Expert opinion on reparation claims

2.5 The moscow declaration of 1943

In the Moscow Declaration it was decided to reestablish Austria as a state. But also:



In the Moscow Declaration, the foreign ministers of the Allied states, Britain, the US and the Soviet Union, declared the annexation of Austria to the German Reich invalid in March 1938 and declared that they wanted to restore the state of Austria after the end of the war.

The formulation stated in the declaration was:

"The governments of the United Kingdom, the Soviet Union and the United States of America agree that Austria, the first free country to fall prey to Hitler's typical policy of attack, should be freed from German rule."


In Austria, at the end of the war, the social consensus emerged very quickly that "Austria was the first victim" of National Socialist aggression. The official policy sought to support this "victim myth" with reference to the declaration text, although it had also been formulated here:

"However, Austria is also reminded that it has a responsibility to take part in the war alongside Hitler's Germany, which cannot escape it, and that on the occasion of the final settlement consideration for how much it has contributed to its liberation, will be inevitable."


Thus, the declaration offered two perspectives from an Allied point of view. On the one hand, an offer was made to the regime-loyal and the more passive part of the Austrian population: renewed state sovereignty was in the offing, a collective co-punishment for the entanglements in the Nazi war crimes would be absent. A perseverance to the extreme that Nazi propaganda sought to produce would be unnecessary. On the other hand, potential functionaries are called to change sides under the model of Italy under Badoglio and accelerate by coup the German defeat.


The Allies were divided on the treatment of Austria after the surrender. The Western powers, especially the British government, demanded that the population as a whole be held accountable and that reeducation be carried out. In contrast, the Soviet Union was primarily interested in economic reparations and therefore saw the state of Austria in duty.


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