After the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand in 1914, Emperor Franz Joseph declared war on Serbia, which ultimately escalated into World War I. The empire's defeat and subsequent collapse led to the proclamation of the Republic of German-Austria in 1918 and the First Austrian Republic in 1919. During the interwar period, anti-parliamentarian sentiments culminated in the formation of an Austrofascist dictatorship under Engelbert Dollfuss in 1934. A year before the outbreak of World War II, Austria was annexed into Nazi Germany by Adolf Hitler, and it became a sub-national division. After its liberation in 1945 and a decade of Allied occupation, the country regained its sovereignty and declared its perpetual neutrality in 1955.
Austria is a parliamentary representative democracy with a popularly elected president as head of state and a chancellor as head of government and chief executive. Major cities include Vienna, Graz, Linz, Salzburg, and Innsbruck. Austria is consistently listed as one of the richest countries in the world by GDP per capita and one of the countries with the highest standard of living; it was ranked 25th in the world for its Human Development Index in 2021.
Austria has been a member of the United Nations since 1955 and of the European Union since 1995. It hosts the OSCE and OPEC and is a founding member of the OECD and Interpol. It also signed the Schengen Agreement in 1995, and adopted the euro currency in 1999.
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