The Activities of Czechoslovak Intelligence Services in Austria in the Central European Context of 1948–1960
Project management: Barbara Stelzl-Marx
Duration: since March 2020
Sponsor: Austrian Science Fund (FWF)
In March 2020, the Austrian Science Fund FWF decided to fund an international three-year research project on “The Activities of Czechoslovak Intelligence Services in Austria in the Central European Context of 1948–1960. Networks – Operations – Effect” (FWF P-33220 G) under the leadership of Univ.-Prof. Dr. Barbara Stelzl-Marx. This research project is carried out at the Institute of History of the University of Graz in cooperation with the Ludwig Boltzmann Institute for Research on Consequences of War.
After the end of the Second World War, the newly formed Czechoslovak intelligence services already began their first activities in neighbouring Austria. Shortly after the communist takeover in February 1948, these activities increased sharply as Austria had become an important hub for operations against the “West”. In the first half of the 1950s, during the Allied occupation of Austria, many operations – often considered critical by the Soviet Union – were carried out by Czechoslovak networks and their collaborators. According to the US Counterintelligence Corps (CIC, military counterintelligence), the Czechoslovak intelligence services were among the “most active” Eastern Europe services, playing a crucial role in the emerging Cold War, especially on Austrian territory.
So far, however, Czechoslovak activities in Austria have hardly been researched in their entirety. This FWF-funded research project aims to systematically analyse the activities of the Czechoslovak intelligence service stations in Vienna and Salzburg along with their personnel in the first half of the Cold War and compare them to other important Czechoslovak service stations. Several central questions ask how these necessary secret networks were established, maintained and secured, which operational methods were used, and which goals were pursued. The results of the project will thus make an important contribution to Cold War Studies.
The project is led by Univ.-Prof. Dr. Barbara Stelzl-Marx, Chair of Contemporary European History at the University of Graz and Head of the Ludwig Boltzmann Institute for Research on Consequences of War. Mag. Dieter Bacher is responsible for coordinating the project and conducting research in British and US archives, while Mag. Philipp Lesiak is responsible for research in Czech, Slovak and Austrian archives.
Christiane BerthInstitut für Geschichte
Section of Contemporary History, Attemsgasse 8/II, 8010 Graz
Barbara Stelzl-MarxInstitut für Geschichte
Liebiggasse 9/I (L. B. Institut für Kriegsfolgenforschung)