Centenary Perspectives on the Austrian Republic

To commemorate the 100th anniversary of the Austrian republic, on November 10, the Austrian Consulate of Seattle in conjunction with the Austrian Studies Program was pleased to host David Clay Large (IES Senior Fellow and Professor at the Fromm Institute, University of San Francisco) for a lecture titled “From Renner to Kurz: Reflections on the History of Austrian Republicanism.” The First Republic was declared on November 12, 1918, at the end of World War I. Large’s talk examined the First Republic (1918-1938) as a cautionary tale, illustrating how domestic and foreign challenges in the 1920s and 1930s compromised Austria’s parliamentary democracy well before the country’s annexation into the German Reich in 1938. As Large noted, the history of Austria’s Second Republic has shown that the Austrian people learned from such challenges to evolve a durable and stable consensus-based political system. His lecture also considered the problematical aspect of Austria’s reluctance to reckon with its role in the Third Reich, as the country was often portrayed as a victim rather than as a co-conspirator of the Nazi regime. Offering a critical retrospective of postwar Austrian identity, Large explained historical developments and sources, engaging the Austrian community of Seattle in an enriching discussion.