This thesis examines changes in Austrian culture in the time from 1955, when the Austrian State Treaty was signed, up to 1975. In contrast to the years from 1945 to 1955 when US-American GIs were posted in Salzburg, Upper Austria and the “American Zone” in Vienna, Austrians had relatively little direct contact with Americans in the years following the State Treaty. Nevertheless, the influence of American culture on Austria continued and had a transformative impact on most areas of Austrian culture. This process was both brought about by official, formal means (e.g. through exchange programs such as the Fulbright program) and through informal means (i.e. cultural transfer of music, film etc.). How these Soft Power influences helped transform Austrian culture is the driving question behind this thesis.
The impact of US-American culture is exceptionally pronounced within the younger segments of the Austrian population. Austrian youths were exceptionally eager to adopt and adapt American worldviews and ideas and eagerly consumed US culture such as films, music, and literature. This development was not always met with enthusiasm by both Austrian and US officials, but the few tenuous attempts to partly reverse the trend quickly showed that they would not be successful. American Soft Power resulted in a leading position of American cultural artifacts within Austrian culture. Artists, such as producers of music and film oriented themselves on new trends from the United States that were transported to Austria through radio, television, and cinemas. Universities and institutes of higher education profited from exchange programs and in some cases even modelled new departments on US examples. Gender discourse is another area that showcases this phenomenon, because US political discourse and activism (e.g. about abortion rights) was the inspiration for similar strategies in the Austrian context.
The different areas are also examined according to their suitability for a classroom setting within the Austrian school system. The paper gives study questions and explanations to make the more complex areas more easily accessible for secondary school learners.