VIENNA (Jul. 8)
A prominent young historian has sharply criticized a recent study which claimed that Nazi ideology is on the wane in Austria.
According to Dr. Gerhard Botz, head of the Botzmann Institute for Historical Social Science in Salzburg, the findings are “paliative” and based on “outdated” material. He noted that according to the latest scientific investigations, it is not yet time, 40 years after the end of World War 11, to sit back and consider de-Nazification an accomplished fact.
The study, presented here last week, maintained that Nazi ideology as a set of values and political ideas, is virtually non-existent in Austria today, although Austrians admittedly still score high when polled on their attitudes toward specific characteristics of authoritarianism. The latter include anti-Semitism, xenophobia and anti-parliamentarianism. But the study insisted, these attitudes too are declining, although only gradually.
But Botz, one of the younger generation of historians, cited figures showing that significant numbers of Austrians hold views which were part of Nazi ideology. He noted that 40 percent of the population believes there are better and worse nations; 15 percent still contend that Austria needs more territory for “lebensraum”; and 21 percent would prefer political decisions to be made by a single, competent politican rather than the long, complicated democratic process.