One time the core of power for the big Austro-Hungarian Empire, Austria was brought down to a small democracy fallowing its defeat in World War I. Following annexation by Nazi Germany in 1938 and subsequent occupation by the winning Allies in 1945, Austria's status remained unclear for a decade. A State Treaty signed in 1955 ended the occupation, recognized Austria's independence and forbade unification with Germany.
A constituent law that same year announced the country's "perpetual neutrality" as a condition for Soviet military withdrawal. Following the Soviet Union's collapse in 1991 and Austria's first appearance into the European Union in 1995, a few Austrians have known as into question this neutrality. A well-fixed, democratic country, Austria entered the Economic and Monetary Union in 1999.
Austria is a for the most part mountainous nation due to its positioning in the Alps. The middle Eastern Alps, Northern Limestone Alps and Southern Limestone Alps are all partly in Austria. Of the entire area of Austria, simply about a quarter can be regarded low lying and merely 32% of the nation is less than 500 metres (1,640 ft). The high mountainous Alps in the west of Austria flatten somewhat into low lands and plains in the east of the state.
Austria may be divided into 5 different areas. The biggest area are the Austrian Alps, which constitute 62% of Austria's total area. The Austrian foothills at the base of the Alps and the Carpathians account for around 12% of its area. The foothills in the East and areas circling the periphery of the Pannoni low country amount to about 12% of the total landmass.
The second bigger mount area (much lower than the Alps) is situated northerly. Known as the Austrian granite plateau, it is situated in the middle area of the Bohemian Mass and reports for 10% of Austria. The Austrian portion of the Viennese basin comprises the remaining 4%.
Even Austria is a small country, its history as a globe power and its cultural environment have yielded a broad contribution to art and science. It has been the professional birthplace of many famous composers such as Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, Joseph Haydn, Franz Schubert, Anton Bruckner, Johann Strauss, Sr., Johann Strauss, Jr. or Gustav Mahler as well as members of the second Viennese School such as as Arnold Schoenberg, Anton Webern or Alban Berg. Ludwig van Beethoven spent the bigger part of his live in Vienna.
Complementing its condition as a land of artists, Austria has forever been a nation of poets, writers and novelists. It was the home of novelists Arthur Schnitzler, Stefan Zweig, Thomas Bernhard or Robert Musil, of poets Georg Trakl, Franz Werfel, Franz Grillparzer, Rainer Maria Rilke or Adalbert Stifter and writer Karl Kraus.
Famed contemporary playwrights and novelists are Elfriede Jelinek and Peter Handke. Amidst Austrian artists and architects one can find painters Gustav Klimt, Oskar Kokoschka, Egon Schiele or Friedensreich Hundertwasser, photographer Inge Morath or architect Otto Wagner.
Austria was the cradle of numerous scientists admitting physicists Ludwig Boltzmann, Lise Meitner, Erwin Schrodinger, Ernst Mach, Wolfgang Pauli, Richard von Mises & Christian Doppler, philosophers Ludwig Wittgenstein & Karl Popper, biologists Gregor Mendel and Konrad Lorenz as well as mathematician Kurt Godel.
It was home to psychologists Sigmund Freud, Alfred Adler, Paul Watzlawick and Hans Asperger, psychiatrist Viktor Frankl, economists Joseph Schumpeter, Eugen von Bohm-Bawerk, Ludwig von Mises, & Friedrich Hayek (Austrian School) and Peter Drucker, & engineers such as Ferdinand Porsche and Siegfried Marcus.