Mouwembleem Headquarters, U.S. Forces, Austria (Sleeve badge Headquarters, U.S.Forces, Austria)

1945 instituted

€ 7,00

The assumption of quadripartite control was a slower process in Austria (than in Germany) and was not completed until August 1945. Planning, however, had started in 1944, and from the beginning, a clear distinction had been made between the status of Germany and Austria.

It was originally decided by the Combined Chiefs of Staff that the Allied planning organization in England would coordinate plans for the occupation of Austria with those for Germany, but that Austria would be initially under the Mediterranean Theater because forces for the occupation could be provided more quickly from there. The US Group Control Council (Austria) was established in the Mediterranean Theater on 27 January 1945, and the London planning staff started its move to Italy early in February 1945.

In December 1944 the proposal that Austria be divided into three zones was made by the Soviet representative to the European Advisory Commission. In March 1945 the four-power occupation of Austria was being considered by that body, but agreement was not reached until early in July.

Events early in April 1945 forced changes in the plans for Austria. Soviet forces crossed the Austrian border early in April and captured Vienna on 13 April. Meanwhile, the weakening resistance of the Wehrmacht in Germany indicated that United States forces could invade Austria from the northeast more easily than from the south. Part of General Eisenhower's forces were turned south, therefore, and penetrated into Austria before the Germans could assemble their forces in the mountain "redoubt" of southern Bavaria and western Austria. Control was transferred from the Mediterranean to the European Theater of Operations, except that the former Theater was directed to furnish military government personnel and the headquarters staff for the occupation forces.

Interim Period of Tactical Military Government
After V-E Day it was necessary to continue tactical military government in Austria for a few weeks until military government field detachments were in position. When the first members of the military government staff arrived at the end of May, they found a confused situation, due to the territorial disposition of units. Troops in Austria comprised all or parts of two army groups, two field armies, four army corps, and twelve divisions, many of which were partly in Germany and partly in Austria. Consequently, their instructions and policies were not exclusively directed towards Austria (see List of Major Commands and Units for more details). During the early period Austria had to be treated on the same lines as Germany.

Development of an Austrian Command
This situation was improved, however, in July. On 5 July 15th Army Group was reorganized and redesignated the US Occupational Forces Austria. The Headquarters Company II Corps, 11th Armored Division, 42nd Division and 65th Division, previously assigned to Third Army and 12th Army Group, were assigned on 6 July to the newly formed US Occupational Forces Austria, the commanding general of which was Gen Mark Clark.

The Place of Austria in the European Theater Organization
The command directive for Germany and Austria, which was adopted by the Joint Chiefs of Staff on 28 June 1945, provided that General Eisenhower as Commanding General of the European Theater should delegate to the Commanding General of the United States forces in Austria such operational control as he considered necessary, and that two divisions should be assigned to Austria. This provision was elaborated in the Allied Forces Headquarters document that established the US Occupation Forces Austria. General Clark was made directly responsible to the Joint Chiefs of Staff on military government and political matters, while remaining under the European Theater on matters of supply and administration. Responsibility for the logistical support of forces in Austria was delegated to the Third Army, and later to Continental Base Section. Thus, the Austrian command assumed its place within the European Theater, retaining, however, a considerable measure of independence as regards policy, military government, and operation.

Final Establishment of Occupation in Austria
One of the earliest major accomplishments of this period was the final establishment of the occupation in Austria. On 19 August the advance headquarters of US Forces Austria moved into Vienna; after a series of conferences with Soviet officials, the commanders in chief of the other three occupying powers, Gen Mark Clark, Lt Gen Sir Richard McCrery, and Gen Marie-Emile Bethouart, moved into the city on 23 August. The Soviet forces were under the command of Marshal Ivan S. Koniev.

By September 1945 the United States Sector of Vienna was established, comprising the districts of NeubauJosefstadtAlsergrundWähringDöbling, and the northern part of Hernals adjoining Währing. On 11 September the Allied Control Council met for the first time.

Two of the major achievements of quadripartite control during this period were the extension through the whole of Austria of the power of the Provisional Government under Dr. Karl Renner on 20 October, and the preparations for, and supervision of, the first free elections for the national and provincial legislatures of the postwar period. This was held on 25 November 1945, with approximately 93 percent of the registered voters participating. Eighty-five Volkspartei members, 76 Social Democrats, and 4 Communists were elected to the Nationalrat, or Lower House of Parliament; Volkspartei majorities were elected to the provincial legislatures in all the Länder except Vienna and Kärnten (a Land of the British Zone), where socialists formed the majority. Leopold Figl, chairman of the Volkspartei, was elected chancellor of the new government, which was formally approved on 14 December by the Executive Committee of the Allied Control Council

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