- "explain why
places and regions are important to individual human identity and
[why they are] symbols for ... unifying society...." "Places
and Regions" (NGS)
- "analyze the
development of the nation-state and [explain] how nation-states differ
from empires or other forms of political organization." "World
History Across the Eras: Standard 1" (NSH)
- "analyze connections
between the political stabilization of ... European societies and
the Marshall Plan, the European Economic Community, government planning,
and ... welfare states." "Era 9: Standard 1" (NSH)
- "describe the
relationships among the various economic institutions that comprise
economic systems, such as ... business firms, ... government agencies,
... [and] labor unions." "Production, Distribution, & Consumption"
- "compare and
analyze the ways nations ... respond to conflicts between forces of
unity and forces of diversity." "Power, Authority, & Governance"
Depending on students' needs, you may want to preview some or all of the
following terms: annexation, balanced budget, deed of transfer, economic
depression, euro, financial center, grant (monetary), gross domestic
product (GDP), Holocaust, humanitarian aid, NATO, parliamentary republic,
per-capita gross domestic product, purchasing power parity, service industry,
and totalitarian rule.
The student pages in this unit have been developed around a "widening-circles"
approach to the study of modern-day societies. Austria is explored first
as a nation (see Student Text Page No. 1),
next as a member of a geopolitical region (Student
Text Page No. 2), and finally as a participant in global affairs (Student
Text Page No. 3). Running through all three pages are underlying questions:
How has Austria's location influenced its history? How does an economically
successful society adapt to a changing world? How might such adaptation
influence its people's sense of identity and purpose? You may want
to use those questions as well as the "Key Questions" at the end
of each page to evaluate students' grasp of what they read.
BACKGROUND ON STUDENT
As you introduce this unit to students, ask them to speculate on the kinds
of issues and fields of endeavor in which a society might collectively
"face and meet challenges." Apply the question to both past and present
times. Then urge them to watch for examples of such "challenges" in each
of the three Student Text Pages in this unit. Here's some background on
the content of those pages:
Text Page No. 1: "As a Nation." Austria's economy. "How did Austrians
... manage to build such an economy?" is the pivotal question raised in
the opening lines of this page. The answer lies in subsequent paragraphs,
which tell the story of Austria's "miraculous" post-war recovery. And
for current information, this unit's Austria Data Page
provides a profile of the country's economy today. But you might urge
students to keep tabs on upcoming reports out of Vienna, too. Suggestion:
Have students look for periodic short reports on Austria's economy under
Economy Links" at the Web Site of the Austrian Press and Information
Service in Washington, DC. See especially the links to the Austrian Institute
of Economic Research and to the Vienna Institute for International Economic
Studies. (NOTE: Some other links on this "Business & Economy"
page open German-language documents.)
The Marshall Plan.
The European Recovery Program, also called the Marshall Plan, was driven
as much by fear of communist expansion as by altruism (see Student
Text Page No. 1). Austria, for example, was directly in the path of
Soviet takeovers. Suggestion: You might have students research
and report on the legislative debate leading up to passage of the ERP,
noting the effect on the U.S. Congress when Czechoslovakia fell before
a communist advance in early 1948 (see Austria
Text Page No. 2: "Within Its Region." Name origins. In recent
years, some unusual tee-shirt slogans have greeted visitors to Austria:
"No kangaroos in Austria" and "It's not the Outback," for example. If
students tend to confuse the names of Austria and Australia (the Outback),
tell them about the tee-shirts! A lesson on name derivations might help,
too. Austria's name is derived from an Old German term, "Ostarrichi,"
meaning "East realm." "Austria" a later, Latinized version
has the same meaning. But "Australia" comes from the Latin "Terra Australis,"
a term for "Southern Land." Suggestion: Ask students to
reflect on such questions as: From whose point of view was each place
named? What might the answer tell us about the historic evolution of cultural
On January 18, 2001, The Washington Post reported that Austria had pledged
$900 million dollars within the previous year by way of compensation and
restitution to Holocaust victims. Indeed, the nation has been working
for years to end what (then) Austrian President Thomas Klestil has called
"a dark chapter in Austria's past." You might prompt students reading
the second student page to reflect on how a nation's past abuses can affect
those living in the present. Suggestion: Invite students
to do further research into 20th-century genocides, then write an editorial
on "Coming To Terms With Ghosts of the Past."
Text Page No. 3: "In Today's World." Global neighbors. Austria's
membership in international organizations, treaties, and conventions reflects
its people's strong convictions about certain issues (see Student
Text Page No. 3). Examples: (1) Austria, which has had environmental
protection laws since 1852, is today a dedicated member of the international
Convention on Wetlands. And it supports several global agreements on such
issues as Air Pollution, Biodiversity, and Hazardous Wastes. (2) Since
joining the UN in 1955, Austria has participated in many of its peacekeeping
missions. As of November 2000, 750 Austrians were serving as UN troops,
police, or observers in more than a dozen international sites, including
Bosnia, the Middle East's Golan Heights, and Cyprus. (3) The nation's
co-leadership with Canada in urging a comprehensive ban on antipersonnel
land mines is outstanding. Austria drafted the current treaty calling
for this ban in 1996. To date, 153 nations (not yet including the USA)
have signed the treaty and more than 90 percent of them have ratified
it. Suggestion: The "Geography" and "Government" segments
of the CIA World Factbook page on Austria
include lists of international agreements and organizations in which Austria
participates. Invite students to research the purpose of each such listed
group, then have a seminar on one of the final "Key Questions" on the
third student page: "How will ... [Austria] balance its claim to sovereignty
against arguments for joining world organizations?" (Note: The same CIA
source contains brief explanations of each such organization in its "Appendixes.")
Whether you're looking for background detail or unfolding news on Austria,
the Web Site of the Austrian Press and
Information Service in Washington, DC, is the place to start. Europa,
the EU's official Site, will help you explore Austria within the context
of its partnership with 24 other EU members.
General surveys on
Austria are in short supply since its 1995 admission to the EU. But the
following materials some, available on-line should form
a good short shelf on our unit topic:
Note: Austria." U.S. Department of State.
The Austrians: A Thousand-Year Odyssey. London: Harper Collins.
1996. An excellent, highly readable work (but expensive!). Available for
1996. The magazine ran a series of interesting articles this year on the
occasion of Austria's millennium. See the October issue, especially.
Eric, et al. Austria: A Country Study. Washington, DC: Federal
Research Division, Library of Congress. 1994.