Allied-occupied Austria - Independence

Independence

Further information: Austrian State Treaty

In March, Molotov clarified his plan through a series of consultations with ambassador Norbert Bischoff: Austria was no longer a hostage of the German issue. Molotov invited Raab to Moscow for bilateral negotiations that, if successful, had to be followed by a Four Powers conference. By this time Paris Agreements were ratified by France and Germany, yet again the British and Americans suspected a trap of the same sort that Hitler had set for Schuschnigg in 1938. Anthony Eden and others wrote that the Moscow initiative was merely a cover-up for another incursion into German matters. The West erroneously thought that the Soviets valued Austria primarily as a military asset, when in reality it was a purely political issue. Austria's military significance has been largely devalued by the end of the Soviet-Yugoslav conflict and the upcoming signing of the Warsaw Pact.

These fears did not materialize, and Raab's visit to Moscow (April 12-15) was a breakthrough. Moscow agreed that Austria would be free not later than 31 December. Austrians agreed to pay for the "German assets" and oil fields left by the Soviets, mostly in kind; "the real prize was to be neutrality on the Swiss model." Molotov also promised release and repatriation of Austrians imprisoned in the Soviet Union.

Western powers were stunned; Wallinger reported to London that the deal "was far too good to be true, to be honest". But it proceeded as had been agreed in Moscow and on 15 May 1955 Antoine Pinay, Harold MacMillan, Molotov, John Foster Dulles and Figl signed the Austrian State Treaty. It came into force on July 27 and on 25 October the country was free of occupying troops. The Soviets left to the new Austrian government a symbolic cache of small arms, artillery and T-34 tanks; the Americans left a far greater gift of "Stockpile A" assets. The only person upset about the outcome was Konrad Adenauer, who called the affair "die ganze Österreichische Schweinerei" ("the whole Austrian scandal") and threatened the Austrians with "sending Hitler's remains home to Austria".

Read more about this topic:  Allied-occupied Austria

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