Why didn't Hitler advocate Austrian nationalist ideas?

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

Post by ljadw » 25 Jan 2018 20:56

Sid Guttridge wrote:Hi Lamarck,

If, as you say, "By 1938 the Anschluss was pretty much inevitable", why was it necessary that "....the actual vote for the union was rigged"?

It seems likely to me that Schuschnigg's cleverly worded proposed plebiscite might also have passed. After all, who could vote against the proposition, "Are you in favour of a free and German Austria, an independent and social Austria, a Christian and united Austria; for peace and employment and for equality for all who stand for their people and their nation?"

Who would want an unfree, dependent, anti-social, heathen, disunited, war-riven, unemployed, unequal Austria not prepared to stand for its people?

I would suggest that Hitler moved in militarily precisely because Anschluss wasn't pretty much inevitable if Schuschnigg's plebiscite had gone ahead,

Cheers,

Sid
The support for the Anschluss was overwhelming : even Karl Renner,leader of the SPÖ, supported the Anschluss . The only opponentw were the legitimists= the supporters of Otto von Habsburg .

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

Post by ljadw » 25 Jan 2018 21:01

The French planning was to enter Belgium IF /AFTER it was invaded by Germany.

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

Post by michael mills » 25 Jan 2018 23:05

Are you referring to the aborted Saar operation in September 1939?
No, I am referring to the French invasion of Germany through Alsace-Lorraine in August 1914, which turned into a disaster.

As I wrote, the French pre-war planning up until 1912 included a pre-emptive strike through Belgium, which might well not have been resisted by the pro-French Belgian Government. However, that plan was vetoed by the British Government, which foresaw that a French violation of Belgian neutrality, even if only technical, would make it morally more difficult for Britain to fulfil its promise to join France against Germany in the event of war breaking out between those two countries.

As a result of British pressure, in February 1912 the new President Poincare ordered Joffre to change his plans so that French and British troops would only enter Belgium after a German boot had touched Belgian soil. The strike though Belgium was replaced by an immediate offensive into Alsace-Lorraine, which was planned to be executed regardless of whether or not German troops had entered Belgium.

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

Post by ljadw » 26 Jan 2018 08:37

michael mills wrote:
Are you referring to the aborted Saar operation in September 1939?
No, I am referring to the French invasion of Germany through Alsace-Lorraine in August 1914, which turned into a disaster.

As I wrote, the French pre-war planning up until 1912 included a pre-emptive strike through Belgium, which might well not have been resisted by the pro-French Belgian Government. However, that plan was vetoed by the British Government, which foresaw that a French violation of Belgian neutrality, even if only technical, would make it morally more difficult for Britain to fulfil its promise to join France against Germany in the event of war breaking out between those two countries.

As a result of British pressure, in February 1912 the new President Poincare ordered Joffre to change his plans so that French and British troops would only enter Belgium after a German boot had touched Belgian soil. The strike though Belgium was replaced by an immediate offensive into Alsace-Lorraine, which was planned to be executed regardless of whether or not German troops had entered Belgium.
I like to see a proof for the claim that before 1914 the Belgian government was pro-French .

And, there was no immediate invasion of the Alsace, this happened only AFTER the German invasio of Belgium ,Luxemburg and France .

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

Post by Sid Guttridge » 26 Jan 2018 12:49

Hi ljadw,

You propose, "The support for the Anschluss was overwhelming.....".

Assuming this is true, why did the Nazis rig the plebiscite vote?

Cheers,

Sid.

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

Post by ljadw » 26 Jan 2018 15:25

Very simple : they wanted 99,9 % yes and the only way to do have it is to rig the elections :with fair elections they would have 85 % .

Fair elections were also a danger : they imply that all parties would have the right to participate in the campaign, and that they should not be forbidden . But Austria was a dictatorship : there was only one party(the Vaterländische Front),all other parties were forbidden and their chiefs were in camps . The nazis had not the intention to restore democracy ,after Schussnig did the preparatory job .

Why restore democracy before the referendum and abolish it after the referendum ?

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

Post by ljadw » 26 Jan 2018 15:27

michael mills wrote:
Are you referring to the aborted Saar operation in September 1939?
No, I am referring to the French invasion of Germany through Alsace-Lorraine in August 1914, which turned into a disaster.

As I wrote, the French pre-war planning up until 1912 included a pre-emptive strike through Belgium, which might well not have been resisted by the pro-French Belgian Government. However, that plan was vetoed by the British Government, which foresaw that a French violation of Belgian neutrality, even if only technical, would make it morally more difficult for Britain to fulfil its promise to join France against Germany in the event of war breaking out between those two countries.

As a result of British pressure, in February 1912 the new President Poincare ordered Joffre to change his plans so that French and British troops would only enter Belgium after a German boot had touched Belgian soil. The strike though Belgium was replaced by an immediate offensive into Alsace-Lorraine, which was planned to be executed regardless of whether or not German troops had entered Belgium.
Poincaré was not president in February 1912, only in 1913, and he had not the authority to give Joffre orders .

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

Post by Lamarck » 26 Jan 2018 19:52

Sid Guttridge wrote:Hi ljadw,

You propose, "The support for the Anschluss was overwhelming.....".

Assuming this is true, why did the Nazis rig the plebiscite vote?

Cheers,

Sid.
The idea that because the Nazis rigged the plebiscite vote that there wasn't an overwhelming amount of genuine support for an Anschluss is misleading. The reason the Nazis rigged the vote like someone has already mentioned is because they always wanted to appear like they had a majority behind them for whatever idea. Look at the way they passed The Enabling Act, Hitler merging Chancellor and Führer together, etc.

Many politicians who disagreed with the Nazis on virtually everything else and were left-wing actually agreed with the idea of an Anschluss. Social Democratic Leader Otto Bauer stated that the dilemma was "the conflict between our Austrian and German character." (Bukey, p. 6) Until 1933 none of the Austrian parties were against the idea of an Anschluss. (Zeman, p. 123) The majority of Austrians advocated a "Greater Germany". (Low, pp. 1, 67, 83) There can be no doubt that the majority of Austrians welcomed the annexation in 1938, irrespective of how much the Nazis rigged the plebiscite vote. Simply put, the Nazis accomplished what Bismarck had failed to do in 1871. (Stackelberg, p. 170)

Sources:

Bukey, Evan Burr (2002). Hitler's Austria: Popular Sentiment in the Nazi Era, 1938-1945
Low, Alfred D. (1974). The Anschluss Movement, 1918–1919: And the Paris Peace Conference
Stackelberg, Roderick (1999). Hitler's Germany: Origins, Interpretations, Legacies
Zeman, Zbynek (1973). Nazi Propaganda

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

Post by Sid Guttridge » 29 Jan 2018 17:42

Hi Lamarcque,

Equally misleading as the "The idea that because the Nazis rigged the plebiscite vote that there wasn't an overwhelming amount of genuine support for an Anschluss" is the idea that the Nazi plebiscite necessarily reflected popular will.

After all, Hitler had occupied Austria to prevent Schussnigg's plebiscite, which was quite likely to have resulted in a vote that would not have resulted in Anschluss.

As I wrote above:

"After all, who could vote against the proposition, "Are you in favour of a free and German Austria, an independent and social Austria, a Christian and united Austria; for peace and employment and for equality for all who stand for their people and their nation?"

Who would want an unfree, dependent, anti-social, heathen, disunited, war-riven, unemployed, unequal Austria not prepared to stand for its people?
"

Plebiscite results often are a reflection of the terms in which the question is put.

I personally think that Anschluss was quite likely the will of a majority of Austrians (though this was never freely tested), but the idea that such support was "overwhelming" is very much open to question.

Cheers,

Sid.

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

Post by Lamarck » 30 Jan 2018 16:19

Sid Guttridge wrote:Hi Lamarcque,

Equally misleading as the "The idea that because the Nazis rigged the plebiscite vote that there wasn't an overwhelming amount of genuine support for an Anschluss" is the idea that the Nazi plebiscite necessarily reflected popular will.
I disagree. The Nazis never even won a majority in any open election but the Nazi Party was still by far the most popular party in Germany prior to Hitler becoming Chancellor in 1933.
After all, Hitler had occupied Austria to prevent Schussnigg's plebiscite, which was quite likely to have resulted in a vote that would not have resulted in Anschluss.
As I wrote above:

"After all, who could vote against the proposition, "Are you in favour of a free and German Austria, an independent and social Austria, a Christian and united Austria; for peace and employment and for equality for all who stand for their people and their nation?"

Who would want an unfree, dependent, anti-social, heathen, disunited, war-riven, unemployed, unequal Austria not prepared to stand for its people?
"[
I think you're ignoring the fact that the majority of Austrians did not want Austria to remain as an independent state. The idea of Austria being part of Germany was an idea propagated by Austrians way before the Nazis were even heard of in Germany. The way Germany was unified into a nation-state caused the pan-German feeling in both Austria and Germany. Anti-semitism existed to a far greater extent in Austria prior to the Nazis rise to power in Germany, they just simply exploited the general feeling even further. During the Anschluss, Austrians were heard chanting negative things about the Jews. Many Austrians endorsed the idea of expelling the Jews and the Gypsies from German lands.

Many Austrians were more ferociously German nationalists than the Reich Germans, the ideology of Pan-Germanism was popular in Austria after it was excluded from Germany in 1866. Georg Ritter von Schönerer and Karl Lueger had huge followings. The "Aryan paragraph" was first used in Austria. Also, you are using the term "Its people" as if the Austrian Germans and Reich Citizens were separate people. There was no separate Austrian identity like there is today. According to the majority of the Austrians during that time was that they were "Germans"; they considered themselves to be Germans and advocated a "Greater Germany" uniting all ethnic Germans. The general feeling at that time was that Austria would benefit economically from being annexed to the Reich and the "Germanness" of the Austrians would be enforced even further.
Plebiscite results often are a reflection of the terms in which the question is put.
Not always.
I personally think that Anschluss was quite likely the will of a majority of Austrians (though this was never freely tested), but the idea that such support was "overwhelming" is very much open to question.

Cheers,

Sid.
There is clear evidence that the Anschluss was wanted and was welcomed with open arms. The photos of the Anschluss are hardly Nazi propaganda depicting Jews as enemies but rather the general feeling of the Austrians in 1938. I've not read anywhere that there was any Austrian resistance.

Image

Image

Compare the Anschluss with the Occupation of Czechoslovakia. The former was a union between two German countries and the same people. The latter was a gradual occupation of non-German land which showed the rest of the world that Hitler was not only after ethnically German land.

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

Post by Sid Guttridge » 31 Jan 2018 13:52

Hi

In writing, "I think you're ignoring the fact that the majority of Austrians did not want Austria to remain as an independent state." you are asserting as a fact something that is actually in debate here.

It is only a plausible assertion that "the majority of Austrians did not want Austria to remain as an independent state.", not a fact.

Schussnigg's plebiscite ("Are you in favour of a free and German Austria, an independent and social Austria, a Christian and united Austria; for peace and employment and for equality for all who stand for their people and their nation?") would have tested this very premise and yet Hitler invaded Austria precisely to stop this proposition being put to the Austrian people.

You write, "The Nazis never even won a majority in any open election but the Nazi Party was still by far the most popular party in Germany prior to Hitler becoming Chancellor in 1933." Surely this only serves to reinforce my point, not detract from it? What might appear to be majority sentiment isn't necessarily so.

There is no doubt that the Anschluss was welcomed by large crowds, but this does not prove that anything like a majority of the population was in favour of Anschluss. It just shows that most of those present in the crowds were probably (though not necessarily) in favour. One can tell by the identical Swastika banners conveniently flying down the streets in the photos you put up that there was a degree of stage management in the whole exercise, and not just a matter of popular spontaneity. Similar scenes were staged in Prague a year later, but the sullen Czechs were definitely not in favour of Anschluss with the Reich.

The reason why there was no Austrian resistance in 1938 was that Schussnigg backed down when it was apparent that it was militarily futile. Austria had no allies, Mussolini's Italy had sold it out, it had a Versailles-type army that was only a fraction of the size of the Reichswehr, let alone the Wehrmacht. There were military deployments under way and the Government militia was armed, but Schussnigg, not the Nazis, prevented bloodshed.

There is little doubt that immediately after WWI there was a majority in favour of Anschluss with Germany, but the peace treaties prevented this. However, in the 1920s elected governments were often of a persuasion for which Anschluss was not a point of principle or a priority. In 1934 the Nazis attempted a coup in order to bring Anschluss about, but were quite easily suppressed. Even some politicians in favour of Anschluss in principle were not in favour of Anschluss with a Nazi Germany. Austrian public opinion, as expressed in election results, was changeable on the subject and It is not possible to assert with certainty where public opinion lay in 1938 if asked a neutral question on the subject.

The Nazis invaded precisely to cut out any possibility of matters not going their way.

Cheers,

Sid.

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

Post by ljadw » 31 Jan 2018 16:15

You can't use Schussnigg's plebiscite as an argument, because it was rigged:the Schussnigg regime was a dictatorship, not a democracy ,that only survived as an Italian puppet state.When there was a rapprochement between Italy and Germany in 1936, it was over for Schussnigg : Schussnigg organized the rigged plebiscite as a last attempt to prevent the Anschluss ,although there was an already de facto Anschluss since 1936 . The only who would vote yes were the running away members of the Patriotic Front : the few remaining rats were leaving the sinking ship (most had already left in 1936): no one wanted to fight or die for the survival of the Schussnigg regime, not even Schussnigg :he asked everyone not to fight against the WM and not to shed GERMAN blood: German blood, not Austrian blood : he also accepted the Anschluss .

Ausrian public opinion was NOT changeable on the subject : the Austrians wanted Anschluss already in 1918 ,when all parties in the Austrian parliament said that Austria was a part of Germany .Viktor Adler, Jew and leader of the Austrian socialists, supported the Anschluss in 1918 .

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

Post by Sid Guttridge » 01 Feb 2018 12:39

Hi ljadw,

Certainly the Schussnigg plebiscite was rigged, at least as far as the wording was concerned, to give the answer he wanted, but as to its proposed conduct we don't know because the Nazis prevented it occurring. It was also restricted to those older than 24, because Nazi membership was believed to be stronger amongst the young, which, in turn, implies that support for Anschluss may have been lower earlier amongst those reaching maturity under an independent Austria. [24 was the voting age before 1920. It was 20 in the interwar years].

On the other hand, we also know that the conduct of the Nazi plebiscite was rigged far beyond just its wording. There was no secrecy because it was for the most part conducted under the open gaze of Nazi officials, the "Yes" circle was large and placed centrally on the ballot paper whereas the "No" circle was small and offset to the lower right, etc., etc. Goering's brother Albert was scathing in his description of its conduct.

Certainly, as I have already posted, support for Anschluss was probably at its peak immediately after WWI, but the peace treaties unsurprisingly saw no good reason to reward Austria and Germany for their role in starting the war by making Germany bigger! Through the 1920s Anschluss was not a major political issue and the Nazi coup attempt of 1934 was easily put down without outside support, be it from Italy or anywhere else. And, if you are looking for candidates for "rats leaving the sinking ship", the many thousands of Austrian Nazis who fled to Yugoslavia and Germany after that particular debacle would seem to qualify as well!

As I have said repeatedly, I think it likely that Austrian sentiment was in favour of Anschluss in 1938. However, it is the blythe assertion that it was "overwhelming" and fixed that I find questionable.

Cheers,

Sid.

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

Post by ljadw » 01 Feb 2018 16:29

The support for the Anschluss (which is NOT the support for the Third Reich) was overwhelming in 1938,one of the reasons being the conviction of the Austrians that Austria could nor subsist as an independent state ,an other reason was the bad economic situation,which was much better in Germany , and there was the dormant but not disappeared longing for Gross Deutschland . People knew what was waiting for them : Gestapo and SS, but they did not care: in 1936 there was a fair referendum in Saarland, heavy socialist and catholic , and the result was very clear : people wanted the Anschluss with Germany .

It was the same in Austria :

the SPÖ leader Renner supported publicly the Anschluss,one of the reasons was that the socialists preferred Hitler to Schussnigg .

the same for cardinal Innitzer .

the same for Schussnigg : in 1936, he said that Austria was a German state, in 1938 he refused to fight for an independent Austria, although this was the only possibility to prevent the Anschluss : all Schussnigg needed was a lot of deaths and this would trigger the intervention of the West . But no one wanted to die for an independent Austria ,they all were burning their membership cards of the Heimwehre and were training their right arm .

there was no longer any support for the restoration of the Habsburg : twice the emperor Karl tried to return .... NOT to Austria, but to Hungary, and there also they did not want him .

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

Post by ljadw » 01 Feb 2018 22:18

1 million people welcomed Hitler in Vienna, most were not nazis, a lot were hostile to the nazis , but they came to welcome the man who had realized that what since a century the whole German nation was dreaming about : the unification .

On 8 may 1945 1 million people were saluting Winston, most were not conservatives, a lot hostile to the Tories, but they were saluting the man who had led Britain to victory .

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