Occupied Vienna

Learn more about Vienna in the years 1945-1955, as the city was occupied by Allied powers and divided into 4 zones.  Which victorious power took over which district in Vienna? What happend in the center of Vienna? Who were the four in the jeep? Experience the festive moment when the State Treaty was signed on May 15, 1955. At Timetravel you will see the balcony of the Belvedere Palace, where the signed state agreement was shown to the cheering crowd. Celebrate this historic moment with us and hear the famous words of theformer Foreign Minister Leopold Figl: "Austria is free!" 

Skyline Wien

Background information of the occupation time in Vienna (1945-55)

Vienna did not look any different after the Second World War than many other European cities, bombed and starving. Initially, only Soviet soldiers were present after the liberation of Vienna, the Western Allies (USA, France and Great Britain) did not follow until September 1945.

After the Second World War, Austria was occupied from 1945 to 1955 by the four victorious powers. These were Soviet , American, British and French troops, dividing Austria into four zones. Vienna was also divided into four sectors, as well as a common interallied zone, the 1st district.

At the beginning, the occupation was characterized by military control. The international patrol consisted of one military soldier of each occupying force and began to work in August 1945. At first there were three soldiers, each one from the Soviet Union, USA and Great Britain. The Frenchman arrived in September 1945.

"The four in the jeep" controlled both in the first district, as well as in the rest of Vienna. The American was always behind the wheel (after all, it was an American jeep), and next to him was the Briton, behind the driver sat the Frenchman and next to him the Soviet. Now and then, the positions were changed, except for the driver.

In the 1950s, the four in the Jeep were also the topic in a swiss movie.

In order to switch between the zones, a so-called "Identity Card" was required, which was issued in four languages ​​(German, English, French, Russian). This severely restricted the freedom of movement of the Austrian Population and hindered the movement of goods between the zones.

In the beginning, the economic problems of the occupation caused problems for the Viennese. After all, the occupation costs amounted to 35% of the state budget. On the other hand, the Americans brought chewinggum and cigarettes to Vienna in addition to the important care packages. The French brought fashion and art to Vienna.

The movie "The Third Man" was filmed in Vienna in 1949. This is a spy film in bombed Vienna with Orson Welles in the lead role as Harry Lime. Also famous were Joseph Cotton and Alida Valli, as well as the Austrian actors Paul Hörbiger and Annie Rosar.

The central cemetery, the city center and the Giant ferris wheel were chosen as locations. The Vienna sewer system became famous for the wild chases.

The Austrian State Treaty

The Austrian State Treaty was signed after 10 years of occupation (1945-55) on May 15, 1955 in the Marble Hall of the Belvedere Palace.

It concerned the restoration of free, independent and democratic Austria.Neutrality was an important negotiating criterion.

Leopold Figl and Julius Raab were the politicians involved. Leopold Figl, then Foreign Minister, was one of the signatories of the State Treaty, together with the respective Foreign Ministers and High Commissioners of thefour occupying powers. Figl is wellknown for his famous words: "Austria is free".

The respective Foreign Ministers and High Commissioners have signed the State Treaty: Molotov and Ilyichov for the Soviet Union, Macmillan and Wallinger for Great Britain, Dulles and Thompson for the USA, and Pinay and Lalouette for France. Leopold Figl signed with a green ink.

It is interesting that the Original of the State Treaty is kept in Moscow and not in Vienna. The document contains nearly 300 pages with translations in Russian, English, French and German. It is in the archive of the Russian Foreign Ministry in Moscow. Sometimes, the document comes to Austria for exhibitions.

Then the agreed period of 90 days began, in which the occupation troops had to leave Austria. The last day was October 25, 1955, and to this day we keep the legend of the last Russian occupation soldier, who is said to have left Austria on that day. It is correct that he left the country already in September.

The Austrian Neutrality law came into force on October 26, 1955.  Since 1965 this day is celebrated as our National Holiday and since 1967 it is a public holiday and free of work.

This day is traditionally celebrated with a parade of the Austrian Federal Army at Vienna's Heroe's square. Many public institutions, as well as government buildings open their doors to the public. 

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