Salzburg Under Siege: U.S. Occupation, 1945-1955
How did mostly unwanted American military and civilian leaders help conquered people restore law and order, reopen schools, and provide food and housing for a nearly starved population swollen with refugees, war prisoners, and displaced persons in the aftermath of war? Two historians--participants in the U.S. occupation of the province of Salzburg already in 1945--trace the ins and outs of a ten-year period, at the end of World War II, when Austria was in a precarious situation and when Americans were helping the young republic survive, reviving its economy, and preventing Nazis from returning to office. This unusual success story is based on first-hand accounts then and later, and is written to appeal to veterans, scholars, and readers interested generally in military and diplomatic history, intergovernmental administration, and European affairs.
This case history offers a good background for understanding the complex European situation in 1945, and then traces how the Americans helped assist, control, regulate, promote, or even restrict the Austrian recovery, pointing particularly to the first crucial years of the American presence in Salzburg. Despite frictions, a key factor promoting success was the leeway given Austrian officials to plan and govern themselves and the freedom granted to the press. The occupation of Salzburg is compared to the American administration in other parts of Austria and in Germany and to the French occupation of the Tyrol and Vorarlberg and the British occupation of Carinthia. This assessment details reactions by Austrians and Americans both, official government evaluations in 1947 and 1955, and scholarly interpretations and misinterpretations. The Whitnahs' book includes illustrations and is based on extensive research and lengthy study of personal letters and papers, oral interviews, and official documents in Washington, D.C. and in Austria.