New book on post-war Austria launched
A celebration to mark the publication of a new book by Swansea University historian Dr Jill Lewis will take place at the Austrian Cultural Forum in London this Thursday (October 25).
Workers and politics in occupied Austria, 1945-55 (pictured) by Dr Jill Lewis, Senior Lecturer in the Department of History, is published by Manchester University Press.
The book will be introduced at the launch by one of contemporary Austria's most eminent historians, Professor Oliver Rathkolb, Director of the Vienna-based Ludwig Boltzmann Institute for European History and Public Spheres: Culture, Democracy and Media, and Professor at the Institute for Contemporary History, University of Vienna.
Between 1945 and 1955, Austria and its capital Vienna were occupied by the four – increasingly mutually antagonistic – Allied Powers. The book tells how the resultant precarious situation shaped Austrian political culture and labour relations.
Dr Lewis's book, for which she was awarded a British Academy/Leverhulme Senior Research Fellowship, sets the social and economic difficulties that Austria encountered in this crucial decade in their international context and examines how they were contained.
Dr Lewis's main research focus is on 20th century Austria. Her new book on Austrian workers was preceded by a monograph covering the years 1918-1934, and was entitled Fascism and the Working Class in Austria (1991).
Speaking ahead of the launch event in London, Dr Lewis said: "The central argument of my book is that the key to contemporary Austria's unique and often contentious political culture lies in the immediate post-war years, when politicians were able to quell dissent and centralise authority.
"They were able to do so in the first decade of the Cold War by exploiting their new state's greatest weakness – its precarious position on the fault line of the Iron Curtain and under Four-Power Allied occupation.
"I am delighted that the Austrian Cultural Forum has chosen to launch the book and that Professor Rathkolb has agreed to present it."
For further information about the book, please visit Manchester University Press website, and for further information about the Department of History in Swansea University's School of Humanities, visit the School's website.