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Coat of Arms: The coat of arms of the Republic of Austria is made up of a suspended, single-headed, black, red-tongued eagle with golden weapons; its chest is covered with a red shield crossed by a silver bar. On its head the eagle wears a golden masonry crown with three visible pinnacles. In its claws it holds a broken iron chain. In its right claw it holds a golden sickle with the edge turned inwards, in its left claw a golden hammer" (Article 8a of the Federal Constitutional Law BGBl. 350/1981).

The federal coat of arms dates back to the founding days of the Republic of Austria. After the collapse of the Danube monarchy the 20 members of the State Council, elected by the Provisional National Assembly, adopted Red-White-Red as the national colours on October 31, 1918 (first documented mention at the time of Duke Friedrich II the Bold (1230-1246)).

On May 8, 1919 the Constituent National Assembly agreed in the "Gesetz ueber das Staats-Wappen und das Staatssiegel der Republik Deutsch-Oesterreich" act on the adoption of the one-headed black eagle, whose chest was covered with a red-white-red striped shield and whose 3 other golden symbols represented the co-operation with the most important working classes of society: the hammer represented the workers, the sickle represented the farmers and the masonry crown on the eagle´s head represented the middle-class. These symbols are not connected with the Communist symbols of hammer and sickle.

At the time of the Corporate State 1934-1938 a black, double-headed eagle with nimbus and striped shield, but without the other 3 symbols, was used. The Austrian symbols of sovereignty were banned under the National-Socialist regime (1938-1945).

After the end of the war the coat of arms of the First Republic was re-introduced. In remembrance of the restoration of Austria´s independence and the reconstruction of the state a broken iron chain was added. On March 28, 1984 the Nationalrat passed the Federal Act on the Coat of Arms and other Symbols of Sovereignty of the Republic of Austria (Wappengesetz, BGBl. 159/1984); it defines the persons and authorities who may carry the federal coat of arms and the federal service flag on public occasions. The federal service flag corresponds to the red-white-red national flag except that it bears the federal coat of arms in its centre. The dimensions of the federal service flag are 2 : 3 (height : length). Depictions of the state symbols may be used by private persons, provided they do not pretend to have public authorisation. The misuse of state symbols and their defilement are punishable. Important businesses may be awarded the federal coat of arms by the Ministry of Economic Affairs for use in business transactions (§ 68 Gewerbeordnung 1994). Coat of Arms, Provincial.

The official coat of arms of the Austrian monarchy was created in 1836 and adapted for the last time in 1866. It consisted of a triple-crowned double-headed eagle with the Habsburg-Lorraine coat of arms (surrounded by the chain of the Order of the Golden Fleece) shielding its heart. Shields displaying the coats of arms of the crown lands were arranged around it. In its claws it held sword, sceptre and the imperial orb. In 1915 the two parts of the empire were given new coats of arms (in the Austrian one the coats of arms of the crown lands were included in the heart shield) and a common coat of arms. The medium common coat of arms consisted of the countries´ individual coats of arms with their crowns, one shield bearer each, a banner with a motto and the 3 highest orders on the Habsburg-Lorraine coat of arms shield.


F. Gall, Oe. Wappen-Kunde, 1992; G. Spann, Zur Geschichte von Flagge und Wappen der Republik Oesterreich, in: N. Leser and M. Wagner (eds.), Oe. politische Symbole, 1994; P. Diem, Die Symbole Oe., 1995.