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Bruno Kreisky

(b. 1911)


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(b. 22 Jan. 1911, d. 29 July 1990).

Chancellor of Austria 1970–83Born in Vienna into a wealthy Jewish family, he studied at Vienna and obtained a doctorate in jurisprudence. He was imprisoned twice (1935–7, 1938) for his political activities on behalf of the Social Democrats. After the Anschluss, he escaped to Sweden, where he became an official for the Austrian legation after the war (1946–51). After his return he worked in the President's Office (1951–3) and became Secretary of State in the Chancellery (1953–9), where he played an important part in negotiating the Austrian State Treaty which gave Austria full sovereignty. A strong advocate of neutrality, he was Foreign Secretary (1959–66). He became president of the Social Democratic Party, and in 1970 formed a minority government, though from 1971–83 he governed with an absolute majority. His understanding of neutrality did not preclude committed international involvement. His Jewish origins notwithstanding, he was very critical of Israel's policies towards the Palestinians, and became the first Western leader to recognize the PLO in 1980. He was immensely popular at home thanks to his charisma and his ambitious social policies. He used the country's neutrality to entertain good and unproblematic relations with Austria's Communist neighbours, and was deeply committed to the problems of the less developed countries in Africa and Asia.

Subjects: Contemporary History (Post 1945) — Politics.


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