Explain the lack of resistance to Nazi Germany in Austria after 1938

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Explain the lack of resistance to Nazi Germany in Austria after 1938 The resistance movement in Austria, whilst not non-existent was severely lacking for a number of key reasons. In order to fully understand this I will separate my essay, initially discussing the events before and leading up the Anschluss. Secondly, I will analyse the subsequent events following the Nazi occupation and nature of resistance during this period. Within this I will firstly examine the psyche of Austria herself in t

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  Explain the lack of resistance to Nazi Germany in Austriaafter 1938 The resistance movement in Austria, whilst not non-existent wasseverely lacking for a number of key reasons. In order to fullyunderstand this I will separate my essay, initially discussing theevents before and leading up the Anschluss. Secondly, I will analysethe subsequent events following the Nazi occupation and nature of resistance during this period. Within this I will firstly examine thepsyche of Austria herself in terms of the economic and ethnicdifficulties created by the Treaty of St Germain. Following this, theconnections with Germany through shared culture and sentimentssuch as anti-Semitism are key factors in the support for the Naziregime by Austrians. Similarly, the instability of the Austrianpolitical system and the pressure from the Nazi party before 1938led to an increase in support for National Socialism. Themanifestation of the Anschluss, the military pressure and therepression that followed severely limited the ability of Austrians tocreate real resistance. Whilst there was some resistance, such asthe OFF and the Stauffenberg plot, it will become clear why thisoccurred in a relatively small scale when compared to the rest of Nazi-occupied Europe.  Economic Issues : Impact of St GermainFollowing the First World War, Austria found itself in an increasinglydire economic situation. The lack of preparation in the treaty of StGermain for cooperation with other successor states meant thatlittle was provided to actively restructure post-war Austria. By 1933there were 577,000 people unemployed in Austria 1 - Wessels ‟  description of the inter-war Austrian economy as  „crisis ridden‟ is undeniably apt. 2 For many in Austria, separation from Germany wasassociated with economic hardships. As such, the treaty of StGermain itself was strongly linked with a downturn in the quality of life, leading many in Austria to actively search for reconciliationbetween the two states. Indeed J.R agrees: „The fee ling of hopelessness and disillusionment nourished the desire for Anschluss‟. 3 The lack of aid from the Western powers to Austria inher economic turmoil further promoted the cause for Anschluss.Even though a loan of £78 million was agreed upon in 1922 thedamage was largely already done. As such, poverty-stricken Austriahad only to look to the West towards industrialised andeconomically stable Germany for answers. Binder concurs here, 1   Otto Bauer, “Arbeiter Zeitung”, in Wir Kommen, February 25 th , 1934, p14 2 Jens-Wilheim Wessels , “Economic Performance and Micro -EconomicDevelopment in Austria, 1929- 1938”, in The Dolfuss/Schuschnigg Era in Austria: A Reassessment  , ed. Gunter Bischof, Anton Pelink and Alexander Lassner,Transaction Publishers, 2003, p94 3   J.R, “Austria Between the Two Wars”  , in Bulletin of International News, 21 (5),1944, p173  arguing that „in light of the catastrophic economic situation therewere calls for a settlement with Hitler‟. 4 Indeed, mutual desire forAnschluss was expressed in the Schober-Curtius customsagreement in 1931, but this was vetoed by the Western powers.This must be seen as a clear starting point for grass-roots supportfor the Anschluss and the Nazi party in Austria. Connections With Germany : Tradition and CultureIt is not only the image of economic strength that appealed, butalso the ethnic connections to Germany. The breakup of theHabsburg Empire following the treaty of St Germain led to ethnicconfusion: Luza argues that „many Austrians considered themselvesmembers of the German nation‟. 5 This would certainly explain a lackof resistance to German occupation over the Anschluss, leading Luza to note that „they all seemed to want the Anschluss‟. 6 Thissense of connection continues into some more cultural aspects of Austrian life as well.   4   Dieter A. Binder, “The Christian Corporatist State: Austria from 1934 to 1938”, in  Austria in the Twentieth Century, ed. Rolf Steininger, Gunter Bischof andMichael Gehler, Transaction Publishers, 2002, p77 5 Radomir. V.Luza, Resistance in Austria: 1938-1945, University of MinnesotaPress, 1984, p3 6 Luza, p3  Au strian‟s shared German aspects of anti-Semitism, suggesting thatmany Austrians did not resist elements of Nazi ideology. Adisproportionately large number of Austrians operated in the prisoncamps and the SS compared to Germans and other occupiedcountries in World War Two: 1.3 million Austrians served in the Naziarmed forces. 7 Alongside this there was a relatively high rate of anti-Semitic feelings present in Austria before 1938. IndeedSteininger notes that the outbreaks of anti-Semitic violence were  „only possible because anti -Semitism was so deeply rooted in a long tradition‟. 8 Pogroms against the Jews during the Reichkristallnachtbetween the 9 th and 10 th of November 1938 as well the destructionof 95 synagogues in Vienna are clear examples of this. Pauley notes here that „It was Austrian Nazis and even non -Nazis who now released the hatred they had pent up against the Jews‟  9 This wouldsuggest that Austrians shared Nazi sentiments before the Anschlussoccurred. This perhaps explains how Austrians comprised 13 to14% of the SS - what Barker describes as a  „prominent role‟, eventhough they were only roughly 8% of the population of the GreaterGerman Reich. 10 Given these shared sentiments, one can see why 7   Rudiger Overman, “German and Austrian Losses in World War II” in  AustrianHistorical Memory and National Identiy  , ed. By Gunter Bischof and Anton Pelinka,5, 1997, 293-301   8   Rolf Steininger, “12 November 1918 -12 March 1938: The Road to the Anschluss”, in  Austria in the Twentieth Century, ed. Rolf Steininger, GunterBischof and Michael Gehler, Transaction Publishers, 2002, p113 9 Bruce F. Pauley, From Prejudice to Persecution: A History of Austrian Anti-Semitism, University of North Carolina Press, 1992, p280 10 Barker, Austria: 1918-72, p128
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