Anschluss

Discussions on every day life in the Weimar Republic, pre-anschluss Austria, Third Reich and the occupied territories. Hosted by Vikki.
DavidFrankenberg
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Re: Anschluss

Post by DavidFrankenberg » 22 Dec 2019 19:53

Sid Guttridge wrote:
21 Dec 2019 12:47
Hi Tigre,

If you follow your link through, you will find some of those photos are originally from Illustrierter Beobachter, the Nazi Party's weekly illustrated newspaper.

They will necessarily only show one side of the story. Even in Linz, which was the hometown of Hitler's youth, only 40% of the population are claimed to have turned out. In Vienna, which was much more left wing, it was about 17%. It is these 40% and 17% who are in the photos, not the 60% and 87% who stayed away. Photos of cheering minority crowds cannot be taken as evidence of where majority public opinion lay.

The Anschluss was a massive propaganda triumph for Germany. Reproducing Nazi-sourced photos (which, necessarily are almost the only ones available), without providing a critical explanatory text with them simply perpetuates Goebbels's propaganda work for him 75 years after his suicide.

Cheers,

Sid.
You have better photos ?

It is known that most of Austrians approved the Anschluss.

I dont see the interest of hiding this reality...

Sid Guttridge
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Re: Anschluss

Post by Sid Guttridge » 23 Dec 2019 15:12

Hi David,

You posted: "You have better photos?" The quality or number of photos is irrelevant. If they only show the minority of the population who turned out, then they cannot be taken as evidence of majority opinion. There were no Reich-sponsored, Nazi propaganda cameramen taking photos of the 60% of the population of Linz (the hometown of Hitler's youth) or the 83% of the population of Vienna (by far Austria's biggest city) who apparently did not turn out to greet Hitler.

To use an analogy, if the British press take photos of, say, Chelsea parading the F.A. Cup through the streets of London to adoring crowds, they may show mass enthusiasm by Chelsea supporters but they won't show all the more numerous supporters of the many other London teams, or those who simply have no interest in football at all. Chelsea supporters are not representative of London as a whole. They are a self-selecting group, just as the crowds who welcomed Hitler on the streets were self-selecting.

You post, "It is known that most of Austrians approved the Anschluss." Really? How? There were no independent public opinion polls, the Nazi plebiscite was patently rigged in the most unsubtle of manners and Schussnigg's own questionable referendum was never held. You are advancing an assumption, not a "known".

And, ask yourself this, if it was so "known that most of Austrians approved the Anschluss", why did Hitler need to so massively rig his plebiscite to produce an apparent 99% approval?

By the way, I posted my own opinion earlier, ".....my inclination is to think that a free and fair plebiscite would, at the time, have resulted in a preference for Anschluss." But this was probably not a fixed position. Immediately after Dolfuss's assassination by the Nazis in July 1934, there might well have been a different result. Similarly, after Austria lost three entire divisions at Stalingrad in January 1943 (proportionally twice as many as the Alt Reich) there might well also have been a different result.

You post, "I don't see the interest of hiding this reality...". Neither do I, but unfortunately the evidence isn't there to make it a cast iron reality. It is just a plausible probability of one specific moment in changeable times.

Cheers,

Sid.
Last edited by Sid Guttridge on 23 Dec 2019 15:35, edited 1 time in total.

Sid Guttridge
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Re: Anschluss

Post by Sid Guttridge » 23 Dec 2019 15:31

Hi Tigre,

You ask, ".....are saying that I support the Nazi ideology?" Absolutely not. You are one of the most valuable contributors on AHF because you post a large amount of original material here.

My point is that some things require a health warning, including Nazi propaganda photos of the Austrian Anschluss. The Anschluss was a central plank of Nazi propaganda, which seems to have gone largely unchallenged. For example, David Frankenberg seems to have swallowed the Nazi propaganda line in its entirety, without engaging his critical faculties. i.e. he does not seem to have asked himself what the other 83% of Vienna's population were doing while the Nazi propaganda photos were being taken.

The simple fact is that we have no hard information as to the real state of Austrian opinion and simply reproducing Nazi propaganda photos of the era without explanation not only doesn't help rectify this but actually distorts the historic reality by being purely one sided.

Yes, "propaganda works only if you believe in it", but one has to have the necessary tools and information in the first place before one can see through it.

You provided some interesting photos and I was trying to add some context to them.

In appreciation,

Sid

DavidFrankenberg
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Re: Anschluss

Post by DavidFrankenberg » 25 Dec 2019 00:45

Sid Guttridge wrote:
23 Dec 2019 15:12
Hi David,

You posted: "You have better photos?" The quality or number of photos is irrelevant. If they only show the minority of the population who turned out, then they cannot be taken as evidence of majority opinion. There were no Reich-sponsored, Nazi propaganda cameramen taking photos of the 60% of the population of Linz (the hometown of Hitler's youth) or the 83% of the population of Vienna (by far Austria's biggest city) who apparently did not turn out to greet Hitler.

To use an analogy, if the British press take photos of, say, Chelsea parading the F.A. Cup through the streets of London to adoring crowds, they may show mass enthusiasm by Chelsea supporters but they won't show all the more numerous supporters of the many other London teams, or those who simply have no interest in football at all. Chelsea supporters are not representative of London as a whole. They are a self-selecting group, just as the crowds who welcomed Hitler on the streets were self-selecting.

You post, "It is known that most of Austrians approved the Anschluss." Really? How? There were no independent public opinion polls, the Nazi plebiscite was patently rigged in the most unsubtle of manners and Schussnigg's own questionable referendum was never held. You are advancing an assumption, not a "known".

And, ask yourself this, if it was so "known that most of Austrians approved the Anschluss", why did Hitler need to so massively rig his plebiscite to produce an apparent 99% approval?

By the way, I posted my own opinion earlier, ".....my inclination is to think that a free and fair plebiscite would, at the time, have resulted in a preference for Anschluss." But this was probably not a fixed position. Immediately after Dolfuss's assassination by the Nazis in July 1934, there might well have been a different result. Similarly, after Austria lost three entire divisions at Stalingrad in January 1943 (proportionally twice as many as the Alt Reich) there might well also have been a different result.

You post, "I don't see the interest of hiding this reality...". Neither do I, but unfortunately the evidence isn't there to make it a cast iron reality. It is just a plausible probability of one specific moment in changeable times.

Cheers,

Sid.
Come on... You know history :

Later plebiscites in Tyrol and Salzburg in 1921, where majorities of 98,77%[5] and 99,11%[6] voted for a unification with Germany, showed that it was also backed by the population.

Although there were irregularities, LIFE in 1938 acknowledged that the results of the referendum and its German counterpart were "largely honest".[8] Some postwar accounts claim that the poll was rigged, but there is no evidence that this was necessary.[9]
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1938_Aust ... referendum

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tigre
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Re: Anschluss

Post by tigre » 25 Dec 2019 21:31

Hello Sid :D;
You provided some interesting photos and I was trying to add some context to them.
no problem at all with that :wink:. Cheers. Raúl M 8-).

Feliz Navidad - Feliz Natal - Frohe Weihnachten - Joyeux Noël - Merry Christmas - Wesołych Świąt!. :P

Sid Guttridge
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Re: Anschluss

Post by Sid Guttridge » 26 Dec 2019 10:09

Hi DavidFrankenberg,

I put the following up on AHF a couple of years ago regarding the regional plebiscites of 1921:

I think we have all been a little too trusting in accepting the provincial votes in Tyrol and Salzburg in 1921 as reliable. The following from pp.62-66, Austria at the Crossroads: The Anschluss and its Opponents by Jody Manning puts them in a rather different light:

On 24 April 1921, 97 per cent of the votes cast in an unofficial plebiscite in North Tyrol – a vote held against the wishes of the federal government – were in favour of union with Germany.206 A few weeks later Salzburg also went to the polls, again yielding a large majority in favour of a union with Germany.207 These results are often invoked as proof of overwhelming Anschluss sentiment, yet they are not quite the reliable indicators that they appear. The plebiscite in North Tyrol is a case in point. North Tyrol’s overriding concern was not Anschluss, but ending the Italian occupation of South Tyrol and restoring the unity of the province. For this reason, Tyrolean elites remained intentionally irresolute, willing to pursue any policy that would achieve this aim. Although they had provisionally ‘joined’ the Republic in November 1918, they vehemently asserted their autonomy vis-à-vis any decisions that could aversely affect this primary goal. Up until mid-1919, the policy of the dominant Tiroler Volkspartei, was not Anschluss with Germany, which would have put paid to any hope of reinstating Tyrolean unity, but the creation of an independent Tyrolean state. 208 Thus, when Vienna declared the Anschluss of Deutschösterreich with Germany in 1918, Tyrol, which had only provisionally joined the Republic, responded by threatening to withdraw from the state because of the question of German South Tyrol.209 Tyrolean elites unequivocally rejected the Anschluss policy of the central government, contemplating every conceivable alternative, including the possibility of an independent Tyrol linked in a loose union with Switzerland or Italy, or of a fusion of the ‘western provinces’.210 Some in the conservative camp supported the idea of a union between Tyrol and Bavaria, or even the creation of a south German state. Ultimately, and as Seipel correctly observed, in early 1919 at least, Vorarlberg and Tyrol would rather remain small, neutral states, or better still, unite with Switzerland, than be mutilated and join Germany.

In late 1919, with the Anschlussverbot confirmed, Tyrolean tactics were deliberately reversed. Now Anschluss with Germany – or rather Bavaria – appeared to the majority of the Tyrolean leadership to be their only hope of ever regaining South Tyrol and at the same time, escaping the prevailing economic misery. Yet, this still does not wholly explain the statistics. The voter returns appear conclusive, yet, as Bielka points out, the plebiscite was accompanied by severe electoral fraud and voter manipulation and an accurate percentage figure of voter eligibility is, therefore, impossible to attain. In addition to the massive propaganda campaign and not insignificant Reich German influence, ‘Ja’ ballot papers were pre-printed and provided at the polling stations and ballots were to be handed to an election official, undermining voter confidentiality. In addition, voter eligibility rules were liberally conceived and, therefore, open to abuse. Not only were those registered for the Nationalrat elections of October 1920 permitted to vote, but also those who registered themselves as living in Tyrol before April 1921, that is, less than a fortnight before going to the polls, as were all those Tyroleans who lived outside of the state; a train was even chartered from Bavaria to mitigate the financial burden of travelling ‘home’.

As Bielka concludes, the question of whether the overwhelming majority of Tyroleans wanted Anschluss cannot be definitively proven, and, considering the circumstances surrounding the plebiscite it appears ‘very doubtful’ that this was the case.215 The situation was similar in Salzburg province, where democratic principles were also liberally violated.216 Again, the majority of the ruling elite supported Anschluss, but the circumstances surrounding the ballot make it an unreliable indicator of public sentiment, let alone pan-German attitudes.217 What is more, Salzburg can in no way be considered paradigmatic for the rest of Austria. Salzburg, which had been independent until the early nineteenth century, had spent the shortest time under Habsburg rule; when it finally fell to Austria in 1816, part of the province, the Rupertiwinkel, had remained with Bavaria, which had ruled Salzburg during the Napoleonic years. Therefore, for Salzburg, union with Bavaria was an entirely logical step that might actually restore the provinces historic borders. Vorarlberg went to the polls on 11 May 1919, although here 80 per cent voted for union with Switzerland, towards which the province had always gravitated, both economically and culturally.218 The provincial movements do tell us that Germany – or rather, Bavaria – was the ‘obvious’ solution for some, but it was by no means the only one. They also tell us that Anschluss meant different things to different people, and that those who talked of Anschluss did not necessarily mean full political union.

Despite the initially compelling statistics, overall, it appears doubtful that a qualified majority of Austrians would have supported Anschluss with Germany.221 From the sparse evidence available, it appears that the pro-Anschluss movement could only hope for a slim majority in the event of a plebiscite, and not the 75 per cent necessary, and that the number of Anschluss supporters in 1919 was not more than 50 per cent of the population.222 Even Otto Bauer, leader of the Social Democratic party had to admit that both the bourgeoisie and the peasantry wanted ‘an independent Austria fully capable of a national life of its own’.223 More telling is Bauer’s admission that, because of the strength of the conservative opposition to Anschluss and the real possibility that the majority would have voted against the Anschluss, the Socialists did not dare to hold a referendum in 1919.


So, there we have it:
1) The conduct of the plebiscites was flawed.
2) Tyrol was interested in any way of getting South Tirol back, not in Anschluss with Germany, per se.
3) Salzburg cannot be held as typical of wider Austrian opinion.
4) Vorarlberg apparently wanted Anschluss with Switzerland, not Germany.
5) It was touch and go whether there was any majority in favour of Anschluss with Germany in 1919.

So it rather looks as though the plebiscite votes of 1921 are unreliable and their results therefore cannot be called in aid of any proposition that Austria was in favour of Anschluss without severe provisos.

Cheers,

Sid.
Last edited by Sid Guttridge on 26 Dec 2019 11:09, edited 1 time in total.

Sid Guttridge
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Re: Anschluss

Post by Sid Guttridge » 26 Dec 2019 11:08

P.S. You post, "Although there were irregularities, LIFE in 1938 acknowledged that the results of the referendum and its German counterpart were "largely honest."

So, LIFE agreed there were irregularities. Too right! Every single ballot paper was biased in favour of "Yes" because the "Yes" was printed in a large circle in the middle of the paper, while the "No" was printed in a small circle on the lower right of the ballot paper. (https://www.researchgate.net/figure/Bal ... _326959395) This means that there was not a single untarnished vote cast during the Austrian Anschluss plebiscite - and this is before we investigate all the other irregularities! "Largely honest"? Hardly. The plebiscite was totally dishonest in its conduct.

However, while every single vote in the plebiscite was tainted by its irregularities, this does not necessarily mean it was wholly unreflective of Austrian public opinion at that particular moment.

You post, "Some postwar accounts claim that the poll was rigged". Only "Some"? There isn't any doubt at all that the plebiscite was rigged. You only have to look at the ballot paper to see that! (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1938_Aust ... chluss.jpg).

You post, ".....but there is no evidence that this was necessary.[9]". I would tend to agree that a free and fair Anschluss plebiscite might well have received majority public backing at that particular moment. However, one then has to ask oneself why the Nazis so blatantly rigged the poll if they were themselves so sure?

In my opinion the Nazis did not rig the Austrian Anschluss plebiscite because they feared they would not get a simple majority, but because they feared the wouldn't get a big enough majority. The patently fair Saar Plebiscite, conducted under international supervision by the League of Nations in 1935, had given a 91% majority in favour of reunion with Germany (https://www.alamy.com/referendum-in-the ... 37037.html). Any less than this in Austria would make it look as though the Nazi project was losing momentum. However, it was clear that in Austria 90% was almost certainly unrealisable in a free and fair poll, so the Nazis had to rig it in order to achieve the necessary higher result (which turned out to be 99.73%). They did the same in Sudetenland later in the year with similarly implausible results (98.68%). (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1938_Germ ... detech.jpg)

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Re: Anschluss

Post by ljadw » 26 Dec 2019 13:19

Why should it be clear that in Austria 90% was almost certainly unrealisable ? The opposition to the regime was in Saarland in 1935 as big as in Austria in 1938,and still the voters in Saarland gave the Anschluss 90 % .
The wish in Saarland for reunification with Germany was NOT limited to the Nazis. The wish in Austria for unification with Germany was also NOT limited to the Nazis .A lot of Austrians were killed in the 1866 war against Prussia, but this did not prevent the increase of the panGerman strength in Austria . A lot of Austrians did not like nazism but still wanted the Anschluss .
Besides, the Austrian voters knew that the Anschluss was a fact ,whatever would be the result of the referendum ,and voters always chose the winning side .

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Re: Anschluss

Post by DavidFrankenberg » 26 Dec 2019 14:04

Sid : "largely" means that the majority was valuable.

Sid Guttridge
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Re: Anschluss

Post by Sid Guttridge » 27 Dec 2019 12:48

Hi ljadw,

I would remind you that you, yourself posted, "At the last elections Schuschnigg's party got 35%, in a free referendum he would not have 15%....."

You also previously posted, "".....Hitler would have between 80 % and 90 % in a free referendum."

So, yes, even by your previous reckoning, it was clear that in Austria 90% was almost certainly unrealisable in a free and fair poll.

Cheers,

Sid.

ljadw
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Re: Anschluss

Post by ljadw » 27 Dec 2019 15:49

There is a difference between a free and a free and fair referendum .
Schuschnigg had 35 % in the last free elections, but there is a difference between elections and referendum , when De Gaulle organised a referendum in France,people who never would vote for the Gaullist party, still approved what De Gaulle asked in the referendum . . Besides, I said that he would not have 15 % ,what means that the pro Anschluss votes would be more than 85 % , possibly more than 90 % And if Hitler would have between 80 and 90 % in a free referendum,that means that 90 % was attainable . In a referendum organised by the Nazis, it would not be about Hitler, but about the Anschluss. And as the overwhelming majority of the Austrians were partisans of the Anschluss....The issue of a referendum organised by Schuschnigg would be : Schuschnigg or the Anschluss ,and even those who were hostile to Hitler would vote against Schuschnigg . Schuschnigg would always lose .
The referendum in the Saar was more free than that in Austria ( it was organised by the League ) and the catholic and socialist population of the Saar knew what would happen if the Saar returned t Germany : persecution of the curches and of the socialists, and,yet they voted overwhelmingly for the return to Germany .
It was the same in Austria : socialists and communists who were persecuted with the nazis by Schuschnigg,knew what could/would happen to them after the Anschluss, but still they voted for the Anschluss .
Since a century the Austrians were waiting for the Anschluss, the fact that it was Hitler ( an Austrian ) who now ruled Germany as a dictator would not have as result that the Austrians would refuse the Anschluss.
For most Austrians ,the choice was between a dictator who brought prosperity and a dictator who was responsible for poverty . If there was prosperity in Austria a lot of people would think twice, but as some in the US said in 1992 ( when old Bush was fired ) : it is the economy,you stupid ..

Sid Guttridge
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Re: Anschluss

Post by Sid Guttridge » 27 Dec 2019 19:49

Hi ljadw,

Yup, "There is a difference between a free and a free and fair referendum."

However, in both your quotes (".....in a free referendum he would not have 15%....." and ".....Hitler would have between 80 % and 90 % in a free referendum.") you yourself think it unlikely that the Anschluss would have attracted more than 90% support.

Yet, when I post, " ......it was clear that in Austria 90% was almost certainly unrealisable in a free and fair poll" you object.

Please make up your mind.

As you know, in writing ".....the overwhelming majority of the Austrians were partisans of the Anschluss" you are repeating an exaggerated claim that you consistently failed to provide any substantive evidence for in another thread that lasted 27 pages and endured for several months. (See. "Why didn't Hitler advocate Austrian nationalist ideas?") (viewtopic.php?f=44&t=231738&hilit=Why+d ... list+ideas).

The Saar referendum was substantially different from the Austrian plebiscite. The Saarland was a German province that had only been temporarily under League of Nations rule for fifteen years. It had no pretensions to independent statehood and was being asked whether it preferred to become French, remain under the League of Nations, or revert to Germany. By contrast, Austria was a long-standing independent state whose historic identity was under threat from Anschluss with Germany. 91% in favour of continuing to be part of Germany is entirely plausible in the Saarland. In Austria it is not. Indeed, according to Michael Mills, 8% of the Austrian electorate were barred by the Nazis from even taking part in the Anschluss plebiscite. If so, only a 92% maximum of popular support was even possible in theory!

Cheers,

Sid.

ljadw
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Re: Anschluss

Post by ljadw » 27 Dec 2019 22:15

Austria was not a long-standing independent state and it was not under threat from Anschluss . Austria as such existed only since 1867 9 The Ausgleich ),and it was still a country with a minority of German speaking inhabitants .After they lost the war with Prussia, the Austrians were still enthusiastic to fight with the same Prussia in 1914 . And, between 1867 and 1918, the wish for Anschluss came from the Austrians and not from Prussia .The loyalty to the Habsburg dynasty was disappearing after the Ausgleich,the Ausgleich resulted in de facto independence for Hungary and in an increasing nationalism of the Czechs. The result of this was an increasing not Austrian, but German nationalism of the Austrians .
Source : Austria forum : Parteien vor den Anschluss .
And about the 8 % : they were not barred from participating to the referendum because they were hostile to the Anschluss, but because they were Jewish . The Jewish Germans also were barred from the Anschluss referendum in 1938 .And, if the Jewish people also had been barred in 1935, you would have a bigger result than 91 % in Saarland .
Besides, it is not because they were hostile to the Anschluss in 1938,that the Jewish Austrians would have voted against the Anschluss .
All political parties (SPÖ ,Communists and ÖVP included ) were partisans of the Anschluss ( some SPÖ leaders who had fled abroad were still pro Anschluss during the war ) ,because after 1918 no one in Austria believed that an independent Austria was viable .They all thought that Austria could survive only as a part of Germany .

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Re: Anschluss

Post by Sid Guttridge » 28 Dec 2019 11:08

Hi ljadw,

I wonder why a source entitled "Parteien vor den Anschluss" would have material in favour of the Anschluss?

So, you want to disqualify the Jews from consideration like the Nazis did? Their opinions don't count? Just because the Nazis wanted to expunge the Jews from the historical record doesn't mean we should. It is an outrageous proposition.

In fact. less than half of the 8% disqualified from voting can have been Jewish, as Jews only amounted to about 3% of the country's population.

I repeat, because the Nazis apparently barred 8% of the electorate from voting, the absolute maximum of possible popular approval in a plebiscite amounted to 92%, which makes it highly unlikely that any proposition, not just Anschluss, could gain 90% support.

You post, "All political parties (SPÖ ,Communists and ÖVP included ) were partisans of the Anschluss." This is simply untrue. The Communists wanted Anschluss with everyone because they were internationalists, not specifically with Germany. Other parties that had had Anschluss in their programmes dropped it after the assassination of Dolfuss by the Nazis in 1934. (Reports of the numbers attending Dolfuss's funeral in Vienna in 1934 are also far larger than the numbers who reportedly turned out to greet Hitler in the city in 1938).

You post, ".....after 1918 no one in Austria believed that an independent Austria was viable. They all thought that Austria could survive only as a part of Germany." Yet during the 1920s it became apparent this was not true and it still isn't!

I know you want virtually every Austrian to have been in lock step behind Anschluss in 1938, but the evidence simply isn't there to support this. Schussnigg's flawed referendum on independence was never held because Nazis invaded to stop it taking place, the subsequent Nazi referendum was so corrupted that its results are unreliable and no other national opinion surveys exist. The best that can be said is that it is anecdotally plausible that a clear majority of Austrians would have voted for Anschluss in a free and fair plebiscite in March-April 1938.

However, the Nazis did not give them a free and fair plebiscite, so we will never know for sure.

Cheers,

Sid.

ljadw
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Re: Anschluss

Post by ljadw » 28 Dec 2019 13:23

For the SPÖ :
Karl Renner ,who while noone asked him,or forced him, asked the supporters of the SPÖ in 1938 to vote yes in the referendum .
Richard Bernasek, prominent SPÖ member and anti semite ,participated in the ''putsch'' of February 1934, was arrested, liberated by a nazi police officer, said in 1934 : Austria can not survive,and thus we want the Anschluss and as Germans to Germany .
He wanted also a joint party consisting of nazis, communists and socialists .
About the Jews and the other people that were barred from voting : they were not barred because they would/could vote no, but because they were Jewish,and opponents of the regime . If they had been able to vote, it is probable that a lot of them would have voted yes . In the false hope ( for the Jews ) not to be persecuted .Thus, it is wrong to say that the support for the Anschluss would have been limited to 92/90 % . The reality is that thousands of opponents of the new regime voted yes . For a lot of reasons, as opportunism ; voting yes and doing it publicly would benefit those who did it .

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