Victims or perpetrators? : the denazification legislation of the allied occupation of Austria (1945-1950).
Fitzgibbons, Erin Vinchesi.
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This is an examination of the denazification legislation during the Allied occupation of Austria between 1945 and 1950. This project looks at the reports of the United States Military Government High Commissioner over the course of five years and how it helped to perpetuate the idea that Austrians were “victims of German aggression” rather than collaborators. There were numerous factors that hindered the progress of denazification within Austria, including the lack of cohesion between the Occupying Powers as well as the historic relationship that Germany and Austria has maintained since the early nineteenth century. I argue that because the postwar legislation created by the Allies, most specifically the Moscow Declaration, allowed Austria to take on a victim identity and therefore, escape most of the blame and responsibility for the crimes of the Third Reich, which in turn, allowed them to found a new national identity separate from Germany based on this victim idea.
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