Wednesday, February 28, 2018

Did the Republic of Austria start as a communist state ?

The Russian Revolution in 1917 led to the rise of the Soviet Union. The First Austrian Republic was created in 1919. Was Austria a communist state ? A daring statement. Let us have a look at Austria's coat of arms illustrated on the following bond.

4% Austrian lottery bond of  200 Kronen, 1920  with detail of Austrian coat of arms
4% Austrian lottery bond of  200 Krone, 1920 

Now check the emblem of the Soviet Union. It is depicted on the following  government loan. Do you see the similarities ?

USSR internal loan of the second five-year plan, 25 Rouble, 1935 with soviet emblem
USSR internal loan of the second five-year plan, 25 Rouble, 1935
This rare bond was auctioned by HWPH on 15 Oct 2016
together with a similar looking certificate, for €4,000
courtesy HWPH 

That's right, the Austrian eagle holds in its claws a hammer and a sickle, the main attributes of the soviet shield. Austria introduced its new shield in 1919 when it became a republic. Before that, Austria's coat of arms looked different as you can see here.

200 Krone bond from the 8th Austrian War Loan, 1918 design by Alfred Offner in Vienna Secession style
200 Krone bond from the 8th Austrian War Loan, 1918
design by Alfred Offner in Vienna Secession style 

Till the end of World War I, Austria was part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, the Dual Monarchy. That's why we see a double-headed eagle on the previous bond.

After WWI Austria decided to change the looks of its eagle. Its sword and scepter was replaced with a sickle, its orb with a hammer. Up to the present, the Republic of Austria has been using that shield  on government bonds but also on banknotes and coins. 

Austrian Shilling banknote and coin with hammer and sickle eagle
above : 20 Shilling banknote, 1986, shield in upper left corner
below : 10 Shilling coin, 1974, by Awmcphee (Own work) [CC0], via Wikimedia Commons


The key question remains why Austria started using a hammer and a sickle in its shield ? Was it about communism ? I found the answer in a newsletter from CoinsWeekly/MünzenWoche which referred to THIS INTRIGUING VIDEO (5 min.) from the MoneyMuseum. Enjoy watching!

F.L.

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  5. Hello Everybody,
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    8. phone…………………..
    9. occupation………………
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    Managements
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