From a historical perspective Austrians are Germans for sure, that's also how I see them. Wien was capital of the Holy Roman Empire for a long time, and many of it's emperors were descendants from the House of Habsburg.
That Austria isn't part of Germany today is because of the unfavorable development only in the nearer history.
When the modern Germany was founded in 1871 Greater Germany couldn't be realized (with Greater Germany including the German speaking parts of Austria-Hungary).
After World War I, when Austria-Hungary was dissolved, the majority of the Austrians wanted to join Germany, but it was forbidden by the Treaty of St. Germain (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Treaty_...-en-Laye_(1919)).
Also the Anschluss in 1938 was welcomed by the great majority of Austrians.
After WW II there was the concept of creating a new "Austrian-non-German" identity, which until now seemed to be rather successful. But there are still quite a number of Austrians who see themselves as Germans, most notably many supporters of the FPÖ (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Freedom_Party_of_Austria).
Austrians are of a separate culture, although similar to Bavarians. The difference lies mainly in it's history. Austria's institutions are older (University of Vienna is the oldest in the German-speaking world), the people identify with the monarchy of the Habsburgs and the Austro-Hungarian Empire, the struggle with the Turks etc, rather than with Germany, or what was the union of German states under the Prussians.
The individual provinces of Austria also have a very independent spirit, as Austrians often identify first with the province they live in: Tiroler, Salzburger etc.
Austrians also tend to be more charming and fun-loving than the Germans. Austrians drink wine, Germans drink Beer. Austrians drink beer too but their rich and ancient wine tradition is one that separates them from the Germans.
Settlement in Austria:
Slavic settlement + bavarian immigration
Celtic and rhaeto-roman settlement + bavarinan immigration
Rhaeto-roman settlement + alamannic immigration
Names of illyric derivation
Names of celtic derivation
Names of roman derivation
Names of slavic derivation
Names of german derivation
Ring of the Avars
Austria is Germany's extention to the southeast in all respects. Thus we differ in some respects from the German mean, but that's just normal considering that Austria is a border region.
To me, there can be no doubt that Austrians are ethnic Bavarians -hence Germans. While nowadays most Austrians believe in a distinct Austrian Nation and Ethnicity. Amongst them also many FPÖ-voters, just to mention that. (Proving that one can vote the right party out of the wrong reasons)
Last edited by noricum; 02-16-2012 at 05:00 PM.
Y-DNA: R1a Z280, mt-DNA: H5, Eurogenes: AT3
I do think the long time of separation between Austria and Germany (and its states) allowed for a separate identity to from in Austria stemming from the Hapsburg monarchy interactions with Hungarians, Serbs, etc. and obviously the dominant Catholic religion. Of course the identity was reinforced after WW2. In my view what we are seeing is the steady process of a formation of a separate ethnic group. The reason there's so much controversy is if Austrians=Germans or not, is that they are still in the process of becoming a separate ethnic group, which takes naturally a rather long time. The fact that most Austrians consider themselves Austrian not German is a big step in this process, and I think given a long period of time, this controversy will die down.
Just look at how numerous other ethnic groups have been formed.
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