Is there any desire for German-Austrian union these days?

I tried searching for any info on this, but it always directs me to 1938.

During the 19th century as Germany was being unified, it would have made sense to include Austria. It was a German speaking territory and historically had been part of the Holy Roman Empire.

I understand the reasons it ended up not becoming part of Germany in 1870. But the idea of a greater Germany never died and Hitler ended up accomplishing it in 1938.

So is there there any desire these days to unite Austria in a greater Germany or is the idea too associated with the Nazis? After German reunification in 1990, were there any clauses in the agreement prohibiting such a union?

I believe you would be working against the spectre of Naziism but also the history of the Austria-Hungary Empire. I think talking about Germany/Austria unification based on common language would be like discussing a Canada (except Quebec)/US unification because we both speak English.

Well, the Final Settlement Treaty just before unification included the clause:

There was, in fact, after the end of the first world war and the dissolution of Austria-Hungary, a fairly large movement within both Austria and Germany for unification. There was, in fact, so much of one, that the Treaty of Versailles had to include a provision explicitly forbidding it.

“Claims”, to me, would not include a mutual union. Maybe it is made more clear elsewhere or in the original language, but really, if they both wanted to join together, would other countries really try to stop them?

The last major change in the EU basically dismatled a lot of the internal boders about the same time as East and West Germany united. . One of the jokes going around at the time was that “The good news is that Europe is uniting to form one large country. the bad news is - it’s called Germany”.

The thing is, prior to 1918, Austria was not a compact German-speaking nation. It was an archduchy including speakers of German, Slovenian, Croatian, Ladin, Italian, Friulian, Czech, Polish, and prior to 1867 Magyar and Romanian as well. There was at that point little or no German “nationalism”, except for a minority of “pan-Germans” who wanted to see German-speaking areas united – what was to be done with Franz Josef’s non-German-speaking domains was not specified.

That. I really don’t think there’s anyone who’s wishing for a unified Germany/Austria, and especially not considering our political past. I’m Austrian, by the way.

There’s also the fact that articles 3 and 4 of the Österreichischer Staatsvertrag (Austrian State Treaty) from 1955 explicitely prohibit any such unification as the Anschluss was back in WW2.

What would union achieve that’s not already been achieved by economic union (the EU) and a common currency?

They’d probably get back on top of the Winter Olympics medal counts.

I cannot speak to Austrian public opinion, but in Germany German/Austrian union is a nonissue (i.e. nobody* even bothers to oppose the idea).

Two main reasons:

  1. What made the idea of Austria being part of a German state attractive to a lot of non-Prussian Germans e.g. during the 1848 revolution was that it would be a counterweight to Prussia. The post-1871 German empire and the Weimar Republic were dominated by Prussia (Map of Prussia as part of the Weimar Republic). To that extent the 1938 annexation can be seen as an anti-Prussian move.
    With the abolition of Prussia in 1945 this ceased to be an issue. In today’s Germany no single federal state has even near that sort of clout.

  2. For practical purposes of people and businesses, intra-EU borders have been become less relevant, so there is less reason to bother with the issue of their existence.

*non-issue and nobody only for practical purposes - of course every conceivable idea has some few people opining on it.

Which reminds me of the old (and now out-of-date) joke: “I love Germany so much I’m glad there are two of them.”

I’m going to go ahead and disagree with the reasoning. During the development of the Treaty of Versailles, there was serious discussion of breaking Germany up into its previous principalities a la the HRE. I suspect that the provision you refer to was a compromise between the Allies rather than a reaction to internal desire for unification.

How did Austria get around that when it joined the EU? Or is it assumed that the prohibition only applies to a union of Germany and Austria exclusively?

It’s always a matter of definition, of course. The main political reasons for the Anschlussverbot part of the Austrian State Treaty were to ensure Austria’s sovereignity and independence, and to keep Germany from growing more powerful through expansion again. So yes, one could argue that the idea of Austria joining the EU doesn’t violate any of these basic ideas.

Austria joined the EU rather late, in 1995. Previous suggestions to fully integrate the country into a unified Europe were always vetoed by other states - not only because it was felt that this would violate the State Treaty because of leading to an indirect re-union with Germany, but also because Austria had declared a status of “permanent” neutrality along with the State Treaty, which turned it into some sort of political buffer zone between the Soviet Union and the Western world. Joining the EU would have challenged that neutrality, which is why especially the Soviet Union strongly opposed the idea, until the fall of the Iron Curtain etc. brought on some rapid changes in Europe’s political landscape that eventually allowed Austria to become a member of the EU.

I see what you are saying. But it’s not quite the same. Canada/American union could have happened if history had made a different turn I suppose, but has it ever been something anyone really cared about? It’s never been the subject of any serious disagreement.

Whether there should be a nation called ‘Germany’ in central Europe and if so, what territory such a state should encompass has been the source of some rancor over the past 150 years.

Also, I knew people were gonna say that the EU made the topic irrelevant. But Europe has had other multinational empires that didn’t stand the test of time…

I don’t think any of the national borders in central and western europe will change ever again*, they just will mean less and less as the integration of the EU goes on.
Trying to move them always meant trouble, and we found a better way now…

*foreseeable future, etc

And of course there were other states consisting of several nations. But I’d say an empire is a little different from a democratic federation.

So, the War of 1812 - when the US tried to invade Canada while the Brits were busy fighting Napoleon - doesn’t count as serious? Nobody cared about it?

It will only happen if the Austrians and Germans get together to dominate the Winter Olympics. Then the USA and Canada form a merger to go back on top.