Born in St. Pölten (now the capital city of Lower Austria), he trained as a technical engineer but he is chiefly remembered today for being a good economist. He organized the first Austrian Trades Union Congress in 1938 and became Minister of Commerce in the same year.
After World War II, he was one of the co-founders of the Austrian People's Party (ÖVP) and the party chairman from 1951 to 1960. Raab was the third Federal Chancellor of Austria from 1953 to 1961. During that time he was able to get the agreement of the Soviet Union to sign the Staatsvertrag. In 1955 Austria and the four allied powers Great Britain, the Soviet Union, the United States and France signed the contract. This was the guarantee for Austria's independence and the union between the individual Bundesländer. Moreover, all the states of this confederation were obliged to remain strictly neutral.