After the end of the Second World War, the Austrian government had vainly made repeated attempts to negotiate an agreement with Russia, whereby Austria would be enabled to regain its independence as a democratic state according to the agreements which had been worked out earlier at Yalta. Things worsened in 1954 when Molotov, the then Soviet Foreign Minister, demanded that Austria declare itself willing to retain Russian troops in the country until the German question had been clarified. This meant, in effect, that the Russians would remain there on an indefinite basis.

Meanwhile, Father Peter, who realized that only prayer could achieve the liberation of his country, had founded a Rosary Crusade which by about 1950 numbered some 80,000 members. Their annual torchlight procession was held on the Feast of the Holy Name of Mary, September 17. This feast had been extended to the universal Church by Pope Innocent XI in 1683, after the siege of Vienna and the glorious victory of Sobieski over the Turks on September 12 of the same year.

In September 1950, for the first time their annual procession was led by the Federal Chancellor of Austria, praying the rosary, and at his suggestion the next year he was also joined by the Cardinal. In 1952 the statue of Our Lady, which Father Peter had brought from Fatima, was solemnly crowned, and from 1953 on wards the procession was led through the streets of the capital by the Foreign Minister as well as the Federal Chancellor - praying for peace and freedom for Austria.

In 1954 Father Peter wrote to the Federal Chancellor in the name of his Rosary Crusaders, whose numbers had now swollen to some 450,000 members, requesting the re-instatement of the Feast of the Immaculate Conception as a public holiday. For centuries this feast had been a public holiday in Austria, and in 1947 Cardinal Innitzer had solemnly renewed the vow to retain the feast. But just two years later the holiday was abolished, on the pretext that as Austria was in such a reduced economic state, the country could not afford an additional holiday. Father Peter was convinced that this was a betrayal of Austria's promise to Our Lady, and that she could not be asked to intercede until her feast was restored. 1954 was a particular appropriate year to request its re-instatement, as it had been declared a Marian Year by Pope Pius XII, and it was also the one hundredth anniversary of the dogmatic definition of the Immaculate Conception. "The current Marian Year", said Father Peter in his letter to the Chancellor, "offers a unique opportunity to erase Austria's blemish of this breach of faith....."

The petition was granted, and it can hardly be without significance that Father Peter's letter was written almost exactly one year before the completely unforeseen conclusion of the treaty with Russia.

One day early in 1955, Chancellor Raab telephoned Father Peter and asked him to get his members to pray as never before. Shortly after wards, a delegation from the Austrian government was invited to Moscow, and the formal negotiations began on April 13, 1955. It was on May 13, 1955, that the news was announced over the radio that the Russians were willing to withdraw and sign a peace treaty with the country. Has there ever been an occasion, before or since, when the Russians have voluntarily withdrawn their troops from an occupied country? (Note: This happened before the fall of the Berlin Wall, which was also miraculous!)

The treaty was signed in Castle Belvedere on may 15, 1955, and a traditional rosary procession was held on the Feast of the Holy Name of Mary at the Heldenplatz, in thanksgiving. it was attended by the Chancellor and Foreign Minister and numerous public personalities, and in his address Chancellor Raab declared openly that he believed their freedom had been won by the prayers of Father Peter and his Rosary Crusaders. "....To those Catholics who have joined this Crusade, I, as Federal Chancellor, wish to express my sincere thanks for the love, loyalty and spirit of sacrifice you have shown. I ask this immense number of Austria's faithful Catholics to remain true to their faith and unswerving in their prayers.....But for today we want to send up a joyful prayer to Heaven and end it with the words: "We are free! Mary, we thank you!"

Source: Fatima Revealed...and Discarded. (Bro. Michel De La Sainte Trinite.)