How did theambivalences of Austrian identity influence both Austrian nation building and thewriting of national history? How did the Habsburg legacy impact on the creation ofhistorical master narratives? These are the main questions this article aims to dealwith, in order to provide a new contribution to the very topical problem of the role ofhistory in nation building processes and its public use. The Austrian case is peculiarfor several reasons: various metamorphoses of the concept of Austria, the creation ofthe Austrian nation within a multinational setting, and the controversial relationshipto the imperial past of the country.
Keywords: Identity, nationalist theories, Habsburg empire, national history