Austria's entry into the European Union, the fall of the Iron Curtain, the Yugoslavia crisis: for more than a decade, Franz Vranitzky was at the centre of international and Austrian politics. The memoirs of an extraordinary personality.
Barely seven years have passed since Franz Vranitzky, Austria's former Chancellor, resigned from office, but so much has changed, in and out of politics, in the interim that it seems a generation ago. Unlike many politicians today, Vranitzky, with a Viennese working-class family background and a career in banking behind him, insisted on separating office and private life. He refused to be made the puppet of spin doctors, and this attitude also characterizes his memoirs. He does not seek to justify himself nor to gloss over mistakes. Instead he gives us an informative, self-critical report on what happened and why: the Waldheim crisis, Jörg Haider's ascent, the debate on nationalized industry, the Balkan wars, Austria's entry into the European Union and its chancellor's speech in Jerusalem. If Vranitzky was, after Bruno Kreisky, the last Austrian chancellor with an international reputation, this was also because he always commented unambigously on Austria's past. In hindsight – which is always a commentary on the present, too – it becomes clear that with Vranitzy an era, not only of Austrian history, has come to its end.
"Franz Vranitzky turned Austria into an extremely active and lively part of the new Europe." (Bill Clinton)