One history, two interpretations – this phrase can be heard repeatedly in discussions on the relationship between Austria and the Czech Republic. Indeed, into the twentieth century both countries were connected over long periods by a joint history, though it is seen and interpreted differently as a consequence of the emergence of modern, national societies. The goal of the 'Joint Austrian-Czech History Book' project is to outline the common and divided history of both countries and their societies with emphasis on the developments of the twentieth century. Special attention is given to the neuralgic topics and time periods, and the patterns of thinking, stereotypes and images of the enemy at work until today – as well as on the many connecting elements of both societies. Each individual subchapter was compiled and written by an Austrian-Czech team of authors. This special feature avoided the creation of juxtaposed parallel histories based on a nation-state perspective, and instead enabled reflection on how global, European and Central European developmental trends were mirrored in both states and societies. A total of twenty historians collaborated on the project.
Besides the 'Joint Austrian-Czech History Book', which will be published in both Czech and German, a brochure and educational materials are being prepared for use in schools. The project was funded by the Austrian Ministry of Education, Science and Research, the federal states of Lower Austria, Upper Austria and Vienna, as well as by the Future Fund of the Republic of Austria. Following publication in 2019, the book will be presented in the participating countries in the framework of a dissemination project.
Niklas Perzi, Hildegard Schmoller, Ota Konrád, Václav Šmidrkal
Nachbarn. Ein österreichisch-tschechisches Geschichtsbuch, 2019