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Appendix

Anschluss

 

Several times in the Catalogue the expression Anschluss is mentioned. These are the historical fact behind the event.

Emperor Franz Josef I

In 1918 the 1st World War ended and the Austro-Hungarian empire under the Hapsburg emperor Franz Josef I  collapsed 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. 

Adolf Hitler

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. 

Paul von Hindenburg, World War I hero and
German president 1925 - 1934

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.

 The Eagle's Nest,  Berghof  Hitler's 
resort at Berchtesgaden in Bavaria

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

Kurt von Schusnigg

Arthur Seyss-Inquart


On 13th March 1938, Seyss-Inquart - (by orders from the Fuehrer himself)  invited the German Army to occupy Austria proclaiming union with the Third Reich. 

Enthusiastic Austrian soldiers opening 
the frontier to welcome the German army
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Officially Austria changed its name to Ostmark (Eastern Field) lead by Seyss-Inquart and with the ministry of state entrusted to Ernst Kaltenbrunner, who during the war acted as head of Gestapo. 

Ernst Kaltenbrunner


All this meant that the rules of the Third Reich were now applied in Austria too - which meant that thousands were forced to flee their country. Jews, intellectuals, artists and many others fled - mostly to the USA but also some to England and other countries which were not occupied yet. 
           Literally the word Anschluss just means a connection - but in reality it was a poorly concealed annexation.

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