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Defiant Populist

Jörg Haider and the Politics of Austria

by Lothar Höbelt

Publication Year: 2003

Whether or not Haider has followed the ideological path of his compatriot Adolf Hitler, says Austrian political historian Höbelt, he has certainly followed his route to publicity around the world. He explores the politics of modern Austria, and debunks the myth that Haider is driven by passion rather than self-interest.

Published by: Purdue University Press

Title Page, Copyright, Dedication

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Illustrations

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pp. xi-xii

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Preface: Debunking the Haider Myth

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pp. xiii-xv

"Theres no business like show business"-and politics is obviously part of it all. There is no more fitting proof of that thesis than the career of ]örg Haider. In terms of political power, Haider is governor of a scenic, but remote,...

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Foreword

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pp. xvii-xx

A great deal has been said and written about Jörg Haider, the charismatic but controversial leader of Austria's Freedom Party (FPO). Clearly the most sensational images have been drawn by the American media, which have portrayed him as a telegenic neo-Nazi. In the months after the FPO's triumph in the October 1999 elections, veteran anchorman Dan Rather solemnly advised the CBS Evening News ...

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1. AUSTRIA: ODD MAN OUT OR ISLAND OF THE BLESSED? (1945-1986)

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pp. 1-24

Austria is a small country-this much seems obvious. It isn't really so obvious, though, at least not to Austrians. For one thing Austria has not always been a small country The Casa d'Austria, the Habsburg dynasty, once ruled an empire' ;where the sun never set," as Charles V is supposed to have claimed five hundred years ago. ...

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2. A YOUNG MAN ON THE MOVE (1950-1986)

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pp. 25-52

If Steger's "change of base" was about to fail, a change of generations had certainly come about. Steger, Friedhelm Frischenschlager (his minister of defense), Rainer Pawkowicz (the coming man in Vienna), or MPs such as Norbert Gugerbauerand]brg Haider all belonged to a younger generation that had been born after the war. Gugerbauer and Haider ...

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3. THE HALCYON DAYS: LEADER OF THE OPPOSITION AND GOVERNOR OF CARINTHIA (1987-1990)

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pp. 53-70

The first few days after the 1986 election were to set the stage of Austrian politics for more than a dozen years. The Wende, the thoroughgoing change after fifteen years of Socialist leadership, had not quite come about. Mock admitted he could have fought either Haider or Vranitzky but not both at the same time. ...

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4. THE YEARS IN THE WILDERNESS, PART ONE: ROBIN HOOD AND THE BLUE-COLLAR VOTE (1991-1993)

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pp. 71-94

We live in an era of sound bites. Haider, as the leader of a small party in danger of being overlooked, has always kept that in mind. Generally, those rules of the media game have helped him-despite, or maybe even because of, the hostility of most journalists. But every now and then he has been guilty of seriously overshooting his target. ...

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5. THE YEARS IN THE WILDERNESS, PART II: EXILED FROM EUROPE? (1994-1996)

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pp. 95-116

In terms of party politics, Haider's attempt to roll up the government parties with his "Austria first" campaign had backfired. Or, rather, with hindsight, everybody's moves backfired. Just as the referendum closed, five of his MPs, led by Heide Schmidt, broke away ...

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6. THE NAZI QUESTION MARK: THE "LINGUISTIC TURN" AND THE "SHADOWS OF THE PAST"

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pp. 117-142

Europe is awash these days with post-something parties. Every Italian government is supported by either the post-Communist "Party of Democratic Socialists" (PDS) or the post-(neo-)fascist "Alleanza Nazionale" (AN). In the Eastern part of Europe, many parties, including the ones governing Hungary and Poland, are directly descended from movements that not just embraced totalitarian ideals but also ...

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7. THE FIRST AMERICAN-STYLE AUSTRIAN POLITICIAN: POPULISM VERSUS "SMOKE-FILLED ROOMS"

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pp. 143-164

Many of the reasons that Haider is regarded as such a strange animal have their roots in Austrian peculiarities. One such reason rests on the fact that Austria is the odd man out, yet the FPÖ is very normal, seen in a European context. That paradox concerns membership and organization. As mentioned earlier, the rate of "card carrying" memberships in political parties in Austria had no parallel on either side ...

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8. BALANCE OR BREAKTHROUGH? (1997-1999)

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pp. 165-186

For five years, from 1986 to 1991, Jörg Haider had been an up and coming star on the Right. For a further five years, from 1991 to 1996, the star still shone brightly but seemed to have veered off course. It was still capable of winning tactical victories but seemed to have lost its strategic direction. Haider counted as a maverick populist rebel destined to get nowhere. ...

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9. DAL GHETTO AL PALAZZO (2000-2002)

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pp. 187-210

The dynamics of the events that followed the collapse of Austria's Great Coalition are still being hotly debated. Haider's election triumph had sparked a brief flurry of media excitement and mostly unfavorable comment abroad. Haider had tried to combat that impression by a blitz of press conferences in European capitals, which produced mixed results, at best. ...

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10. CONCLUSION: THE ALPINE REDOUBT OF EUROPEAN CONSERVATISM

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pp. 211-226

What is Jörg Haider? First and foremost a "star." If anything was still needed to propel him from stardom into superstardom, the reaction of Jacques Chirac and his cronies in 2000 certainly did the trick. Stars are known for their good looks and their media sex appeal, not for their sweet nature or the constancy of their affections. On the contrary, if they want to stay in the limelight, ...

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Postscript, September 2002: "Worse than a Crime . .. "

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pp. 227-230

At the last minute, our hero has chosen to provide a closing chapter to this book. His "second-rate temperament" has surfaced with a vengeance. In a puzzling series of maneuvers in late August and early September of 2002, he has borne out the gleeful prophecies of his enemies and self-destructed. ...

Appendix

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pp. 231-232

Notes

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pp. 233-264

Bibliography

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pp. 265-276

Index

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pp. 277-281


E-ISBN-13: 9781612490656
E-ISBN-10: 1612490654
Print-ISBN-13: 9781557532305
Print-ISBN-10: 1557532303

Page Count: 280
Publication Year: 2003

Series Title: Central European Studies
Series Editor Byline: Charles W. Ingrao, Gary B. Cohen, Franz Szabo

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Subject Headings

  • Fascism -- Austria.
  • Austria -- Politics and government -- 1945-.
  • Haider, Jörg.
  • Freiheitliche Partei Österreichs.
  • Austria -- Ethnic relations.
  • Conservatism -- Austria -- History.
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