Austria (Republic)

The First Austrian Republic was created after the signing of the Treaty of Saint-Germain-en-Laye on September 10, 1919. The Republic's constitution was enacted in October 1, 1920 and amended on December 7, 1929. The republican period was increasingly marked by violent strife between those with left-wing and right-wing views, leading to the July Revolt of 1927 and the Austrian Civil War of 1934.
Between 1938 and 1945 Austria was under Nazi Germany. As a result, Austria ceased to exist as an independent country. This annexation was enforced by military invasion but large parts of the Austrian population were in favor of the Nazi regime, and many Austrians participated in its crimes.
In April 1945, Austria was declared separate from Germany and set up a government which included socialists, conservatives and communists. A significant number of individuals were returning from exile or Nazi detention, having thus played no role in the Nazi government. This contributed to the Allies' treating Austria more as a liberated, rather than defeated, country and the government was recognized by the Allies later that year. The country was occupied by the Allies from May 9, 1945, and under the Allied Commission for Austria established by an agreement on July 4, 1945, it was divided into Zones occupied respectively by American, British, French and Soviet Army personnel, with Vienna being also divided similarly into four sectors, with an International Zone at its heart.
In 1955 Austria was proclaimed a neutral country, and everlasting neutrality was incorporated into the Constitution on October 26th of the same year. The Honour Badge for Merit of the Republic of Austria was instituted in 1922, however the title changed in 1934 to the Order of Merit of Austria. The Order was abolished in 1938, when Austria was annexed by Germany.

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