Header Sonderausstellung HdG

100 Years Republic Austria 1918 – 2018

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Familien Individualbesucher

From the founding of the republic to the “Anschluss”

The Haus der Geschichte’s permanent exhibition will be regularly complemented by highly topical changing and special exhibitions. On the occasion of “100 Years Republic Austria”, the first special exhibition is dedicated to a fascinating period in Austrian history: the time between the two World Wars, from the founding of the First Republic in 1918 to the “Anschluss“ (annexation by Germany) in 1938.

Visitors can expect a compellingly staged show on approx. 550 m² exhibition space. It covers the spectrum from the domestic policy, the economic and social conditions through to the foreign policy of the times. The massive, ideologically motivated antagonisms among the political camps, the political elite’s inability to compromise, the deeply divided population, the high rate of unemployment and the poverty across many classes led society to become radicalized. The preparedness to solve political conflicts by means of violence was present in all three political parties. Home guards, paramilitary organizations and state forces faced each other in a latent civil war. In 1933, Federal Chancellor Engelbert Dollfuß abolished democracy and the civil war in February 1934 completely divided the country. Dollfuß was murdered in July 1934 by the National Socialists (Nazis.) The establishment of an authoritarian, corporative state was the Austrian model of an increasingly fascist central Europe (with the exception of Czechoslovakia and Switzerland.)

A large area will be devoted to the social and economic backdrop. Never before shown objects from the provincial collections and a collection campaign will make phenomena such as mass poverty and mass unemployment in their political and social consequences comprehensible. The economic disasters of that time, from the collapse of the Austro-Hungarian Empire’s central European economic community to the global economic crisis, but also the years of economic recovery will be impressively illustrated using exhibits from the daily lives of the people.

The third important topic range is Austria’s foreign policy and the influence of external factors on the weak, small country in the center of Europe. Here, above all, the role of fascist Italy and the pressure from Hitler’s Germany will be the focal point of interest. Only supported by a small portion of the population, the authoritarian system was too weak to cope with Nazi Germany and the illegal National Socialists in the own country. The “Anschluss” in 1938 – annexation to the German Reich – took place without military resistance under enormous pressure from inside and outside.

The visitor forums will encourage reflection and discussion about the current challenges democracy faces as well as the values of a democratic society. 

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