In Vienna on May 15, 1955, representatives of the Soviet, American, British, French, and Austrian governments signed a “State Treaty” restoring Austria’s full sovereignty after seven years of Anschluss with Germany and ten years of “Allied” occupation. Vienna itself had been divided into five zones and occupied by foreign troops of four different nationalities and even more races.
The Viennese were fond of relating how they had secretly listened to Allied radio broadcasts during the war: “The Soviet Union calls Austria,” the announcer would intone; or “America calls Austria,” or “Britain calls Austria.” “We didn’t call anyone,” the Viennese would then explain, “but now they’re all here.” At the time of the State Treaty the words of the popular song weren’t changed from “Wien, Wien, nur du allein” to “Wien, Wien, endlich allein"—but it may have been considered.
Sven Allard, Swedish Minister (later Ambassador) to Austria from 1954 to 1964, had an unparalleled opportunity to follow the developments leading to the sudden signing of the treaty: A close friend of Bruno Kreisky, the State Secretary of the Austrian Foreign Office and later Foreign Minister, he also enjoyed the confidence of Llewellyn E. Thompson, the U.S. High Commissioner. Soviet diplomats also confided in Ambassador Allard from time to time.
Now retired from the diplomatic service, the author has analyzed the political background and explained the motives for Moscow’s unexpected about-face. His book is especially topical for the light it throws on the comparable problem of divided Germany.