The promotion of an Austrian identity 1918-1938
This thesis examines constructs of Österreichertum promoted by Austrian conservatism in the years 1918-38. It is an interdisciplinary examination of political discourse, as well as of intellectual and literary formulations of Austrian identity. It considers why, in the majority of cases, the idea of Austrian nationhood was rejected in the inter-war era, and explores the Austro-German synthesis of identity that acted as a substitute for an independent national consciousness. The work focuses on the personality and politics of Ignaz Seipel; the Ständestaat regime and Vaterländische Front; the Heimatschutz and the legitimists; and literary and historical constructs of Austrian identity. Among these last constructs can be found those few publicists of the period who affirmed the existence of an Austrian nation. Their ideas did not bear fruit until after World War II, when Austrian political leaders took the country on the path to independent nationhood.