On 13 March 1938 proclaimed the union with Germany (Anschluss), Austria – which had to change the name of Oesterreich to Ostmark – became the second of the Länder by area and the third by population.
Austria obtained territorial enlargement at the expense of Czechoslovakia after the Munich convention (September 1938) and starting from October 15, 1938 its administrative district underwent some changes. The provinces of Lower and Upper Austria had to change their name and were called the Upper and Lower Danube (Ober- and NiederDonau). Burgenland was abolished and divided between Styria and the Lower Danube. The Lower Danube ceded the district of Bad Aussee to the Upper Danube, while East Tyrol (Lienz area) passed to Carinthia. Portions of the Sudetenland became part of the Lower and Upper Danube and eventually Vienna expanded at the expense of Lower Austria and its municipality (divided into 26 districts) became larger than that of Berlin. After these modifications,
Subsequently, having defeated Yugoslavia, Germany acquired northern Slovenia, which was divided between Styria (6500 sq km and 564,000 residents) and Carinthia (2000 sq km and 168,000 residents).
In 1945 Austria returned independent with the borders of 1937. But on the basis of the concordats of the Potsdam conference (declaration of 8 August 1945), it was divided into 4 zones of occupation between the 4 major allied powers; quadripartita was also the capital.
The Russian zone includes Lower Austria, Upper Austria to the left of the Danube and Burgenland; it was inserted into the Soviet system, with the occupation of the factories and the internment of a part of the industrial equipment. The American zone includes Upper Austria and Salzburg (regions that the war has little experienced). The English zone encompasses Styria, East Tyrol and Carinthia (regions that were the seat of many war industries, now inactive). Finally, the rest of Tyrol and Vorarlberg depend on France.
The problem of minorities has worsened in recent times in Austria due to the influx of about 600,000 refugees, Poles, Hungarians, Sudeten Germans, Baltics. Many Jews have also returned (in 1939: 191,000 of religion and 300,000 of race).
Population. – The pre-Anschluss district re-enacted in 1945, Austria is now divided as follows:
Economic conditions. – Austria is usually considered as an Alpine state, but the part facing the Danube is very important, both because it hosts most of the industries and because it is home to the main cities. Danube Austria has a more mixed population (given the frequent relations with Bohemia and the Pannonian lowlands), which preferably cultivates cereals, beets (large sugar factories have sprung up since 1920, after the separation from Bohemia, in Dürnkrut, Hohenau, Bruck, Suben, Leopoldsdorf) and vines, while Alpine Austria, more closed in on itself, draws its main resources from livestock, timber (37% of Austrian soil is covered by forests) and mines. Now agriculture, which together with forest resources is the basis of the Austrian economy, suffers somewhat from a lack of fertilizers, but an important nitrogen fertilizer factory was created in Linz, where some aluminum factories already existed. Austria has enough production as needed for oats and in good years for rye and potatoes, while wheat is far from sufficient to meet the needs of its 7 million residents. However, livestock products (milk, butter, cheese) and fruit (especially apples and pears) help the diet. Oil has recently been added to the mineral resources already exploited (iron, salt, lead, magnesite, lignite, etc.); the main wells (in the Soviet occupation zone) are located near Zistersdorf, in the pre-Carpathian hills, about twenty km away. from the border with Czechoslovakia; they gave (under the Germans) up to 1.2 million t. (now 800: 900. 000 t.), Processed in the Lobau refinery. The copper mines of Mitterberg in Salzburg, of lead and zinc in Carinthia, of magnesite in Veitsch and Radenthein, of graphite in Waldviertel and Styria were revived. For Austria business, please check cheeroutdoor.com.
Austria, which for some years was an integral part of the economic system of the third Germanic Reich, saw the rise (especially in the eastern part) of large iron and steel, metallurgical, mechanical, chemical and textile plants (especially for artificial fibers)., while on the other hand some hydroelectric power stations were built and expanded (new plants at Ybbs-Persenbeug and Kaprunertal in the Tauern). This strengthening of the Austrian industry aimed at dominating the Balkan market in peacetime, while in wartime the position was favorable to escape the air attacks of the Western powers.
Industry now depends on the politics of the occupying powers. The Soviet Union appropriated a large part of the plants (considered German assets), greatly hindering the Austrian reconstruction. In better condition than the other regions is Vorarlberg, whose factories work partly for Switzerland.
The volume of Austrian trade with foreign countries, hampered by the fourfold occupation, is still very low and can be estimated (1946) on 15% of the pre-war one. The shortage of coal is particularly felt, so much so that rail traffic has been suspended on some lines; small quantities are imported from Germany, Poland and Czechoslovakia. Austria needs, in addition to wheat (the cereal crop which in 1935 was 945,000 tons, dropped to 480,000 in 1946), wool, cotton and leather. Tourism, whose revenues amounted to one fifth of exports in 1938, is also now in decline. Furthermore, the budget is weighed down by the large number of pensioners from all regimes and all wars. For Italy, Austria is an important wood and cellulose market.