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The story so far. 25 th July 1934: Assassination of Chancellor Dollfuss. The first attempt at Austrian Anschluss failed when Mussolini moved 100,000 troops to the border that Italian-Austrian border. The story so far. 7th March 1936: Rhineland Crisis

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slide1

The story so far...

25th July 1934:

Assassination of Chancellor Dollfuss.

The first attempt at Austrian Anschluss failed when Mussolini moved 100,000 troops to the border that Italian-Austrian border.

The Anschluss

slide2

The story so far...

7th March 1936: Rhineland Crisis

17th July 1936: Germany and Italy back Franco during the Spanish Civil War.

26th April 1937: Bombing of Guernica by German Condor legion

May 1937: Chamberlain becomes Prime Minister of Britain. This marks a return to old-style diplomacy.

20th February 1938: Anthony Eden resigns as Foreign Secretary. Wanted action to be taken in Spain.

The Anschluss

slide3

The story so far...

October 1936: Agreement between Germany and Italy to secure Austrian independence.

September 1937: Mussolini visits Berlin and is impressed by Nazi power.

5th November 1937: Hossbach Memo stated Germany must overthrow Austria and Czechoslovakia. [only discovered at the ended of the war]

The Anschluss

the versailles context
The Versailles Context
  • Article 80 of Versailles Treaty states:
  • “Germany acknowledges and will respect the independence of Austria…”

The Anschluss

key dates
Key Dates
  • January 1938: Memo to Papen [German Ambassador] from Austrian Nazis intercepted stating “the impossibility of progress under Schuschnigg, German invasion the only solution”
  • February 11th 1938: Hitler is aggressive towards Schuschnigg at meeting.

Kurt von Schuschnigg

Franz von Papen

The Anschluss

11th march 1938
11th March 1938

The Czech Government was promised that:

“Czechoslovakia has nothing to fear from the Reich.”

The Anschluss

11th march 19388
11th March 1938

In a radio broadcast to the Austrian population, Chancellor Schuschnigg resigned:

This day has placed us in a tragic situation. The German Government today handed to President Miklas an ultimatum, with a time limit, ordering him to nominate a Chancellor and appoint members of a cabinet designated by the German Government; otherwise German troops would invade Austria.

I declare before the world that the reports launched in Germany concerning disorders by the workers, the shedding of streams of blood, and the creation of a situation beyond the control of the Austrian Government are lies. President Miklas has asked me to tell the people of Austria that we have yielded to force since we are not prepared even in this terrible situation to shed blood. We have decided to order the troops to offer no resistance.

So I take leave of the Austrian people with the German word of farewell uttered from the depth of my heart: God protect Austria.

The Anschluss

10th april 1938
10th April 1938

Nazi organised plebiscite

Propaganda, both leaflets and posters, encouraged Austrians to vote a particular way.

The Anschluss

10th april 193814
10th April 1938

Billboard posters encouraged people to vote “Yes”.

The Anschluss

10th april 193815
10th April 1938

The poster instructed voters how to vote "Yes".

The Anschluss

what did hitler and the nazis gain from the anschluss
What did Hitler and the Nazis gain from the Anschluss?

Hitler had once again read the situation correctly and achieved what he set out to do.

Hitler personally gained prestige.

Nazis gained control of Austria’s iron and steel, engineering and armament industries.

Austria could by used as a staging-post for South-East expansion.

Nazis took control of the Austrian Central Bank and its gold reserves.

Nazis could turn their attention to Czechoslovakia.

The Anschluss

slide18
There was a reasonable belief within the British Cabinet that:
  • Austria “fell into categories of possible alterations in the European order which might be destined to come about with the passage of time [Lord Halifax, the future Foreign Minister visited Hitler in Berlin]
  • Chamberlain believed Schuschniggs’ plebiscite had provoked the situation. He personally thought “it had to come”.

Lord Halifax

The Anschluss

slide19
There was a belief within the British Cabinet that Hitler could be trusted:
  • Lord Halifax after his visit wrote down “Germany did not want to annex Austria…”
  • But
  • The Hossbach Memorandum noted the German intention to annex Austria

Lord Halifax

The Anschluss

slide20
The British were military unprepared:

1936: Chamberlain gave RAF £59 million instead of £97 million asked for. ‘Cheap’ fighters built instead of bombers.

1937: Military chiefs reported that British defences were hopelessly inadequate.

Jan 1938: stated that “forces…are still far from sufficient to meet our defensive commitments.”

Spitfire

The Anschluss

slide21

The Empire were unwilling to commit

The 1937 Conference of Imperial Prime Ministers reached the conclusion that the Empire Nations were unwilling to offer a firm commitment to Britain to resist Hitler.

British Government had no firm allies

British government made it clear to the French that French aid to Republicans would stop Britain honouring Locarno. French backed down. The USA was neutral. The USSR was communist.

The League of Nations was considered weak.

The League of Nations was so discredited after the Abyssinian crisis of 1935 that no member state referred the issue of the Anschluss to the League.

Weak Economy

Financial constraints on British government. After 1938, rearmament produced new jobs but put pressure on scare resources.

The Anschluss

slide22
British public were shocked by Nazi methods but there was no desire to go to war over a country whose population comprised ethnic Germans, a good proportion of whom enthusiastically favoured union.
  • [Ian Kershaw, Making Friends with Hitler, 2004]

The Anschluss

slide23
The British feared war
  • 11th March 1938: British ambassador in Berlin protested to the German Foreign Minister but admitted “verbal protests without the resolute intention to use force were not going to stop the German troops.
  • 14th March 1938: Chamberlain told the House of Commons “…nothing could have prevented this action by Germany unless we and others with us had been prepared to use force to prevent it”.

The Anschluss

slide24

Criticisms of Government Policy

  • Churchill stressed:
  • The geographical importance of Austria.
  • Control of this region gave the Nazis access the valuable communication routes in South-East Europe – roads, rivers and by rail.
  • Expanded military power.
  • Increased economic strength.

The Anschluss

slide25

How useful is the following source for investigating the events surrounding the Anschluss, March 1938?

The Anschluss

slide26

David Low,

London Evening Standard

Friday 18th February 1938

British person is saying:

“Why should we take a stand about someone pushing someone else when it’s all so far away…”

Think about the usefulness of this source in terms of:

Origin

Possible Purpose

Context of the source

Content

Balance

Origin

One week after the meeting between Hitler and Schuschnigg, 3 weeks before the official Anschluss of Austria with Germany.

David Low was a known critic of Government policy, a known anti-appeaser.

The Anschluss

slide27

David Low,

London Evening Standard

Friday 18th February 1938

British person is saying:

“Why should we take a stand about someone pushing someone else when it’s all so far away…”

Possible Purpose

Low is trying to highlight that if Austria falls, other countries are at risk too including Britain.

Spur the British Government into action against the Dictators

The Anschluss

slide28

David Low,

London Evening Standard

Friday 18th February 1938

British person is saying:

“Why should we take a stand about someone pushing someone else when it’s all so far away…”

Content

Points out that Britain does not see the threat.

Highlights the strength and aggressive nature of Germany by drawing the big soldier.

Shows the fall of Austria makes, Czechoslovakia, the Balkans… France and Britain are all vulnerable to German aggression.

France is looking to Britain to stop it.

Hitlers’ hand on the lever, he is dictating the situation

The Anschluss

slide29

David Low,

London Evening Standard

Friday 18th February 1938

British person is saying:

“Why should we take a stand about someone pushing someone else when it’s all so far away…”

Context

Versailles Context

Failed Anschluss of 1934

Details of Hitler and Schuschniggs’ meeting, February 1938 and intended plebiscite.

German rearmament

Rome-Berlin Axis after the Spanish Civil War

The Anschluss

slide30

David Low,

London Evening Standard

Friday 18th February 1938

British person is saying:

“Why should we take a stand about someone pushing someone else when it’s all so far away…”

Balance

This should focus on the reasons why the British Government chose to appease Germany over the issue of the Anschluss.

The Anschluss