• Short Summary

    Austria's President Franz Jonas, who had been his country's head of state since 1965, rose to emminence from humble beginnings.

  • Description

    Austria's President Franz Jonas, who had been his country's head of state since 1965, rose to emminence from humble beginnings.

    He was born in Vienna in 1899, one of eight children of working-class parents. He was sent to work as a type-setter in the printing industry before seeing active service in World War One.

    After the war, he set about improving his education at night classes in politics and economics. His first political appointment was as an officials of the Austrian printers' union and then of the Social Democrat Party. During the 1930's he endured a period of unemployment and political hardship and he remained in obscurity until after World War Two.

    In 1945, however, his rise to power began. He was elected a member of the council for a Vienna suburb and then, in 1948, became a city councillor in the administration of the capital. In 1951, he became Mayor of Vienna. His fourteen years in that office was marked by his outstanding contribution to the rebuilding of the city as a modern metropolis.

    In 1965, he allowed his name to go forward as a candidate in the election for President and he won against a right-wing opponent on a narrow majority. During his first six-year term, his popularity increased and in the elections of 1971, he retained his position with a resounding victory at the polls.

    Throughout his nine years as President, Franz Jonas was always careful to maintain Austria's strict political neutrality - an essential but never-easy line to follow -- and did much to help cultivate links between Austria and neighbouring Yugoslavia.

    The success of this neutral polity was recognised by the choice of Vienna as the meeting ground between East and West during the strategic arms limitation (SALT) talks involving the United States and Soviet Union.

    As President, Franz Jonas demonstrated gifts of hard work and painstaking attention to detail rather than those of oratory and charisma. Yet he was immensely popular among the Austrian people who were always proud to recall that their President had risen from the ranks purely on his merits.

  • Tags

  • Data

    Film ID:
    Media URN:
    Reuters - Source to be Verified
    Issue Date:
    HD Format:
    Available on request
    Time in/Out:

Comments (0)

We always welcome comments and more information about our films.
All posts are reactively checked. Libellous and abusive comments are forbidden.

Add your comment