Courtesy Reuters

The Austrian Roots of Hitlerism

NAZI Germany is determined to incorporate little Austria into the Reich. Were it a democratic Germany, one could hardly advance a weighty argument against its efforts: union would be the clear fulfilment of the wish of two sister nations. But Hitler's Reich belongs to a Party which persecutes Jews and Roman Catholics; and although in Austria today there undoubtedly is oppression of those who hold views different from those of the government, the advent of Nazi rule would expose as many as a million persons to ruthless persecution merely because they are devout Roman Catholics or happen to be Jews, or because they are democrats, socialists or communists.

The direct Nazi assault on Austria in July 1934 failed. It had been arranged with too much revolutionary élan. Both in Germany and among the Nazis in Austria there was over-confidence and a failure to take account of realities. The plan was to capture Austria by fomenting a revolution from within, all of it so arranged that it should appear to the world as an outburst of domestic unrest. Money and propaganda flowed across the frontier under the direction of Dr. Josef Goebbels. Bomb outrages planned from Munich kept the population in constant terror. German agents, equipped with plenty of money, organized the Nazi storm troops. Groups of dissatisfied Austrian youths were spirited across the frontier and enlisted in the so-called "Austrian Legion," there to be trained by German military drill sergeants in readiness to hurry to the "aid" of the brethren at home whenever revolution should break out in Vienna or in the western provinces.

The failure of the Nazi putsch of July 25, 1934, did not end German hopes for the conquest of Austria. Habicht, the "Landes-Inspecteur" for the Austrian "Gau," who was the soul of the putsch, was allegedly thrown over. Hitler hurriedly sent ex-Chancellor von Papen as his Special Ambassador to Vienna. Von Papen spoke indignantly of "that individual" Habicht and diligently waved the olive branch. In reality, he was commissioned to

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