Based on a questionnaire-assisted survey, this study aims to cast light on the relationship between authoritarianism as an individual disposition, support for democracy, political participation, new political authoritarianism, anomia and group specific misanthropy in Austria, the Czech Republic, Hungary and Poland. Of particular interest is the comparison that is made possible in this way between Austria, with its authoritarian and totalitarian past, and three post-Communist countries.
A key research question concerned the interrelation between memories of historical events (in particular of World War II and the Holocaust) and individual authoritarian disposition. It appears that, despite the different roles played by the societies in the four countries during World War II, there is a trend that is observable in all the countries under investigation: the suppression of collaboration and/or acceptance of war crimes and the Holocaust correlate positively with the rejection of minority rights. In Austria a comparable effect is noticeable with regard to the ban on political action.
Oliver Rathkolb, is Professor at the Institute for Contemporary History and Chair of the Department of Contemporary History at the University of Vienna. He is the managing editor of “Zeitgeschichte” (Contemporary History) and member of the advisory board of the House of European History (European Parliament, Brussels).
Günther Ogris, MA., is co-founder, managing partner and scientific director of SORA, one of Austria’s leading political research and consulting firms, as well as Chairman of the advisory board of the Sigmund Freud University.