appeasement, Austria, Austrian Empire, Austrian nationalism, Catholic Austria, Celtic identity, cultural nationalism, expansionary policies, failed Nazi coup in Austria, failed Russian coup in Ukraine, German “motherland”, Hallstatt Austria, Hallstatt culture, Hapsburg, Hitler territorial aggression, Hitler’s annexation of Austria, Holy Roman Empire, Lebensraum, National Socialists, Natural Resources, Nazi Germany, Poland, propaganda, Protestant Prussia, Prussia, Putin, Putin annexation Ukraine, Putin territorial aggression, Russia, Russian “motherland”, Russian Empire, Russian invasion Ukraine, sham referendum, terrorism, Ukraine, World War II
Putin’s friend, former German Chancellor Schroeder’s father fought and died for Nazi Germany. If Putin really hated the Nazis, he wouldn’t surround himself with so many ethnic Germans, including at least one child of Nazis. And, he wouldn’t have mastered the German language. He’s certainly mastered Hitler’s playbook, as can be seen below. Is Putin Russian? Or is he ethnic German-Prussian? The head of Nord Stream, Matthias Warnig, is a former East German Stasi agent and friend of Putin. His biggest apologists in the United States appear to be ethnic Germans, such as Rand and Ron Paul and Jeff Rense. Is Putin working on creating the new Prussian Reich or Russian Reich?
Hitler went to Austria to announce his Anschluss. Putin’s too much of a wuss and announced his Anschluss of more of Ukraine from Moscow.
The movie, “The Sound of Music” occurs in the run up to and shortly after Hitler’s Anschluss.
“According to the estimates of the Austrian government, with the voting age of 24, about 70% of Austrians would have voted to preserve the Austrian independence. After the Wehrmacht troops entered Austria to enforce the Anschluss, the Nazis held a controlled plebiscite (Volksabstimmung) in the whole Reich within the following month, asking the people to ratify the fait accompli, and claimed that 99.75% of the votes cast in Austria were in favor. In case of a fair plebiscite, the Anschluss would have been supported only by 20 % of the Austrian population”. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Austrian_nationalism
Hitler’s sham referendum on German annexation of Austria:
“Stimmzettel vom 10. April 1938. („Volksabstimmung und Großdeutscher Reichstag; Stimmzettel; Bist Du mit der am 13. März 1938 vollzogenen; Wiedervereinigung Österreichs mit dem Deutschen Reich; einverstanden und stimmst Du für die Liste unseres Führers; Adolf Hitler?; Ja; Nein”)”
“NAZI TERRITORIAL AGGRESSION: THE ANSCHLUSS
Throughout the 1930s, Nazi Germany pursued an aggressive foreign policy. This culminated in World War II, which began in Europe in September 1939. Prewar and wartime territorial expansion eventually brought millions of Jewish people under German control. On March 11–13, 1938, Nazi Germany annexed the neighboring country of Austria. This event is known as the Anschluss.
The Anschluss was the Nazi German regime’s first act of territorial aggression and expansion…
On March 11–13, 1938, Nazi Germany annexed the neighboring country of Austria (Österreich). This event is known as the Anschluss. “Anschluss” is a German word that means “connection” or “joining.”
By annexing Austria, the Nazis violated the Treaty of Versailles and the Treaty of Saint-Germain. These treaties expressly forbade the unification of Austria and Germany. The Anschluss demonstrated Nazi disdain for the post-World War I European order. It was the first act of territorial expansion committed by Nazi Germany.
The other European powers did not punish the Nazis for violating international treaties. Their acceptance of the Anschluss was a significant act of appeasement. It allowed Adolf Hitler to continue his expansionary policies unchecked.
The Anschluss transformed Austria. Almost overnight, the country of Austria ceased to exist. In the days, weeks, and months that followed, Austrian and German Nazis carried out the Nazification of all aspects of Austrian life….
Adolf Hitler’s Plans for Austria
Adolf Hitler and the Nazis wanted to redraw the map of post-World War I Europe. Hitler and the Nazis considered the postwar international borders unfair and illegitimate. They claimed that Germans had been denied the right of self-determination. Redrawing Europe’s borders would allow the Nazis to achieve two main goals:
unite all Germans in a Nazi German empire;
and acquire Lebensraum (“living space”) in eastern Europe.
The annexation of Austria would help the Nazis achieve the first goal.
Adolf Hitler expressed his desire for an Austro-German union in his earliest writings and speeches. The first point of the Nazi Party Platform (1920) read:
“We demand the union of all Germans in a Greater Germany (Großdeutschland) on the basis of the right of national self-determination.”
Hitler opened his autobiography and political treatise Mein Kampf with his vision for the future relationship between Austria and Germany. He wrote,
“…the reunification [of Germany and Austria] is a life task to be carried out by all means! German-Austria must be restored to the great German Motherland…People of the same blood should be in the same REICH.”
In January 1933, Adolf Hitler was appointed Chancellor of Germany. As chancellor, he fully intended to bring about an Austro-German union. However, Germany was not immediately militarily and diplomatically ready to carry out Hitler’s foreign policy goals. First, Hitler and other Nazi leaders focused on establishing a Nazi dictatorship. Behind the scenes, however, the Nazi leadership began planning territorial expansion and a European war almost as soon as they took power.
Beginning in May 1933, the Austrian Nazis waged a propaganda and terror campaign. The campaign was encouraged and funded by Germany. The Nazi goal was to undermine the Dollfuss regime by making it look incompetent. They staged disruptive protests and brawled with political opponents and the police. Austrian Nazis set off explosives and tear gas bombs in public places and Jewish-owned businesses.
The Germans claimed that the Austrian government was treating the Austrian Nazis unfairly. In late May 1933, the German government announced an economic sanction against Austria. This sanction was referred to as the “1,000 Mark Sperre.” It required Germans to pay a 1,000 Mark customs fee in order to travel to Austria. This crippled Austria’s tourism industry, which was highly dependent on Germans.
In the face of Nazi terrorism, the Austrian government worked to maintain its power and preserve Austrian sovereignty. In June 1933, in response to a fatal Nazi bombing, the Dollfuss regime banned the Austrian Nazi Party and its affiliates. The Nazi movement became illegal in Austria.
But the Austrian Nazis continued to operate illegally within the country. Many delighted in finding ways to subvert the ban. Additionally, thousands of Austrian Nazis fled across the border into Germany. There, they formed a paramilitary unit known as the Austrian Legion (Österreichische Legion). German Nazis provided the legion with military training. They became a threatening military presence just across the Austro-German border.
The Failed Nazi Coup in Austria, July 1934
On July 25, 1934, Austrian Nazis attempted to overthrow the Austrian government. Members of the Vienna SS took control of the Austrian chancellery, where the cabinet had been meeting. In the process, the conspirators shot and killed Chancellor Dollfuss. Other plotters seized control of the state radio station in Vienna and prematurely announced the coup. Outside Vienna, other Austrian Nazis also revolted against the government.
However, the majority of Austrians remained loyal to the government. The Austrian military and police forces quickly defeated the conspirators. The coup attempt failed…
It is now clear that Hitler ordered the coup, probably sometime in June 1934. Theodor Habicht, the Hitler-appointed leader of the Austrian Nazi movement, planned the putsch alongside Austrian Nazis.
When the coup failed, Hitler denied any involvement. The Nazi regime falsely claimed that this had been a rogue plan carried out by the Austrian Nazi movement. The fallout from the plot made it clear that the Nazis would have to wait to gain control of Austria. They were willing to take things more slowly in exchange for a successful outcome.
After Dollfuss’s death, Kurt von Schuschnigg took over as Austrian chancellor and dictator. He continued many of his predecessor’s authoritarian policies. The Austrian government arrested thousands of Austrian Nazis, including a number of the conspirators.
Austria’s Diplomatic Isolation
In the aftermath of the failed coup, Austro-German relations were a source of international concern….
By winter 1937–1938, Austria found itself diplomatically isolated and facing an increasingly aggressive Nazi Germany. The international community showed little interest in maintaining Austrian independence. By that point, both the French and the British had accepted an Austro-German union as inevitable….
On February 12, 1938, Austrian chancellor Schuschnigg traveled to meet with Hitler. Schuschnigg expected to discuss the tensions between Austria and Germany. But Hitler was ready to take full control of Austria. He made a series of demands that included the following:
Austria’s foreign and military policies were to be coordinated with Germany’s;
Austrian Nazi Arthur Seyss-Inquart was to be placed in charge of policing and security matters;
Austrian Nazis who had been imprisoned by the Austrian government were to be amnestied.
Hitler used the presence of several German generals to intimidate Schuschnigg.
Schuschnigg gave in and signed the agreement. Named after the town where it was signed, this agreement is known as the Berchtesgaden Agreement. It undermined Austrian sovereignty and independence.
A Final Attempt at Asserting Austrian Independence
On March 9, Austrian chancellor Schuschnigg attempted to assert Austrian independence one last time. He called a plebiscite (referendum). The plebiscite was scheduled for Sunday, March 13, 1938…
propaganda urging voters to support Austrian independence appeared everywhere. It was even painted on the streets and sidewalks. Schuschnigg hoped that the plebiscite would show the international community that Austrians wanted to remain independent. He predicted that the results would be 65% in favor of independence and 35% against.
Hitler was infuriated by the plebiscite and decided to take action.
Timeline: The Anschluss, March 11–13, 1938
The Anschluss took place over three days in March 1938. Even though the Nazi threat to Austria had been clear for years, people were still surprised and caught off guard.
Friday, March 11, 1938
On March 11, Hitler gave the Austrian government a series of ultimatums:
Chancellor Schuschnigg must call off the plebiscite;
Schuschnigg must resign as chancellor;
Austrian president Wilhelm Miklas must appoint Austrian Nazi Arthur Seyss-Inquart as the new Austrian chancellor.
If these demands were not met, the German military would invade Austria. Schuschnigg gave in. That evening, Austrian radio announced the cancellation of the upcoming plebiscite on Austrian independence.
Shortly thereafter, at 7:47 pm, Chancellor Schuschnigg gave a radio address that was broadcast throughout Austria. He announced his resignation in the face of German pressure. Schuschnigg instructed Austrians and the Austrian military not to resist German troops if they invaded. He was unwilling to fight a war or spill blood for Austrian independence.
Within minutes of Schuschnigg’s resignation, swastika armbands and flags appeared on the streets. Austrian Nazis now had license to attack their political opponents and Jews without fear of repercussions. They seized power in government buildings and dominated the streets with torchlight parades, chants, and salutes to Hitler.
Austrian Nazis took over the country without firing a single shot.
….Schuschnigg remained in Vienna, where he was placed under house arrest.
Saturday, March 12, 1938
Just after midnight on March 12, Austrian president Wilhelm Miklas reluctantly gave into the last of Hitler’s demands. He appointed Seyss-Inquart as chancellor of Austria. In turn, Seyss-Inquart announced a new cabinet filled with Austrian Nazis. This was a domestic change of power brought on by external pressure from Nazi Germany. But that was not enough for Hitler.
Despite the fact that the Austrians had given in to all of Hitler’s demands, German troops crossed the border early in the morning at around 5 am. They were not met with armed resistance, but with cheers and flowers. Austrians welcomed Hitler warmly as he traveled first to Linz and then on to Vienna.
Sunday, March 13, 1938
On March 13, Austrian Nazi Chancellor Seyss-Inquart signed the law called the “Reunification of Austria with Germany” (“Wiedervereinigung Österreichs mit dem Deutschen Reich”).
The word “reunification” was a misnomer. Austria had never been a part of the German Empire. This law, sometimes called the Anschluss law, formally incorporated Austria into Nazi Germany. It gave the Anschluss the air of legality.
Austria was no longer an independent country. It was now a province (Land) of Nazi Germany. The Nazis wanted to get rid of any traces of a separate Austrian identity. In Nazi Germany, Austria was initially referred to by a new name: the Ostmark. In the German language, Austria was (and is) called Österreich, meaning “eastern empire.” By changing the name, the Nazis demoted Austria from empire to province. Subsequent administrative reorganizations resulted in more name and border changes. In 1942, the Nazi regime officially referred to the area as the Alpine and Danubian Districts (Alpen- und Donau-Reichsgaue).
The law also mandated a new plebiscite on the issue of Austrian unification with Nazi Germany. This new plebiscite was scheduled for April 10.
Nazi Propaganda and the Anschluss
The Nazis celebrated the Anschluss as the fulfillment of the German people’s destiny. They glorified it in speeches and propaganda events.
Most famously, on March 15, Hitler spoke to a huge crowd in Vienna’s Heldenplatz, a large square in the center of Vienna. In his speech, he celebrated Nazi Germany’s annexation of Austria. Film footage and photographs of the crowds appeared in German newsreels and newspapers. Their goal was to demonstrate Austrian enthusiasm for the Anschluss and thus justify the illegal takeover of another country. When Hitler returned home to Berlin, he was greeted as a hero.
The April 10 plebiscite was another propaganda opportunity…
The Anschluss was the Nazi regime’s first act of territorial aggression and expansion. It was a watershed moment in Nazi Germany’s foreign policy. The international community did not intervene to try and stop the Anschluss. Nor did they punish Nazi Germany for violating international treaties. Thus, the Anschluss is one of the earliest and most significant examples of the international community’s appeasement of Adolf Hitler’s aggressive foreign policy.
The German annexation of Austria marked a significant breach of the post-World War I international order. Just six months later, Nazi Germany manufactured a crisis in the Sudetenland, a region of Czechoslovakia. In September 1938, world leaders from Italy, France, and Great Britain met with Hitler in Munich to discuss the issue. They appeased Hitler by ceding the region to Nazi Germany. They did so on the condition that the rest of Czechoslovakia remained off limits.
In March 1939, Nazi Germany broke this agreement and occupied the Czech lands, including Prague. And, in September 1939, Nazi Germany invaded Poland, an act of territorial aggression and expansion that started World War II…” Excerpted from: United States Holocaust Memorial Museum. “Nazi Territorial Aggression: The Anschluss.” Holocaust Encyclopedia. https://encyclopedia.ushmm.org/content/en/article/nazi-territorial-aggression-the-anschluss
(Austrian German: Österreichischer Nationalismus) is the nationalism that asserts that Austrians are a nation and promotes the cultural unity of Austrians. Austrian nationalism originally developed as a cultural nationalism that emphasized a Catholic religious identity. This in turn led to its opposition to unification with Protestant-majority Prussia, something that was perceived as a potential threat to the Catholic core of Austrian national identity.
Austrian nationalism first arose during the Napoleonic Wars, with Joseph von Hormayr as a prominent Austrian nationalist political leader at the time. In the 1930s the Fatherland Front government of Engelbert Dollfuss and Kurt Schuschnigg rejected current pan-German aspirations to join Austria with a Austrian nationalism first arose during the Napoleonic Wars, with Joseph von Hormayr as a prominent Austrian nationalist political leader at the time.
In the 1930s the Fatherland Front government of Engelbert Dollfuss and Kurt Schuschnigg rejected current pan-German aspirations to join Austria with a Protestant-dominated Germany, whilst not wholly rejecting a potential union and claiming that any unification of Austria with Germany would require a federal German state where Austria and Austrians were guaranteed privileged status recognizing an Austrian nation within a German Kulturnation. Following the events of World War II and Nazism, Austrians began to reject the German identity, and a broader Austrian identity replaced it. After the war, there were those who went as far as describing Austria as “Hitler’s first victim”.
In the post-World War II period proponents who recognize an Austrian nation have rejected a German identity of Austrians and have emphasized the non-German heritage among the Austrian population including Celtic, Illyrian, Roman, and Slavic.
Proponents who recognize Austrians as a nation claim that Austrians have Celtic heritage, as Austria is the location of the first characteristically Celtic culture (Halstatt culture) to exist. Contemporary Austrians express pride in having Celtic heritage and Austria possesses one of the largest collections of Celtic artifacts in Europe.
Austrian nationalism has been challenged internally. The main rival nationalism has been German nationalism. Another rival nationalism emerged after the defeat of Austria-Hungary in World War I, Bavarian nationalism which challenged the new Austrian Republic with proposals for Austria to join Bavaria. At this time the Bavarian government held particular interest in incorporating the regions of North Tyrol and Upper Austria into Bavaria. This was a serious issue in the aftermath of World War I with significant numbers of Austria’s North Tyrolese declaring their intention to have North Tyrol join Bavaria.
The Napoleonic Wars were the cause of the final dissolution of the Holy Roman Empire of the German nation, and ultimately the cause for the quest for a German nation state in 19th-century German nationalism.
German nationalism began to rise rapidly within the German Confederation, in 1866 the feud between the two most powerful German states Austria and Prussia finally came to a head in the German war in 1866. The Austrians favoured the Greater Germany unification but were not willing to give up any of the non-German-speaking land inside of the Austrian Empire and take second place to Prussia. The Prussians however wanted to unify Germany as Little Germany primarily by the Kingdom of Prussia, whilst excluding Austria. In the final battle of the German war (Battle of Königgrätz) the Prussians successfully defeated the Austrians and succeeded in creating the North German Confederation. In 1871, Germany was unified as a nation-state as the German Empire that was Prussian-led and without Austria.
Nevertheless, the integration of the Austrians remained a strong desire for many people of both Austria and Germany, especially among the liberals, the social democrats and also the Catholics who were a minority within the Protestant Germany. The idea of uniting all ethnic Germans into one state began to be challenged with the rise of Austrian nationalism within the Christian Social Party that identified Austrians on the basis of their predominantly Catholic religious identity as opposed to the predominantly Protestant religious identity of the Prussians. More than 90% of interbellum Austrians identified as Catholic.
Following the end of World War I in the rump state of German-Austria, many Austrians desired to be united with Germany. However, less than 50% of Austrians desired unification with Germany in the 1920s, and this sentiment further declined with the fall of the pan-Germanist Social Democrat government under Karl Renner.
With the rise of Engelbert Dollfuss to power in Austria in 1932 and the creation of the Fatherland’s Front, the Dolfuss government promoted Austrian nationalism and claimed that Catholic Austria would not accept joining a Protestant Germany or “heathen” Nazi-led Germany. Dollfuss accepted that Austrians were Germans but rejected the idea of Catholic Austrians submitting themselves to be taken over by a Protestant-dominated Germany, and instead claimed that Austria needed to revive itself and recognize the greatness of its history such as its Habsburg dynasty having been the leading part of the German Holy Roman Empire, and that when Austria restored itself, it would found a federal state of Germany that would recognize Germany as a Kulturnation, but would also recognize Austria as having a privileged place within such a federal state and the existence of an Austrian nation within the German Kulturnation.
The Dollfuss/Schnuschnigg government did not deny that Austrians were Germans but opposed annexation into Germany especially under the Nazi regime. According to the estimates of the Austrian government, with the voting age of 24, about 70% of Austrians would have voted to preserve the Austrian independence. After the Wehrmacht troops entered Austria to enforce the Anschluss, the Nazis held a controlled plebiscite (Volksabstimmung) in the whole Reich within the following month, asking the people to ratify the fait accompli, and claimed that 99.75% of the votes cast in Austria were in favor. In case of a fair plebiscite, the Anschluss would have been supported only by 20% of the Austrian population. The relationship between Austrian Catholicism, national identity, and fascism has been a source of controversy. After the fall of Nazi Germany and the events from this and World War II, Austrians began to develop a more distinct national identity. Unlike earlier in the 20th century, in 1987 only 6 percent of the Austrians identified themselves as “Germans”. In 2008, over 90 percent of the Austrians saw themselves as an independent nation.
1. Motyl 2001, pp. 31–32.
2. Spohn, Willfried (2005), “Austria: From Habsburg Empire to a Small Nation in Europe”, Entangled identities: nations and Europe, Ashgate, p. 61
3. Owen Connelly. The French revolution and Napoleonic era. Harcourt College Publishers, 1999. Pp. 254.
4. Discursive Construction of National Identity. P. 52.
5. Motyl 2001, p. 32.
6. Tschiggerl, Martin (2021). “Significant otherness nation-building and identity in postwar Austria” (https://doi.org/10.1111%2Fnana.12677). Nations and Nationalism. 27 (3): 782– 796. doi:10.1111/nana.12677 (https://doi.org/10.1111%2Fnana.12677). ISSN 1469-8129 (htt ps://www.worldcat.org/issn/1469-8129).
7. Beniston 2003.
8. Bruckmüller 1993, pp. 198–9.
9. Carl Waldman, Catherine Mason. Encyclopedia of European Peoples. Infobase Publishing, 2006. P. 42.
10. Kevin Duffy. Who Were the Celts? Barnes & Noble Publishing, 1996. P. 20.
11. Suda Lorena Bane, Ralph Haswell Lutz. Organization of American Relief in Europe, 1918-1919: Including Negotiations Leading Up to the Establishment of the Office of Director General of Relief at Paris by the Allied and Associated Powers. Stanford University Press, 1943. P. 119.
12. Macartney 1926, p. 112 (https://books.google.com/books?id=BME8AAAAIAAJ&pg=PA112).
13. Carsten 1986, p. 3.
14. “Austria-Hungary Prussia War 1866” (http://www.onwar.com/aced/data/sierra/sevenweeks18 66.htm). Onwar.com. 16 December 2000. Retrieved 2 August 2012.
15. Diamant 1957, p. 603.
16. Manning, Jody Abigail (2012). “Austria at the Crossroads: The Anschluss and its Opponents” (https://orca.cardiff.ac.uk/id/eprint/47641/1/2013manningjphd.pdf) (PDF). Cardiff University. pp. 62–75. Retrieved September 3, 2022.
17. Knaur, Peter (1951). The International Relations of Austria and the Anschluss 1931–1938. University of Wyoming. pp. 367–369.
18. Austria: A Country Study. (http://lcweb2.loc.gov/frd/cs/attoc.html#at0047) Select link on left for The Anschluss and World War II. Eric Solsten, ed. (Washington, D. C.: Federal Research Division of the Library of Congress, 1993).
19. Emil Müller-Sturmheim 99.7%: a plebiscite under Nazi rule Austrian Democratic Union London, England 1942
20. Knaur, Peter (1951). The International Relations of Austria and the Anschluss 1931–1938. University of Wyoming. p. 370.
21. von Halasz, Joachim (1938). Adolf Hitler from speeches 1933-1938. Terramare Office. p. 23.
22. Bijman 2009, pp. 7–8
23. “Österreicher fühlen sich heute als Nation” (http://derstandard.at/3261105), Der Standard, 12 March 2008
Beniston, Judith (2003). ” ‘Hitler’s First Victim’? — Memory and Representation in Post-War Austria: Introduction”. Austrian Studies. 11: 1–13. doi:10.1353/aus.2003.0018 (https://doi.org/ 10.1353%2Faus.2003.0018). JSTOR 27944673 (https://www.jstor.org/sta ble/27944673). S2CID 160319529 (https:// api.semanticscholar.org/CorpusID:160319 529).
Bijman, R. C. (2009). Clerical Fascism?: A Controversial Concept and its Use (http://ig itur-archive.library.uu.nl/student-theses/200 9-1015-200124/Thesis.pdf) (PDF). MA thesis. Utrecht: Utrecht University.
Bruckmüller, Ernst (1993). “The national identity of the Austrians”. In Mikuláš Teich and Roy Porter, eds., The National Question in Europe in Historical Context (pp. 196–227). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. ISBN 978-0-521-36441-6.
Carsten, F. L. (1986). The First Austrian Republic, 1918–1938: A Study Based on British and Austrian Documents. Aldershot: Gower. ISBN 978-0-566-05162-3.
Diamant, Alfred (1957). “Austrian Catholics and the First Republic, 1918–1934: A Study in Anti-Democratic Thought”. The Western Political Quarterly. 10 (3): 603– 633. doi:10.2307/443538 (https://doi.org/1 0.2307%2F443538). JSTOR 443538 (http s://www.jstor.org/stable/443538).
Macartney, C. A. (1926). The Social Revolution in Austria. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Motyl, Alexander J. (2001). Encyclopedia of Nationalism, Volume II. Academic Press. ISBN 0-12-227230-7.
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