Why didn't Hitler advocate Austrian nationalist ideas?

Discussions on the propaganda, architecture and culture in the Third Reich.
Sid Guttridge
Member
Posts: 7296
Joined: 12 Jun 2008 11:19

Re: Why didn't Hitler advocate Austrian nationalist ideas?

Post by Sid Guttridge » 18 Jun 2018 10:15

Hi Lamarck,

You posted, "The conduction of the plebiscites were still less flawed than the proposed Schuschnigg's plebiscite which you have time and time again referred to as proof that 66% of Austrians in 1938 were in favour of an independent Austria".

Firstly, we will get nowhere if you simply invent things for me to have said. At no point have I said that. Apology accepted.

Estimates that Schussnigg's flawed plebiscite might have passed range from a 55% to a 75% majority of the electorate. (see above on this thread for details.) The fear that this might be the case was clearly the key factor in Hitler's invasion of Austria before this plebiscite could take place, even after Schussnigg had agreed to modify its conduct with von Horstenau in order to address some Nazi concerns. The doubtful state of Austrian public opinion was also clearly a factor in the Nazis massively rigging their own plebiscite a month later.

It is interesting that the 1921 plebiscites seem to have had some of the same flaws as Schussnigg's initial proposal for his own plebiscite 17 years later. One has to wonder if he was basing his own on them?

The simple fact is that none of the plebiscites held on Anschluss with Germany between 1921 and 1938 seem to have been free and fair. It therefore seems that none of us can be absolutely certain of the state of Austrian public opinion on the subject at any time.

For what it is worth, it seems likely to me that some sort of majority of Austrians probably favoured Anschluss with Germany for much of this period, with the exception of immediately after the Nazi coup attempt and murder of Dolfuss in 1934. However, how much support for Anschluss had really recovered by 1938 remains a debateable question because Schussnigg's flawed plebiscite never took place, the Nazi plebiscite was massively rigged and we have no other reliable measures of public opinion.

Cheers,

Sid.

User avatar
Lamarck
Member
Posts: 177
Joined: 25 Oct 2017 17:02
Location: UK

Re: Why didn't Hitler advocate Austrian nationalist ideas?

Post by Lamarck » 22 Jun 2018 03:33

According to Manning, the result would have been far less, she estimates at the most around 40%. I am curious how Erich Bielka in her book Wie viele Österreicher' comes to the conclusion that at the most only 40% of Austrians would have voted for the Anschluss in 1938 in a free and democratic plebiscite.

I will agree with Manning on two things, the actual enthusiasm for the Anschluss in 1938 defies any sort of rational explanation and the actual support for both the ideas of an independent Austria and the annexation of Austria to Germany remained in a constant flux between 1918 and 1938.
The outburst of enthusiasm for the new regime in March 1938 is interesting, in the light of the fact that, had Schuschnigg’s plebiscite taken place as planned, he would almost certainly have received a share of the vote adequate enough to pull – however temporarily – the rug on German designs on Austria. In his recollections of the Anschluss, George Clare recounts how:

On 10 March Vienna woke up in a fever of patriotic fervour. The painting columns of the Fatherland Front had been at work all night stencilling Schuschnigg’s portrait, huge ‘Yesses’ crutched crosses and slogans on walls and streets. …Aeroplanes showered leaflets over the city. …Demonstrators were marching through every district shouting their loyalty to Schuschnigg and to Austria. The whole city was a seething, teeming hotbed of patriotic emotion and activity.1324

Nonetheless, Clare was at pains to point out that ‘…all these outward similarities between the clerico-fascist Austrian and the Nazi German production ended the moment Schuschnigg began to speak’. There was, he adds, ‘no ranting, no shouting, there were no threats, no accusations, but in a clear, steady voice he delivered the greatest speech of his career, a passionate plea for Austria’.1325 Yet, literally hours after Schuschnigg finally buckled under the intense Nazi pressure and resigned, Heldenplatz was full to bursting with elated Austrians hoping to get a glimpse of their Führer and within a few weeks Austria has voted overwhelmingly for incorporation into the German Reich. Either Hofmannsthal was right when he suggested that the Austrians took ‘play-acting’ seriously or there is more to the Anschluss than meets the eye.
...
In a sense, the Anschluss defies rational explanation. It was, in essence, an explosion of pent-up sentiment, a collective hysteria. For more than a decade Austrians had lived internally in a state of latent civil war, and for five years they had lived in the shadow of Nazi violence. After years of economic hardship, political violence and uncertainty the tension had finally broken and, theoretically – although certainly not in practice – without a drop of blood split. Thus, the outpouring of emotion can only be understood in connection with the two decades that preceded it. It cannot be simply explained as an outpouring of latent Nazi sentiment or ‘brotherly love’. How the does one explain the fact that German troops were even greeted in the streets of Slovenian villages in Carinthia?1328 Such transitory exuberance cannot be used as evidence of genuine support for the Nazi regime, not least because what we do know is that within months this enthusiasm had collapsed. The most prescient assessment comes from a contemporary observer: ‘The obvious fact, however, that a small country like Austria is not in a position to resist indefinitely the pressure of such a country as Germany over a long period must lead to the surmise that the same crowds who have acclaimed Dr. Dollfuss might be ready to cry “Heil Hitler” with equal enthusiasm were Germany to be generally believed to be the winning horse.’
I have read the whole text and do find some of her conclusions as questionable but overall I find her conclusions to be well balanced. Again, well done on finding this informative find about the Anschluss.

The full text is available to read if you click the link below.

http://orca.cf.ac.uk/47641/1/2013manningjphd.pdf

ljadw
Member
Posts: 10208
Joined: 13 Jul 2009 17:50

Re: Why didn't Hitler advocate Austrian nationalist ideas?

Post by ljadw » 22 Jun 2018 14:29

The problem with Manning is that she ignores, or refuses to accept the obvious : it's the economy, you stupid . Germany was an economic success, every one had a job, Austria was an economic disaster:almost the half of the active population had no job and thus no future. And people are always willing to exchange their liberty for a job and security .

Sid Guttridge
Member
Posts: 7296
Joined: 12 Jun 2008 11:19

Re: Why didn't Hitler advocate Austrian nationalist ideas?

Post by Sid Guttridge » 23 Jun 2018 12:59

Hi ljadw,

I thought that Anschluss was more a broad matter of principle than dependent on mercenary interpretations of the relative positions of the Austrian and German economies at any one time, which were liable to vary. Germany's apparent economic success was illusory in the late 1930s, though doubtless it still influenced some Austrians in the plebiscite.

Cheers,

Sid.

ljadw
Member
Posts: 10208
Joined: 13 Jul 2009 17:50

Re: Why didn't Hitler advocate Austrian nationalist ideas?

Post by ljadw » 23 Jun 2018 14:54

Principle and economic considerations were interrelated ;the fact is that for most anti-nazis and mostAustrian nationalists and most Schuschnig supporters,there were few or no reasons left to vote no at the referendum, while there was one compelling reason to vote yes :600000 unemployed in Germany and 600000 unemployed in Austria : voting no meant countless years of economic disaster .
That the economis success of the Third Reich was illusory ( which is questionable ) is irrelevant : coiuntless delegations from abroad were visiting Germany to know how Hitler had solved the unemployed problem .In 1938 unemployment in Britain was still 10 %

User avatar
Lamarck
Member
Posts: 177
Joined: 25 Oct 2017 17:02
Location: UK

Re: Why didn't Hitler advocate Austrian nationalist ideas?

Post by Lamarck » 27 Jun 2018 20:32

Manning mentioned that Austrians were attracted to the idea of an Anschluss because of economic reasons at various times between 1918 and 1938.

Sid Guttridge
Member
Posts: 7296
Joined: 12 Jun 2008 11:19

Re: Why didn't Hitler advocate Austrian nationalist ideas?

Post by Sid Guttridge » 30 Jun 2018 11:30

Hi ljadw,

Germany's apparent economic success was illusory in many ways. For example, from the mid 1930s it offered to exchange raw materials from Latin America for German manufactured products, including arms. However, while Germany had acquired the raw materials in advance, the outbreak of war meant it never had to deliver most of the manufactured goods.

Then, of course, there is the matter of conscription for the Wehrmacht and RAD. This took two million off the unemployment rolls without actually giving them well paid or permanent employment.

And what about the Volkswagen? German workers saved millions of Reichsmarks towards buying one, only for most of the money to go into armaments. Civilian production of the VW began under the British after the war, not under Nazi rule before it.

Real wages for all those other Germans in genuine jobs showed no significant increase under Nazi rule.

When Germany embarked on WWII, the Nazis had hocked its future. They had almost backed themselves into a corner of having to undertake a materially productive war by 1942, before the advantages of early rearmament was lost to rearming competitors and they had to address the the obligations they had incurred.

This was the future the unwitting Austrians who supported Anschluss were signing up for.

Cheers,

Sid.

P.S. And what happened to the large gold reserve Austria possessed but the Alt Reich did not? Have a guess who saw the benefit of that?

ljadw
Member
Posts: 10208
Joined: 13 Jul 2009 17:50

Re: Why didn't Hitler advocate Austrian nationalist ideas?

Post by ljadw » 30 Jun 2018 18:26

All this is irrelevant ;there is also no proof that Germany's economic success was illusory : people over the whole world did see the successes of the regime ;the Austrians did see the same : one % of the Germans was unemployed and 10 % of the Austrians and 4% of the British . That was the reality :the Germans begged for workers, outside Germany one begged for work .People were not interested in how unemployment was solved in Germany, but in the fact that it was solved .

Sid Guttridge
Member
Posts: 7296
Joined: 12 Jun 2008 11:19

Re: Why didn't Hitler advocate Austrian nationalist ideas?

Post by Sid Guttridge » 30 Jun 2018 18:37

Hi ljadw,

You say, ".....people all over the world did see the success of the regime.....". No, they saw the apparent success.

For example, some 2 million German males of working age were under conscription in the Wehrmacht, or RAD. Thus your claimed 1% German unemployment was illusory and not directly comparable with your British "4%", where there was no conscription until the year before the war and no RAD at all.

Cheers,

Sid.

User avatar
Lamarck
Member
Posts: 177
Joined: 25 Oct 2017 17:02
Location: UK

Re: Why didn't Hitler advocate Austrian nationalist ideas?

Post by Lamarck » 30 Jun 2018 19:20

Nonetheless, some kind of union with Germany was an appealing solution for broad sections of the Austrian population. Why was it so alluring? On the one hand, self-determination was the touchstone of the period, and as such, the demand for Anschluss – as a symbol of equality – was part of a much wider trend. However, the key stimulus for most German-Austrians was economic, not nationalistic imperative. At heart, the plea for Anschluss was not an ideological one, but a ‘counsel of despair’, a reflection of Austria’s desperate economic situation and the fundamental lack of faith in an
economically independent Austrian state.225 After four years of war and a devastating peace settlement, Austria’s economy was in ruins. With whole branches of industry at a complete standstill and the country deficient in natural resources, it is hardly surprising that such a dire economic situation did little to promote the idea of Austrian independence.226
...
Thus, just weeks after the Machtergreifung, Nazi Germany employed its most devastating weapon, the economic boycott. It came in the form of a thousand-Mark exit visa for Germans travelling to Austria, by today’s standards a sum just short of €4,000.1103 The measure, introduced in May 1933, was a crippling blow to the Austrian economy, particularly in the western provinces, which were reliant upon German tourists.1104 As ‘the entire German propaganda was based upon the economic situation in Austria’, by strangling the Austrian economy, the Nazis sought to prove their own dictum: that ‘union with Germany was essential for the economic salvation of Austria’.1105
...
Austria’s fundamental problem during the period was surely not ideological ambiguity but underlying economic weakness exacerbated by
the Nazis, and the fact that no-one at the time believed that Austria was in a position to defend herself indefinitely against the Nazi threat without decisive outside help.

ljadw
Member
Posts: 10208
Joined: 13 Jul 2009 17:50

Re: Why didn't Hitler advocate Austrian nationalist ideas?

Post by ljadw » 01 Jul 2018 08:38

Sid Guttridge wrote:Hi ljadw,

You say, ".....people all over the world did see the success of the regime.....". No, they saw the apparent success.

For example, some 2 million German males of working age were under conscription in the Wehrmacht, or RAD. Thus your claimed 1% German unemployment was illusory and not directly comparable with your British "4%", where there was no conscription until the year before the war and no RAD at all.

Cheers,

Sid.
People did not care how full employment was obtained, they saw the results : full employment .Full employment was not an illusion : it was a fact .
The US had their equivalent of the RAD = the CCC , but this did not prevent unemployment to reach 10 million + in 1938 .
Did this mean that the New Deal Successes were illusory ?

ljadw
Member
Posts: 10208
Joined: 13 Jul 2009 17:50

Re: Why didn't Hitler advocate Austrian nationalist ideas?

Post by ljadw » 01 Jul 2018 09:05

The number of 2 million men in the WM/RAD is much too high : the number of people in the RAD ,where the conscription was 6 months , was 3 million between 1933/1940, thus an average of 400000 a year, but the strength of the prewar WM was never 1.6 million .

Sid Guttridge
Member
Posts: 7296
Joined: 12 Jun 2008 11:19

Re: Why didn't Hitler advocate Austrian nationalist ideas?

Post by Sid Guttridge » 01 Jul 2018 10:41

Hi ljadw,

You are probably right. About 1,500,000 would be more accurate.

But then we haven't discussed how women were encouraged to give up work in favour of unemployed men and get married. Apparently over a third of a million had already done so by the end of 1934!

Furthermore, in order to ensure women were no cempetitors for men in work, their access to university education was very restricted. In 1933 there were some 18,000 women students. By the end of the decade this was down to about 5,000. Women were also restricted from practicing professionally.

Yup, Nazi Germany's unemployment "miracle" involved a lot of smoke and mirrors!

Cheers,

Sid.

ljadw
Member
Posts: 10208
Joined: 13 Jul 2009 17:50

Re: Why didn't Hitler advocate Austrian nationalist ideas?

Post by ljadw » 01 Jul 2018 18:52

You are falling for the old myth that the situation of women in Germany was worse than in Britain/US,...while it was the opposite .During the depression, the standard practice was, in all countries, that there could be only one job per family,and ,as men had priority, the women were the last to be hired and the first to be fired .Only single women could ask for a job .While this was initially the same in Germany, it changed very quickly, notwithstanding the nazi rhetoric.the industry asked for people who were qualified to exercise certain jobs, and, these were mostly women .
That the number of women at the universities was going down,does not prove anything, as most of them were at the university only to meet a suitable husband and never would exercise their profession .
Very soon the nazis were withdrawing their anti-women measures: the first female veterinarian in Austria obtained her degree in 1939 :AFTER the Anschluss .
There were in terms of percentage ,more women working in Germany than in Britain and the US ,where the unions were bastions of man superiority.

Sid Guttridge
Member
Posts: 7296
Joined: 12 Jun 2008 11:19

Re: Why didn't Hitler advocate Austrian nationalist ideas?

Post by Sid Guttridge » 02 Jul 2018 13:41

Hi ljadw,

Nope, I made no comment on the relative situation of women in Germany to elsewhere.

My point was that it was Nazi policy to remove women from the workplace and into the home and a third of a million did so within less than two years of the Nazis coming to power. If it continued at a similar rate in later years, the number of job placements released for men could easily have topped a million.

This inevitably had an impact on male unemployment statistics, but not by creating new jobs - just by shifting women out of existing ones.

This is another example (along with the introduction of male conscription for the Wehrmacht and RAD service) of how Nazi Germany's apparent employment "miracle" would appear to have been rather less than it might seem.

Cheers,

Sid.

Return to “Propaganda, Culture & Architecture”