Contemporary History is always part of a historical culture, part of a society’s mindset. This article reflects the rise, establishment and changes of this discipline in Austria in a “post-catastrophic” situation after 1945. It is shown what phases of politicisation and attempts of instrumentalisation there have been, how research topics have changed and what methodological turns can be identified. This article is structured as follows: 1. Contemporary History as “post-catastrophic” historical mindset; 2. The origins of Austrian contemporary history as “coalition historiography”; 3. Contemporary history as “political enlightment” program, 4. Contemporary history as historical social science; and 5. Postmodern parallelism: engagement and „historization", empathy and “visual turn”.