Austria, officially the Republic of Austria, is a federal republic in Central Europe.
World War II
During World War II, HYDRA seized control of many facilities following the occupation of the country by Nazi Germany. Johann Schmidt established one of his many weapons facilities under command of Colonel Lohmer.
General Werner Reinhardt was in command of at least two of these facilities, a fortress that served as his main headquarters, and the HYDRA Research Facility Number 4, that served as a warehouse for dozens of artifacts obtained by HYDRA by the time of World War II, many of them held in the boxes marked with the logo of the Deutsches Afrikakorps, including a blue extraterrestrial corpse and a Obelisk that was able to petrify anyone who held it.
Colonel Lohmer, officer in charge of one of the HYDRA Weapons Facilities built in Austria after its invasion by German forces, devised a strategy to reduce the potential number of mutinies among the prisoners of war captured and enslaved inside the factory, based on his beliefs that the Third Reich would win World War II because its members were unified, while the enemies of the Reich were of different nationalities and ethnicities, and that would cause conflict among them.
As such, Lohmer split the prisoners by nationality, locking up members of different factions and brigades within the Allied Forces, hoping that they would be too busy fighting each other to try to fight their jailors. For example, he put in the same cell a British member of the 3rd Independent Parachute Brigade, James Montgomery Falsworth, a member of the French Resistance, Jacques Dernier, a member of the 92nd Infantry Division, Gabe Jones, a member of the 69th Infantry Regiment, Dum Dum Dugan, and a member of the 107th Infantry Regiment, Bucky Barnes, many of them captured during a battle at Azzano. A joke made by Dugan while introducing themselves raised tension between the cellmates, and a brawl started, proving Lohmer's point.
Bucky Barnes, having contracted pneumonia on the battlefield, received a brutal beating for being unable to satisfy the quotas of production, letting munitions fall while moving a cart. Jones tended to Barnes when they returned to the cell, assuring that, given his sickness, contusions and broken ribs, if Lohmer made him work the following day, Barnes wouldn't survive. His cellmates, knowing that Liutenant Kleiber was a reasonable man, tried to think of a way to avoid Lohmer forcing Barnes into hard labor. Falsworth, being a strategy expert, devised a plan to get rid of Lohmer that required Dugan, Jones and Dernier to work as a team using their respective expertises.
The following day, Falsworth's plan was carried out, with Dugan, Jones and Falsworth smuggling components for Dernier so he could make a substance to melt the chain of a crane carrying scrap. Lohmer appeared, demanding to incorporate Barnes into labor, though Kleiber considered him too sick. Just as Lohmer was shouting that Barnes would die working if necessary, Kleiber ordered the crane to be activated. The melted chain broke, dropping the crane's load on Lohmer as he passed, crushing him.
The soldiers made every prisoner return to their cell. Dugan informed Barnes that Lohmer wouldn't cause any harm again, while their role in his death couldn't be proven and the punishment would just be reducing their food rations for a week. Barnes only response was, however, to ask Dugan to stop calling him "Jimmy", as his full name was James Buchanan Barnes and he preferred being called Bucky.
Steve Rogers, hearing about the events in Azzano and the imprisonment of the soldiers that battled HYDRA, decided to rescue the prisoners alone. Agent Peggy Carter of the Strategic Scientific Reserve supported his decision and offered to fly him from Italy to Austria in a plane piloted by Howard Stark.
Discussing the details of Rogers' extraction, the plane went under attack, so Rogers decided to jump off the plane, ordering them to abandon enemy airspace, as now he was a captain, and therefore able to give orders.
Arnim Zola was transferred from HYDRA Headquarters and put in charge of the weapons facility, with the Tesseract contained inside the factory to harness its energy to fuel production and power the weapons. Zola took Johann Schmidt on a tour of the production floor, with Zola being very pleased that they where ahead of schedule considering the large size of many of the parts. Schmidt was not all that impressed and order Zola to increase the output in this and the rest of facilities. When Zola informed him that the request was not possible given the condition of the prisoners, Schmidt casually replied for Zola to use what remaining strength they had left and that new workers were easy to come by.
Rogers successfully infiltrated the facility by boarding a truck, and made his way through the production floors to the prison, acquiring a Tesseract fuel cell along the way. Rogers freed the prisoners, asking for the whereabouts of his friend, Sergeant James "Bucky" Barnes, and told them to exit the facility and head to a nearby forest, battling HYDRA soldiers along the way, while Rogers went to look for Barnes.
The freed prisoners battled HYDRA forces, seizing many weapons and vehicles to clear their way out. Schmidt observed the ensuing chaos on the security monitors and activated an alarm signal in the whole facility, before realizing that Captain America had also infiltrated the base.
In order to avoid the facility being captured, Schmidt activated the self-destruct sequence to the shock of Arnim Zola, who rushed to his office, in order to save important documents, coming across Rogers but fleeing before being reached.
Rogers eventually found Barnes in a laboratory, where a map showing other HYDRA facilities was displayed. Rogers memorized the map and began searching for an exit with Barnes just before the self-destruct mechanisms started to explode. As the two tried to find a way out, they came across Schmidt and Zola. Schmidt taunted Rogers about their no longer human nature after being subjected to Abraham Erskine's Super Soldier Serum.
Rogers and Schmidt exchanged blows, but Zola pulled a nearby lever causing the walkway the two were standing on to separate. Before making their getaway, Schmidt revealed his true face to Rogers, the result of Erskine's imperfect serum, being the reason for his nickname, the Red Skull.
As the explosions continued, Rogers and Barnes made their way up the factory to a beam they needed to cross to get to safety. Barnes managed to get across before the beam broke. Without the beam, Rogers was left with no other option then to jump across in order to make it to safety. Despite the danger, Rogers successfully made the jump across the void through the erupting flames.
Werner Reinhardt's Experiments
In 1945, the HYDRA Fortress was under the command of HYDRA General Werner Reinhardt, who used it to conduct experiments on his prisoners. Among the various experiments performed by Reinhardt and his lead scientist was studying the petrifying effects of the Obelisk. To this end, the occupants of the Hunan village who found the Kree artifact were imprisoned here to be test subjects.
During one session, Reinhardt taunted one of the prisoners with the beauty of the artifact while the whole session was being recorded. Reinhardt asked how the prisoner and his group managed to find the Obelisk, to which he fearfully answere that they heard a legend regarding to it.
Reinhardt politely asked the prisoner to hold the Obelisk, hiding his true intention of witnessing how the Obelisk petrified his body. However, as soon as the prisoner grabbed the artifact, his body turned to stone. The lead HYDRA Scientist remarked the speed this particular body was petrified, and Reinhardt deduced that gender and race where no factors in how the Obelisk reacted, being unable to find any pattern.
Reinhardt ordered to bring the next subject, a young woman, and again politely asked her to grab the Obelisk. Unlike the former prisoner, the woman tried to resist, but was ultimately forced to touch the item with her face, as Reinhardt claimed that discovery required experimentation. The reaction was very different as, instead of turning her into stone, the Obelisk glew displaying a series of symbols.
Reinhardt and the rest of HYDRA members and guards were extremely surprised about the outcome, and Reinhardt ordered to prepare the woman for surgery in order to examine what made her different.
An officer quickly arrived at the room to inform Reinhardt about the fall of Red Skull and how the Allied forces were approaching their location. Reinhardt regretted the loss of a great mind, and ordered to imprison the Chinese woman, as he and his troops went to evacuate to another facility.
Capture of the HYDRA Research Facility
In 1945, the facility was under the command of HYDRA General Werner Reinhardt, who supervised the dismantling of the facility and the move of all the items held there in the final days of World War II. Reinhardt was specially concerned about the move of the Obelisk, reminding one of his officers about the care needed to move it and informing him of the death of their leader, Johann Schmidt, but that his vision would continue living, and HYDRA would continue to work for their goals. Reinhardt was presented with the Obelisk, admiring it once again, as he explained it was an advanced artifact that according to Schmidt, it may hold the answer to death itself, but was also responsible for the death of some of the petrified corpses that were in the facility.
As they were evacuating, the facility came under attack by the Strategic Scientific Reserve, with a team led by Peggy Carter, Dum Dum Dugan, and Jim Morita. The soldiers easily surrendered, though Carter had to threaten Reinhardt in order to make him put the Obelisk down, informing all of them that all the assets in the facility were taken under the protection of the Strategic Scientific Reserve to be relocated and indefinitely hidden.
Reinhardt, his lieutenant and all their soldiers were taken into custody, though Reinhardt menaced Carter with the HYDRA motto as Dugan was handcuffing him.
As the prisoners were taken out, the soldiers started to pack and mark every artifact held into the facility in order to move them to a secure facility. Carter personally took care that nobody, including Dugan, was able to witness the blue corpse, while explaining the need to get the items out of enemy territory as soon as possible, as Howard Stark planned to examine them that same night, and she warned Morita, who was about to put the Obelisk inside a box, to never touch it, marking the box with the reference 0-8-4.
Carter finally shared her thoughts that they had managed to beat HYDRA, as this facility was the last HYDRA site they knew of, but also commented that a peacetime permanent unit to supervise both the confiscated artifacts and people like Howard Stark that would investigate them, was necessary.
Return of Werner Reinhardt
In 1989, Werner Reinhardt was released from the Rat under orders of S.H.I.E.L.D. Undersecretary Alexander Pierce and escorted back to his fortress by Agent Hauer. Hauer explained that the fortress had been under S.H.I.E.L.D. protection since the end of World War II, as HYDRA had infiltrated S.H.I.E.L.D. from its very beginning.
Agent Rivera presented Reinhardt with the elders from the Chinese village that he studied during the war. Among the elders was the woman that managed to touch the Obelisk without being harmed, who was looking exactly the same as in 1945.
Reinhardt was extremely surprised to see her, and, wanting to learn how she managed to do it, Reinhardt ordered to prepare her for experimentation, as he felt it was time to know what made her special. For a week, Reinhardt vivisected the woman, acquiring her blood and organs, and then he ordered to transplant all of them into himself.
The operation transformed Reinhardt back to a younger age, and as soon as he recovered, he ordered Agent Hauer to dispose of the woman's remains.
Calvin Zabo, the woman's husband, was able to trace her location to Austria, finding the remains of his lover dumped in a ditch. He cried, and with his beloved wife's corpse in his arms, he swore to kill the man responsible for her death.
Avengers Civil War
Austria was one of the countries that, in 2016, signed the Sokovia Accords for the registration of superpowered individuals. The Accords were to be ratified at the Vienna International Centre in the capital city of Vienna.