Arnold Schwarzenegger has been given a history lesson from high-ranking politicians and historians in his native Austria, who accuse him of distorting his homeland's past to boost his image.

The action man-turned-California Governor thrilled party delegates at the Republican National Convention (RNC) in New York last week (ends03SEP04) with a rousing speech about his personal rags-to-riches history.

He told the RNC, "As a kid, I saw the socialist country that Austria became after the Soviets left," but historians insist the country was governed by conservative leaders up until he left in 1968.

Graz, Austria, history scholar MARTIN POLASCHEK says, "(He) confuses a free country with a socialist one. He did not speak as a historian, but as a politician."

Another historian, STEFAN KARNIER, has also blasted Schwarzenegger for comments he made at the RNC about seeing Soviet tanks in the street when he was a child.

Karnier says, "He could not have seen a Soviet tank in Styria."

Arnie's spokeswoman MARGITA THOMPSON says, "Never in there (the speech) did the Governor reference that the tanks were where he grew up. It was a reference to visiting Soviet-occupied Austria."

06/09/2004 02:16