Austria is like New Zealand- a small mountainous country at the edge of Western civilisation. Their citizens have a love/hate relationship with a neighbour they are often mistaken with (New Zealanders with Australians; Austrians with Germans and Australians too). Yet like New Zealanders, Austrians are people with big ambitions who find their country incapable of supporting their wider dreams.

We would not have had World War II if Austrian Chancellor Adolf Hitler had Liechtenstein as the only country it could bully. Margaret Thatcher would have been barren of ideas if Friedrich von Hayek was only published in German not that he was initially received with open arms anywhere except Chicago). Likewise Sigmund Freud wasn't appreciated in his homeland, and Marie Antoinette wasn't liked in her adopted princedom either. Nobody would see Terminator 2 if it had subtitles. And what would have happened to music if the Von Trapp family were betrayed by the nuns ?

Instead Austrians have given the world wooden pencils, Porsche automobiles, hypnosis, Metropolis, Israel, Popeye, genetics and the topless swimsuit, and these gifts were typically created outside Austria.

The shorter history and smaller population of the land of the long white cloud naturally has fewer contributors to human endevour, but like Austria their star performers got their break outside. Crowded House, Sam Neil and Russel Crowe (sometimes claimed, sometimes refuted) in Australia, Ernest Rutherford the father of modern nuclear physics at Cambridge, Mike Moore in Washington as director-general of the WTO, Nancy Wake in occupied France, and Sir Edmund Hillary on the roof of the world.

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