This article deals with Austria during the first phase of détente from 1953 to 1958, a period in which the country was still formally under Four-Power control. The article recounts and analyzes the conclusion of the Austrian State Treaty (and Austria's accompanying declaration of neutrality) in 1955 and the positions taken by Austria during the crises in East Germany in 1953, Hungary in 1956, and Lebanon in 1958. Austria's neutrality was spurred not so much by the Cold War as by the East-West “thaw” after Stalin's death. Neutrality helped usher in a remarkably successful period of national self-assertion that facilitated Austria's efforts at nation building.

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