluss of 13 March 1938, Austria, as created in , ceased to exist. It was renamed the Ostmark [Eastern Marches] and later Donau- und Alpengaue [Danubian and Alpine Provinces]. The years of Nazi rule transformed not only the Austrian people, but also all aspects of life, including the economy. Most Austrians quickly accepted the return of German Austria to the German fatherland, even one ruled by the National Socialists, and they willingly served in the German army or Wehrmacht during the war that followed. A small minority known as the Other Austria organized itself in exile and, to a lesser extent, in internal resistance. Overall, however, loyalty toward the Nazi regime remained strong up to the day of defeat by the Allies on 8 May 1945, despite the fact that the Third Reich brought only physical, economic, political and moral ruin. Austria was occupied by the victorious powers for ten years until as in 1918 the Allies once again decided to create an independent Austrian state. The Second Republic s journey toward political stability and economic prosperity was neither linear nor lacking in serious flaws and setbacks. It succeeded because Austrians were finally able to construct a viable and independent nation-state. Today, Austrian patriotism is a well-developed phenomenon that was practically non-existent in 1918 and in To a certain extent, this is due to the fact that Austrian neutrality more

5 Institutional Change in Austrian Foreign Policy and Security Structures in the 20th Century 181 or less forced upon the country as a consequence of the State Treaty in 1955 has become a central element of Austrian identity 2. Membership in the European Union since 1995 has increased Austria s self-confidence and international status; it has also proved highly advantageous for Austrian industry, commerce and finance. It has, however, not significantly affected the institutional landscape of Austria s federal, regional or local administrations. The Foreign Ministry Any institutional history of the Austrian Foreign Ministry 3 should begin with its address since the name Ballhausplatz is often used as a synonym for the Austrian Foreign Office and Austrian foreign policy in general. Ballhausplatz as it is the case with Wilhelmstrasse in Berlin or Paris Quai d Orsay refers to the Austrian Foreign Office s address (Ballhausplatz 2) in a beautiful palace in Vienna s First District 4. The Imperial and Royal Austro-Hungarian Foreign Ministry before and during World War I The Austro-Hungarian Compromise in 1867 (Ausgleich in German, kiegyezés in Hungarian) categorized the Foreign Ministry along with the Ministries of Finance and War as one of common affairs managed by both Austria and Hungary. Also part of the agreement was that Austria would contribute seventy percent of its revenue, while thirty percent would be provided by Hungary. In 1908, the formula was changed to 63.6 : The Austrian Foreign Ministry had traditionally consisted of three very distinct branches, namely diplomatic, consular and ministerial. Aspirants could thus pursue a diplomatic career, a consular career, or a career in the so-called higher administration (Höherer Dienst) in the Foreign Ministry in Vienna. While a consular career required an applicant to pass the Consular Academy exam, the other two branches demanded a university law degree. Potential diplomats had to master German, English and French (plus Hungarian for applicants from Transleithania) and had to have a degree of personal wealth since they had to invest their own assets in their representative duties. It is, therefore, no surprise that with very few exceptions Austro-Hungarian diplomats were recruited from the high aristocracy. William D. Godsey even called the Austro- Hungarian Foreign Office the aristocratic redoubt 6. The Imperial and Royal Ministry of the Imperial and Royal House and of Foreign Affairs was a huge institution which, in 1900, consisted of the cabinet of the minister, a political division and an administrative division of eleven departments 7. At the turn of the century, the Dual Monarchy was represented by eight embassies, eighteen legations, one resident minister and three diplomatic agencies scattered around the world. At Institutionalizing Diplomacy

6 182 Siegfried Beer, Andreas Gémes, Wolfgang Göderle, Mario Muigg the start of World War I the number of embassies had risen to ten and the number of legations to 23, but by November 1918 these numbers had shrunk to four and twelve respectively 8. In this context the work of military attachés provided the link between foreign and intelligence policies. They played a strategic role during the entire 20th century, but their work was regarded as especially important during World War I 9. Times of Change: In October 1918, the Provisional National Assembly constituted itself in the Lower Austrian Diet and established a State Council composed of different State Offices, among them a State Office of Foreign Affairs. In November, Ludwig Baron Flotow was appointed as Austro-Hungarian Foreign Minister, the last to bear this title. When the Republik Deutsch-Österreich [Republic of German Austria] was founded on 12 November 1918, all Austro-Hungarian and Austrian Ministries were dissolved and their powers transferred to the German-Austrian State Departments 10. Ironically, it was the task of Austrian foreign policy to liquidate the network of foreign missions of the former Austro-Hungarian Foreign Office, along with its assets. The task of selling off assets and palaces abroad lasted in some cases until as late as As almost all (mostly aristocratic) ex-austro-hungarian senior diplomats refused to serve the new republic they were all forced into retirement. Even in the lower echelons of the foreign service (both diplomatic and consular corps) 216 individuals were forced into retirement 11. Nevertheless, 38 former Austro-Hungarian consuls continued their career in the Austrian foreign service, 31 in Hungary, 10 in Czechoslovakia, 4 in Poland and 3 in the Italian Foreign Service. Since almost all of these quickly won promotion in their respective countries, an interesting situation emerged in Central Europe in the interwar years: in all the successor states of Austria-Hungary a more or less uniform type of diplomat directed foreign policy. They all had a common background in the Austrian school and many of them knew each other personally and shared common beliefs 12. In November 1920, the Austro-Hungarian Foreign Ministry in Liquidation, under Baron Flotow, informed the Austrian State Office for Foreign Affairs and the Hungarian Legation in Vienna that its task had been concluded. The Ministry in Liquidation had long since left the Ballhausplatz and operated from Flotow s private apartment in Vienna. Imperial Austrian diplomacy thus suffered a rather unspectacular end after more than 200 years. After his resignation, Flotow settled for retirement as well 13. Even before the Republic was proclaimed in November 1918, the State Office for Foreign Affairs had been established at the Ballhausplatz under the leadership of the State Secretary for Foreign Affairs, Victor Adler. At this time, Flotow and his Ministry in Liquidation were still situated there. Victor Adler was soon replaced by Otto Bauer (also from the Social Democratic party) who then took over the difficult task of diplomacy for the new Republic of Austria 14.

7 Institutional Change in Austrian Foreign Policy and Security Structures in the 20th Century 183 Beginning in November 1920, the Austrian Federal Government was made up of federal ministers rather than state secretaries. In the following years, however, Austria had no Foreign Minister in its own right (except for a short period in 1935) as this post was taken over by other ministers, including the Federal Chancellor himself. Organizationally speaking, the Foreign Office generally followed the pre-1918 pattern, except that the number of departments was considerably smaller. In 1923, the Austrian diplomatic and consular organization consisted of 15 legations, 6 consulates-general, 7 consulates and 3 passport offices, as well as numerous honorary consulates. However, the strict distinction between a consular and a diplomatic career soon disappeared as most employees were now recruited from the lower gentry 15. Around this time, the Austrian government even debated whether Austria needed foreign missions at all and whether a form of economic representation would not do the job as well. Eventually, it was not the network of missions which was done away with but rather in the context of a reorganization of several Austrian ministries the Foreign Ministry itself. The background to this restructuring measure was that the financial and economic situation of the country had been deteriorating and was only saved by a loan from the League of Nations, the so-called Geneva Protocol. This loan, however, carried conditions, such as strict control over Austria s budget and finances by a League of Nations Commissioner, who enforced stringent cuts in public spending. One of the reforms the Commissioner imposed was the abolition of the Federal Ministries of the Interior, Justice, Food Supply and Foreign Affairs. Instead, a Federal Chancellery and six Federal Ministries were established. Although Foreign Affairs was integrated into the Federal Chancellery, its direction was entrusted to a Federal Minister for Foreign Affairs. After 1923 the respective Federal Chancellor assumed this post. Another result of the League of Nations conditions was a considerable reduction in the network of diplomatic representations abroad. The low point was reached in 1926, after which a slow but steady expansion began. The dramatic development of international relations in the early 1930s also contributed to the expansion of Austria s presence abroad as many Austrian ex-patriates succumbed to Nazi propaganda and demanded a greater presence on the international stage : the Nazi period and World War II As a consequence of the Anschluss of 12 March 1938 the Austrian Foreign Ministry was reduced to a German Government Department, whose task was to close Austrian diplomatic representations and to organize the transfer of buildings, assets and archives to the new German authorities. In the following week the former Austrian missions hoisted the flag of the former Austrian Corporatist State, as well as of the German Reich a practice which the German authorities ended on March 20th. With this act Austria disappeared from the international arena. It should also be mentioned that the Institutionalizing Diplomacy

8 184 Siegfried Beer, Andreas Gémes, Wolfgang Göderle, Mario Muigg German authorities made sure that they received the lists of Austrian citizens in all respective host countries 17. The palace of the former Foreign Office remained empty for two years until Vienna s Gauleiter (head of a Nazi province), Baldur von Schirach, established his office there. There were conspicuously few National Socialists among the Austrian diplomatic corps and the Nazi authorities arrested and sent to concentration camps a number of its members, among them well-known diplomats and politicians such as Erich Bielka, Theodor Hornbostel, and Richard Steidle. A number of Austrian functionaries stationed abroad, such as Georg Alexich in The Hague, Georg Franckenstein in London and Ferdinand Marek in Prague, refused to follow Berlin s order to return home and preferred instead to remain in their host countries. Other Austrian diplomats chose to continue their career in the Nazi Foreign Service, but in general did not obtain important posts. Only 17 career diplomats and 12 low-ranking officials were admitted to the German Foreign Office : the Second Republic The efforts of the former diplomats Eduard Ludwig and Norbert Bischoff to re-establish Austria s Foreign Office started even before the Second Republic was officially proclaimed on 27 April Thus, in a way, the Foreign Office is older than the Second Republic itself 19. In any case, preparations soon began to re-establish the Austrian administration and former civil servants were called back to work. The new Chancellor of the Provisional Government, the Social Democrat Karl Renner, took over Foreign Affairs until Karl Gruber was appointed Undersecretary for Foreign Affairs in September Although his Ministry was only division IV (Foreign Affairs) of the Federal Chancellery, Gruber officially received the title of Federal Minister after the new federal government was established in late December In the immediate post-war period, this division was run by only ten people 20. Under Gruber s direction the Foreign Service rapidly expanded. Instead of politicians, experienced people from all professions were selected to represent Austria abroad, among them Kurt Waldheim, the later Secretary General of the United Nations. Not all Austrians who had served with the German Foreign Office were refused admittance to the Austrian Foreign Service after World War II. Wilfried Platzer, for example, had been Secretary of Legation in the Federal Chancellery in 1939 before he became a member of the NSDAP and served in the German Foreign Office until mid He was re-admitted in 1947 and was served as Secretary-General for Foreign Affairs from 1967 to A more telling appointment was that of Johanna Nestor, who became Austria s first woman diplomat in October Two other female colleagues joined her before the end of that year 21.

9 Institutional Change in Austrian Foreign Policy and Security Structures in the 20th Century 185 In contrast to the First Republic, from 1945 on Austrian authorities attempted to establish a dense network of missions around the world. Although Austria was under the strict control of the four Occupying Allied Powers, the so-called Zweites Kontrollabkommen [Second Control Agreement] of June 1946 granted Austria the right to establish diplomatic contacts with the United Nations and other states. Under Karl Gruber s tutelage (until 1953) a total of 46 Austrian representations were established. By 1948, Austria sponsored more missions than before World War II. The first ambassadors to be appointed since 1916 were posted to Paris and Washington in 1951, London in 1952, and Moscow in This took place at the request of the respective occupying powers and, in the words of the Austrian diplomat Josef Schöner, Austria hesitated to follow the common trend to replace the exclusive club of legations with the mass organization of embassies 22. In 1953, the former Austrian Chancellor Leopold Figl took over the post of Foreign Minister and in 1955 negotiated the Austrian State Treaty which restored Austria as a fully sovereign country. An Austrian Foreign Ministry was finally created in the late 1950s. The reason was less the need for a Foreign Office as such, but rather a political deal between the two coalition parties. The elections of May 1959, which resulted in a relative victory for the Austrian Social Democrats, required the transfer of one ministry from the Conservative Party to the socialists. Since there was no spare ministry available, a new one was created. Austrian career diplomat and future Federal Chancellor Bruno Kreisky ( ), thus became the first Foreign Minister to rule over a foreign ministry in its own right 23. The expansion of the network of foreign missions more or less came to an end by 1959, but new missions still had to be opened thanks to new international developments, above all decolonization in Africa and elsewhere. In 1964 a Diplomatic Academy was established as a successor to the former Consular Academy, and served as a post-graduate training centre for Austrian and foreign diplomats. As the Foreign Ministry grew, foreign cultural matters and economic co-operation were moved to the Ballhausplatz. The establishment of the Austrian Development Agency (ADA) is the most recent institutional change in the Foreign Ministry. Curiously enough, the Austrian Foreign Office had to wait until 2003 to get a telephone circuit of its own. Before that it had had to use the overloaded line of the Federal Chancellery 24. In 2005 the Austrian Foreign Ministry moved from its venerable address at Ballhausplatz 2 to Minoritenplatz 8. It was a nostalgic good-bye to the Ballhausplatz, the offices of the Foreign Ministry of a major European power for two centuries. Today, the Ministry is officially called the Federal Ministry for European and International Affairs and was led by from 2004 to 2008 by Ursula Plassnik, the second woman to hold this post following her immediate predecessor Benita Ferrero-Waldner (both from the Conservative Party). At the end of 2008 she ceded her place to the present Minister, Michael Spindelegger. Institutionalizing Diplomacy

10 186 Siegfried Beer, Andreas Gémes, Wolfgang Göderle, Mario Muigg The Defence Ministry Today s Bundesministerium für Landesverteidigung [Federal Ministry of Defence] has undergone numerous changes during the period covered by this chapter. Emanating from the k. u. k. Reichskriegsministerium [Imperial and Royal Ministry of War], it turned into the Staatsamt für Heereswesen [State Office for Army Affairs] in 1918 and was renamed the Bundesministerium für Heereswesen [Federal Ministry of Army Affairs] in In 1936 its name was changed again to Bundesministerium für Landesverteidigung [Federal Ministry of Defence], which in 1938 was absorbed into the German War Ministry. After World War II, military affairs were administered by various authorities, offices and government agencies as the occupying powers strictly disapproved of any plans to rebuild a ministry or office dealing exclusively with military matters. It was, therefore, only after the conclusion of the State Treaty in 1955 that a Federal Ministry of Defence was established. It was the successor to the provisional Amt für Landesverteidigung [Provisional Defence Office], which had been administered as part of the Bundeskanzleramt [Federal Chancellery of the Republic of Austria] 25. During the 20th century the Federal Ministry of Defence and its predecessors changed locality three times. Before 1912 the War Ministry was situated at Am Hof 2 in the centre of Vienna. It then moved to Stubenring 1, into the newly built Kriegsministerium [Ministry of War] 26. Since the early 1990s the Ministry has been located in the Rossau Barracks in Vienna s 9th District. Seen from an institutional point of view, the 20th century was one of decline for a ministry which, before 1914, had been one of the largest of the Habsburg Monarchy. The Imperial and Royal Ministry of War The creation of the Ministry of War in 1848 was an attempt to redefine the relation between the military administration, the military high command, and the monarch regarding the political architecture of the monarchy to come 27. This objective was not achieved and the beginning of the 20th century witnessed a struggle for dominance between the Ministry of War and the General Staff, the latter being under the strong influence of the heir to the Austro-Hungarian throne, Franz Ferdinand 28. The Ministry of War had become a powerful civil authority, operated by civil servants, and directed by Hofräte [court counsellors] educated at the Theresianum (a special kind of high school where many of their colleagues in the Ministries of Foreign and Interior Affairs also studied). Whereas the General Staff (under Field Marshal Franz Conrad von Hötzendorf at the beginning of the 20th century) was responsible for strategic planning and military command in wartime, the Ministry oversaw and managed all administrative tasks of the armed forces in peacetime. Unlike most modern armies, the Austro-Hungarian Armed Forces General Staff was not part of the Ministry of War.

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