Tuesday, October 18, 2005

On the capitulation of Austria's Chancellor to Hitler

In early 1938, Austrian Nazis conspired for the second time in four years to seize the Austrian government by force and unite their nation with Nazi Germany. Austrian Chancellor Kurt von Schuschnigg, learning of the conspiracy, met with Nazi leader Adolf Hitler in the hopes of reasserting his country's independence, but was instead bullied into naming several top Austrian Nazis to his cabinet. On March 9, Schuschnigg called a national vote to resolve the question of Anschluss or ‘annexation,’ once and for all. Before the plebiscite could take place however, Schuschnigg gave in to pressure from Hitler and resigned on March 11. Here, a news announcer is heard reading his resignation address, which included a plea that Austrian forces not resist a German ‘advance’ into the country. The next day, March 12, German troops, accompanied by Hitler himself, entered Austria and were met by enthusiastic crowds. Hitler appointed a new Nazi government, and on March 13, the Anschluss was proclaimed. Austria existed as a federal state of Germany until 1945, when the Allied powers declared the Anschluss void and re-established an independent Austria.


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