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Austria

Austria,officially the Republic of Austria is a landlocked country in Central Europe. It borders both Germany and the Czech Republic to the north, Slovakia and Hungary to the east, Slovenia and Italy to the south, and Switzerland and Liechtenstein to the west. The capital is the city of Vienna on the Danube River.The origins of Austria date back to the ninth century, when the territory of Upper and Lower Austria became increasingly populated. The name "Ostarrichi" is first documented in an official document from 996. Since then this word has developed into Österreich.Austria is a parliamentary representative democracy comprising nine federal states  and is one of six European countries that have declared permanent neutrality and one of the few countries that includes the concept of everlasting neutrality in its constitution. Austria has been a member of the United Nations since 1955 and joined the European Union in 1995.




The modern republic of Austria came into being in 1918 as a result of its defeat in World War I. In its wake, the empire split into Austria's current borders, Hungary, southern Poland (which also came from the Russian and German empires), Czechoslovakia and most of Yugoslavia. Following an unresisted invasion and annexation by Nazi Germany in 1938, Austria more or less functioned as a part of Nazi Germany during the Second World War. Thus the majority of the population initially supported Hitler and their incorporation into Germany. Austrian soldiers also fought in the Wehrmacht, cities were bombed heavily by the Allies and concentration camps existed on Austrian soil (e.g. Mauthausen near Linz). In 1945, Austria was divided into zones of occupation like Germany. However unlike Germany, Austria was not subject to any further territorial loses. A State Treaty signed in 1955 ended the Allied and Soviet occupation, recognized Austria's independence, and forbade future unification with Germany. A constitutional law of that same year declared the country's "perpetual neutrality", which was a condition for Soviet military withdrawal, and saved Austria from Germany's fate of a divided nation with a divided capital. This neutrality, once ingrained as part of the Austrian cultural identity, has been called into question since the Soviet Union's collapse of 1991 and Austria's entry into the European Union in 1995. A prosperous country, Austria entered the European Monetary Union in 1999, and the Euro currency replaced the Schilling in 2002.


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