Occupation of Austria 1945-1955

During the last weeks of World War II, Allied troops occupied the whole of Austria: Soviet Russia Lower Austria, Vienna, Burgenland and large parts of Styria, the USA Upper Austria, the provinces of Salzburg and Tyrol, the French Vorarlberg, Britain parts of Carinthia, Styria and East Tyrol, and Yugoslavia the southern part of Carinthia. On July 4, 1945 an agreement was reached on the First Control Agreement and the occupation zones. The Soviet zone encompassed Lower Austria under the borders of 1937, Burgenland and the Muhlviertel region in northern Upper Austria; the United States took the southern part of Upper Austria and Salzburg; the British Styria, Carinthia, and East Tyrol; the French North Tyrol and Vorarlberg. In Vienna, the city centre (the first district) was placed under joint four-power control, while the remaining "old" districts were divided as follows: districts 2, 4, 10, 20, 21 Soviet; districts 7, 8, 9, 17, 18, 19 American; districts 3, 5, 11, 12, 13 British; districts 6, 14, 15, 16 French. This division remained until the Austrian State Treaty came into force on July 27,1955 and characterised the first 10 years of the Second Republic. In August 1945 the Western powers took control of their respective Viennese zones; on September 11 the Allied Council was constituted, which was made up of the four commanders-in-chief (later the ambassadors) acting as high commissioners. They had supreme power of decision and met on a monthly basis in Vienna under rotating chairmanship. The Second Control Agreement of June 28, 1946 extended the authority of the Austrian government.

While initially the occupying armies numbered 700,000 men, by 1955 the Western powers were reduced to around 20,000 and the Soviet forces to 40,000. The occupation costs had to be covered by Austria (initially making up 35% of its budget; from December 3, 1946, this went down to 15%). In 1947 the US declared that it would pay its own occupation costs; the other three powers followed suit in 1953.

The occupation powers also intervened in local affairs in their zones. The Soviet Union confiscated German Assets in its zone in 1946.


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