Jubiläumsbilder. Drei Ausstellungen zum Staatsvertragsgedenken 2005
On the occasion of the 50th anniversary of the Austrian State Treaty (May 15, 1955) many commemorative events including a series of exhibitions took place in Austria. This article examines three major exhibitions: Neues Österreich (The New Austria) in the Upper Belvedere, Österreich ist frei (Austria is Free) in the Schallaburg and Österreich baut auf (Rebuilding Austria) in the Technical Museum in Vienna. The analysis focuses on the narrative arising from the connection between the thematic concept and the architectural implementation of the exhibitions. The main point of the investigation is to see whether these exhibitions, by referring to the most recent research findings, offered new perspectives on the history of the Second Republic, named the sore points of Austria’s post-war history and to what extent traditional myths and narrative models were replaced by new approaches. The author concludes that all three major exhibitions were subordinated to a consensual view of the State and avoided presenting central and controversial themes in a pointed fashion. This applies especially to the way in which Austria has dealt with the Nazi past. Almost all topical references were ignored, whereby the specific Austrian ›victim‹ myth was replaced by a guilt and atonement narrative that portrayed Austria’s post-war history as a cathartic process of maturing.