Every year the Austrian National Holiday is celebrated on the 26th of October Unlike other countries’ holidays, Austria’s holiday isn’t based on a won battle, indepedency or unification.
Beginnings; After WWII, Austria was on its path to become a
and it was aiming to become a neutral state. However, things didn’t start to proceed until Stalin died and the Soviet Union was finally willing to withdraw their occupation troops. Hence, in 1954, the Soviet Union demanded politicial neutrality from Austria and in return, the allies will withdrawl all their occupation troops.
Neutrality; Once the Austrian State Treaty was signed, the Allies had to ratify it. France being the last to ratify the treaty triggered the 90 day period in which all Allies troops had to leave the country. The 25th of October was the last day of this deadline where the very last British troop handed over the barracks in Klagenfurt Lendort back to Austria, hence making the 26th of October 1955 the first day of an unoccupied, neutral Austria.
Operation Legacy was intended to ensure that “the British way of doing things” would be remembered with “fondness and respect” – that the conduct of its imperial retreat would be seen as exemplary. To go to such lengths of deception for something as intangible and imponderable as a place in history’s good books may seem unlikely, but it was surely for these reasons, rather than any security concern, that, for example, British officialdom asked its servants to destroy or return to Britain any papers that “might be interpreted as showing religious intolerance on the part of HMG” as well as “all papers which might be interpreted as showing racial discrimination against Africans (or Negros [sic] in the USA)”.
Ian Jack in The Guardian. The History Thieves by Ian Cobain review – how Britain covered up its imperial crimes This engrossing study identifies secrecy as a ‘very British disease’, exploring how, as the empire came to an end, government officials burned the records of imperial rule