times in the Catalogue the expression Anschluss is mentioned. These are
the historical fact behind the event.
In 1918 the 1st World War ended and the Austro-Hungarian empire under the Hapsburg emperor Franz Josef
rendering Austria a rather small country without much influence compared
to her former status. At
this point the majority of the German speaking population in Austria (approximately
one third) wanted to
unite with the German Republic but this was not allowed according
surrendering conditions dictated by the
Treaty of Versailles of 28th June 1919, which were signed by all the
implicated countries in a railroad dining car at the forest of CompŔigne
north-east of Paris.
The demands for a union between
Austria and Germany were emphasized when Hitler became German
Chancellor on 30th January 1933 - at what in Germany is called Machtergreifung
Hitlers (Hitlers seizure of power). He did in fact not in any way seize
the power that day. He was more or less smuggled into parliament through the
democratic back door in a totally undistinguished kind of horse trade. Only later did
he seize the power simply by annihilating all opposition - crowned by
the president, general Hindenburg's (natural) death on 2nd August 1934 - now
leaving Hitler in total command og the power.
Hitler - himself an Austrian - wanted this union more
than anybody and in 1938 he summoned the Austrian Chancellor Kurt von
Schusnigg to Berghof at Berchtesgaden demanding that he would give concessions for the Austrian Nazi
Party - f.ex. lifting the ban on the Nazi party, amnesty for all imprisoned
Nazis (following the attempted putsch on 27th July 1934) and that the
following three Nazis to be appointed to the Cabinet: Seyss-Inquart as
minister of interior (and thus head of the police), Glaise-Horstenau as
minister of war and Fischb÷k as minister of finance.
Schusnigg was disinclined to give these concessions but seeing which way things
were going with growing Nazi sympathies in his country - and Hitler's
ultimatum that he (Schusnigg) had three days to implement the demands - and
failing to do so, Germany would use military power, he resigned his post as Chancellor and was replaced by Arthur
Seyss-Inquart who as a crypto-Nazi (as Allan Bullock calls him) had
been leader of the National Opposition Party.