Sunday, December 28, 2014

Austrians DO NOT Tell Germans That They Owe Greeks For WW2!

No, Austrians DO NOT tell Germans that they owe Greeks 1,5 trillion Drachma as this article in Protothema suggests. The article in Austria's Der Standard ("Athens' ire about a forced loan") only reports the position of the Greek side in this matter; no more and no less.

Official Austria would never tell official Germany that they owe Greece money for anything related to WW2 for the very simple reason that one doesn't throw stones when one sits in a glass house. After WW2, the perpetrators of Nazi atrocities were split into 3 different entities: West Germany, East Germany and Austria. West Germany has lived up to at least part of its responsibilities. East Germany never paid a dime and Austria pulled the greatest fast one of all: it declared itself as 'the first victim of National Socialism'. This was based on the Moscow Declaration of November 1, 1943, in which the ministers of foreign affairs of the UK, the US and the Soviet Union claimed that 'Austria was the first free country that should fall prey to the typical aggressive policy of Hitler'. Apparently, they had not seen the pictures where the largest crowd ever assembled on Vienna's Heldenplatz enthusiastically cheered Hitler's arrival. Still, the Moscow Declaration also said that 'Austria is being reminded that it cannot escape the responsibility for having participated in the war on the side of Hitler-Germany'.

When Austria succeeded in getting a State Treaty of Independence with the Four Powers in 1955, that treaty, in paragraph 3 of the preamble, referred to Austria's co-responsibility for WW2. Shortly before signing, Austria's foreign minister got the Four Powers to scratch that paragraph. The myth of 'Austria's being the first victim' has lived on ever since and it has become a pillar of Austria's understanding of its modern history.

No Austrian in his right mind would blame Germany for not living up to its WW2 responsibilites when knowing, at least in the secrecy of one's mind, that one escaped that justified responsibility by pulling a gigantic fast one.

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