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Federal State of Austria
Bundesstaat Österreich (German)
Anthem: Sei gesegnet ohne Ende
(English: "Be Blessed Without End")
The Federal State of Austria in 1938.
|Common languages|| German (Austrian German)|
Austro-Bavarian, Alemannic, Burgenland Croatian, Austrian Sign Language
|Religion||Christianity (Catholic, Eastern Orthodox, Protestant), Judaism|
|Government||Clerical-fascist one-party authoritarian dictatorship|
|Ernst Starhemberg (acting)|
|Historical era||Interwar period|
|1 May 1934|
|25 July 1934|
• Berchtesgaden Agreement
|12 February 1938|
• Wehrmacht invasion
|12 March 1938|
|13 March 1938|
|ISO 3166 code||AT|
The Federal State of Austria (Austrian German : Bundesstaat Österreich ; colloquially known as the Ständestaat, "Corporate State") was a continuation of the First Austrian Republic between 1934 and 1938 when it was a one-party state led by the clerico-fascist Fatherland Front. The Ständestaat concept, derived from the notion of Stände ("estates" or "corporations"), was propaganda advocated by leading regime politicians such as Engelbert Dollfuss and Kurt Schuschnigg. The result was an authoritarian government based on a mix of Italian Fascist and conservative Catholic influences.
The First Austrian Republic was created after the signing of the Treaty of Saint-Germain-en-Laye on 10 September 1919—the settlement after the end of World War I which ended the Habsburg rump state of Republic of German-Austria—and ended with the establishment of the Austrofascist Federal State of Austria based upon a dictatorship of Engelbert Dollfuss and the Fatherland's Front in 1934. The Republic's constitution was enacted in 1 October 1920 and amended on 7 December 1929. The republican period was increasingly marked by violent strife between those with left-wing and right-wing views, leading to the July Revolt of 1927 and the Austrian Civil War of 1934.
A one-party state, single-party state, one-party system, or single-party system is a type of state in which one political party has the right to form the government, usually based on the existing constitution. All other parties are either outlawed or allowed to take only a limited and controlled participation in elections. Sometimes the term de facto one-party state is used to describe a dominant-party system that, unlike the one-party state, allows democratic multiparty elections, but the existing practices or balance of political power effectively prevent the opposition from winning the elections.
Clerical fascism is an ideology that combines the political and economic doctrines of fascism with clericalism. The term has been used to describe organizations and movements that combine religious elements with fascism, support by religious organizations for fascism, or fascist regimes in which clergy play a leading role.
It ended in March 1938 with the Anschluss (the German annexation of Austria). Austria would not become an independent country again until 1955, when the Austrian State Treaty ended the Allied occupation of Austria.
Anschluss refers to the annexation of Austria into Nazi Germany on 12 March 1938. The word's German spelling, until the German orthography reform of 1996, was Anschluß and it was also known as the Anschluss Österreichs.
Nazi Germany is the common English name for Germany between 1933 and 1945, when Adolf Hitler and his Nazi Party (NSDAP) controlled the country through a dictatorship. Under Hitler's rule, Germany was transformed into a totalitarian state where nearly all aspects of life were controlled by the government. The official name of the state was Deutsches Reich until 1943 and Großdeutsches Reich from 1943 to 1945. Nazi Germany is also known as the Third Reich, meaning "Third Realm" or "Third Empire", the first two being the Holy Roman Empire (800–1806) and the German Empire (1871–1918). The Nazi regime ended after the Allies defeated Germany in May 1945, ending World War II in Europe.
The Austrian State Treaty or Austrian Independence Treaty re-established Austria as a sovereign state. It was signed on 15 May 1955 in Vienna, at the Schloss Belvedere among the Allied occupying powers and the Austrian government. It officially came into force on 27 July 1955.
In the 1890s, the founding members of the conservative-clerical Christian Social Party (CS) like Karl von Vogelsang and the Vienna mayor Karl Lueger had already developed anti-liberal views,though primarily from an economic perspective considering the pauperization of the proletariat and the lower middle class. Strongly referring to the doctrine of Catholic social teaching, the CS agitated against the Austrian labour movement led by the Social Democratic Party of Austria. The CS also spread antisemitic prejudices, albeit never as virulent as the Nazis eventually became.
The Christian Social Party was a major conservative political party in the Cisleithanian crown lands of Austria-Hungary and in the First Republic of Austria, from 1891 to 1934. The party was also affiliated with Austrian nationalism that sought to keep Catholic Austria out of the state of Germany founded in 1871, that it viewed as Protestant Prussian-dominated, and identified Austrians on the basis of their predominantly Catholic religious identity as opposed to the predominantly Protestant religious identity of the Prussians. It is a predecessor of the contemporary Austrian People's Party.
Vienna is the federal capital, largest city and one of nine states of Austria. Vienna is Austria's primate city, with a population of about 1.9 million, and its cultural, economic, and political centre. It is the 7th-largest city by population within city limits in the European Union. Until the beginning of the 20th century, it was the largest German-speaking city in the world, and before the splitting of the Austro-Hungarian Empire in World War I, the city had 2 million inhabitants. Today, it has the second largest number of German speakers after Berlin. Vienna is host to many major international organizations, including the United Nations and OPEC. The city is located in the eastern part of Austria and is close to the borders of Czechia, Slovakia, and Hungary. These regions work together in a European Centrope border region. Along with nearby Bratislava, Vienna forms a metropolitan region with 3 million inhabitants. In 2001, the city centre was designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site. In July 2017 it was moved to the list of World Heritage in Danger.
Karl Lueger was an Austrian politician, mayor of Vienna, and leader and founder of the Austrian Christian Social Party. He is credited with the transformation of the city of Vienna into a modern city. The populist and antisemitic politics of his Christian Social Party are sometimes viewed as a model for Adolf Hitler's Nazism.
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|History of Austria|
During the Great Depression in the First Austrian Republic of the early 1930s, the CS on the basis of the Quadragesimo anno encyclical issued by Pope Pius XI in 1931 pursued the idea of overcoming the ongoing class struggle by the implementation of a corporative form of government modelled on Italian fascism and Portugal’s Estado Novo. The CS politician Engelbert Dollfuss, appointed Chancellor of Austria in 1932, on 4 March 1933 saw an opportunity in the resignation of Social Democrat Karl Renner as president of the Austrian Nationalrat , after irregularities occurred during a voting process. Dollfuss called the incident a "self-elimination" (Selbstausschaltung) of the parliament and had the following meeting on 15 March forcibly prorogued by the forces of the Vienna police department. His party fellow, President Wilhelm Miklas, analogous to Adolf Hitler's victory in the German elections of 5 March 1933 did not take any action to restore democracy.
The Great Depression was a severe worldwide economic depression that took place mostly during the 1930s, beginning in the United States. The timing of the Great Depression varied across nations; in most countries it started in 1929 and lasted until the late 1930s. It was the longest, deepest, and most widespread depression of the 20th century. In the 21st century, the Great Depression is commonly used as an example of how intensely the world's economy can decline.
Quadragesimo anno is an encyclical issued by Pope Pius XI on 15 May 1931, 40 years after Leo XIII's encyclical Rerum novarum. Unlike Leo XIII, who addressed the condition of workers, Pius XI discusses the ethical implications of the social and economic order. He describes the major dangers for human freedom and dignity arising from unrestrained capitalism and totalitarian socialism/communism. He also calls for the reconstruction of the social order based on the principles of solidarity and subsidiarity.
Pope Pius XI, born Ambrogio Damiano Achille Ratti, was head of the Catholic Church from 6 February 1922 to his death in 1939. He was the first sovereign of Vatican City from its creation as an independent state on 11 February 1929. He took as his papal motto, "Pax Christi in Regno Christi," translated "The Peace of Christ in the Kingdom of Christ."
Chancellor Dollfuss then governed by emergency decree, including the ban of the Communist Party on 26 May 1933, the Social Democratic Republikanischer Schutzbund paramilitary organization on 30 May and the Austrian branch of the Nazi Party on 19 June. Instead on 20 May 1933 he had established the Fatherland's Front as a unity party of "an autonomous, Christian, German, corporative Federal State of Austria". On 12 February 1934 the government's attempts to enforce the ban of the Schutzbund at the Hotel Schiff in Linz sparked the Austrian Civil War. The revolt was suppressed with support by the Bundesheer and right-wing Heimwehr troops under Ernst Rüdiger Starhemberg, ending with the ban of the Social Democratic Party and the trade unions. The path to dictatorship completed on 1 May 1934, when the Constitution was recast into a severely authoritarian document by a rump National Council.
The Communist Party of Austria is a communist party in Austria. Established in 1918 as the Communist Party of German-Austria (KPDÖ), it is one of the world's oldest Communist parties. The KPÖ was banned between 1933 and 1945 under both the Austrofascist regime and the Nazi German control of Austria after the 1938 Anschluss. It played an important role in the Austrian resistance against the Nazis.
The Republikanischer Schutzbund was an Austrian paramilitary organization established in 1923 by the Social Democratic Party (SDAPÖ) to secure power in the face of rising political radicalization after World War I.
The National Socialist German Workers' Party, commonly referred to in English as the Nazi Party, was a far-right political party in Germany that was active between 1920 and 1945, that created and supported the ideology of National Socialism. Its precursor, the German Workers' Party, existed from 1919 to 1920.
Dollfuss continued to rule by emergency measures until his assassination during the Nazi July Putsch on 25 July 1934. Although the coup initially had the encouragement of Hitler, it was quickly suppressed and his education minister, Kurt Schuschnigg, succeeded him. Hitler officially denied any involvement in the coup d'état. Nevertheless, he continued to destabilize the Austrian government system by secretly supporting Nazi sympathizers like Arthur Seyss-Inquart and Edmund Glaise-Horstenau. In turn Austria under Schuschnigg sought the backing by its southern neighbour, the fascist Italian dictator Benito Mussolini. Tables turned after the Second Italo-Abyssinian War in 1935/36, when Mussolini, internationally isolated, approached Hitler. Though Schuschnigg tried to improve relations with Nazi Germany by amnestying several Austrian Nazis and accepting them in the Fatherland's Front, he had no chance to prevail against the "axis" of Berlin and Rome proclaimed by Mussolini on 1 November 1936.
The July Putsch was a failed coup d'état attempt against the Austrofascist regime by Austrian Nazis, which took place between 25 – 30 July 1934.
Arthur Seyss-Inquart was an Austrian Nazi politician who served as Chancellor of Austria for two days—11 to 13 March 1938—before the Anschluss annexation of Austria by Nazi Germany, signing the constitutional law as acting head of state upon the resignation of President Wilhelm Miklas.
Edmund Glaise-Horstenau was an Austrian officer in the Austro-Hungarian Army, last Vice-Chancellor of Austria before the 1938 Anschluss, a military historian and archivist, and general in the German Wehrmacht during the Second World War.
According to the Hossbach Memorandum, Hitler in November 1937 declared his plans for an Austrian campaign in a meeting with Wehrmacht commanders. Under the mediation of the German ambassador Franz von Papen, Schuschnigg on 12 February 1938 traveled to Hitler's Berghof residence in Berchtesgaden, only to be confronted with an ultimatum to readmit the Nazi Party and to appoint Seyss-Inquart and Glaise-Horstenau ministers of the Austrian cabinet. Schuschnigg, impressed by the presence of OKW chief General Wilhelm Keitel, gave in and on 16 February Seyss-Inquart became head of the strategically important Austrian interior ministry.
After the British ambassador to Berlin, Nevile Henderson on 3 March 1938 had stated that the German claims to Austria were justified, Schuschnigg started a last attempt to retain Austrian autonomy by scheduling a nationwide referendum on 13 March. As part of his effort to ensure victory, he released the Social Democratic leaders from prison and gained their support in return for dismantling the one-party state and legalizing the socialist trade unions. Hitler reacted with the mobilization of Wehrmacht troops at the Austrian border and demanded the appointment of Seyss-Inquart as Austrian chancellor. On 11 March Austrian Nazis stormed the Federal Chancellery and forced Schuschnigg to resign. Seyss-Inquart was sworn in as his successor by Miklas and the next day Wehrmacht troops crossed the border meeting no resistance.
Hitler had originally intended to retain Austria as a puppet state headed by Seyss-Inquart. However, the enthusiastic support for Hitler led him to change his stance and support a full Anschluss between Austria and Nazi Germany. On 13 March Seyss-Inquart formally decreed the Anschluss, though President Miklas avoided signing the law by resigning immediately. Seyss-Inquart then took over most of Miklas' duties and signed the Anschluss bill into law. Two days later in his speech at the Vienna Heldenplatz, Hitler proclaimed the "accession of my homeland to the German Reich" (see Austria in the time of National Socialism).
Engelbert Dollfuss was an Austrian Christian Social and Patriotic Front statesman. Having served as Minister for Forests and Agriculture, he ascended to Federal Chancellor in 1932 in the midst of a crisis for the conservative government. In early 1933, he shut down parliament, banned the Austrian Nazi party and assumed dictatorial powers. Suppressing the Socialist movement in February 1934, he cemented the rule of "Austrofascism" through the authoritarian First of May Constitution. Dollfuss was assassinated as part of a failed coup attempt by Nazi agents in 1934. His successor Kurt Schuschnigg maintained the regime until Adolf Hitler's annexation of Austria in 1938.
Kurt Alois Josef Johann Schuschnigg was an Austrofascist politician who was the Chancellor of the Federal State of Austria from the 1934 assassination of his predecessor Engelbert Dollfuss until the 1938 Anschluss with Nazi Germany. Although Schuschnigg accepted that Austria was a "German state" and that Austrians were Germans, he was strongly opposed to Adolf Hitler's goal to absorb Austria into the Third Reich and wished for it to remain independent.
The Ostmärkische Sturmscharen was a right-wing paramilitary group in Austria, founded on 7 December 1930. Recruited from the Katholische Jugend, later from journeymen and teacher organisations, it formed an opposition to both to the nationalist Heimwehr forces and the Social Democratic Republikanischer Schutzbund. The Christian Social politician Kurt Schuschnigg was its "Reichsführer".
Austrofascism was the authoritarian system installed in Austria with the May Constitution of 1934, which ceased with the annexation of the newly founded Federal State of Austria into Nazi Germany in 1938. It was based on a ruling party, the Fatherland Front and the Heimwehr paramilitary militia. Leaders were Engelbert Dollfuss and, after Dollfuss's assassination, Kurt Schuschnigg, who were previously politicians of the Christian Social Party, which was quickly integrated into the new movement.
Wilhelm Miklas was an Austrian politician who served as President of Austria from 1928 until the Anschluss to Nazi Germany in 1938.
Guido Schmidt was an Austrian diplomat and politician, who served as Foreign Minister from 1936 to 1938.
Austria under National Socialism describes the period of Austrian history from 12 March 1938 when Austria was annexed by Nazi Germany until the end of World War II in 1945.
The Fatherland Front was the ruling political organisation of "Austrofascism". It claimed to be a nonpartisan movement, and aimed to unite all the people of Austria, overcoming political and social divisions. Established on 20 May 1933 by Christian Social Chancellor Engelbert Dollfuss as the only legally permitted party in the country, it was organised along the lines of Italian Fascism, except the Fatherland Front was fully aligned with the Catholic Church and did not advocate any racial ideology, as later Italian Fascism did. It advocated Austrian nationalism and independence from Germany on the basis of protecting Austria's Catholic religious identity from what they considered a Protestant-dominated German state.
Fascism in Europe was composed of numerous ideologies that were present during the 20th century and they all developed their own differences with each other. Fascism was born in Italy, but subsequently several fascist movements emerged across Europe and they borrowed influences from the Italian Fascism. The origins of fascism in Europe began outside of Italy and can be observed in the combining of a traditional national unity and revolutionary anti-democratic rhetoric espoused by integral nationalist Charles Maurras and revolutionary syndicalist Georges Sorel in France. The first foundations of fascism can be seen in the Italian Regency of Carnaro, many of its politics and aesthetics were taken from Gabriele D'Annunzio's rule and they were subsequently used by Benito Mussolini and his Italian Fasci of Combat which he had founded as the Fasci of Revolutionary Action in 1914. Despite the fact that its members referred to themselves as "fascists", the ideology was based around national syndicalism. The ideology of fascism would not fully develop until 1921 when Mussolini transformed his movement into the National Fascist Party which then in 1923 incorporated the Italian Nationalist Association. The INA was a nationalist movement that established fascist tropes, colored shirt uniforms for example, and also received the support of important proto-fascists like D'Annunzio and nationalist intellectual Enrico Corradini.
Emil Fey was an officer in the Austro-Hungarian Army, leader of the right-wing paramilitary Heimwehr forces and politician of the First Austrian Republic. He served as Vice-Chancellor of Austria from 1933 to 1934, leading the country into the period of Austrofascism under Chancellor Engelbert Dollfuss. Fey played a vital role in the violent suppression of the Republikanischer Schutzbund and the Social Democratic Workers' Party during the 1934 Austrian Civil War.
Josef Leopold was a leading member of the Nazi Party in Austria. He was the Landesleiter of the party from 1935 to 1938 and the head of the Sturmabteilung in Austria. He belonged to the pro-independence tendency within Austrian Nazism and insisted that Adolf Hitler was only a spiritual leader rather than a future Austrian leader.
Prince Ernst Rüdiger Camillo von Starhemberg, also known as Ernst Rüdiger Camillo Starhemberg, was an Austrian nationalist and conservative politician prior to World War II, a leader of the Heimwehr and later of the Fatherland Front. He was the 1,163rd Knight of the Order of the Golden Fleece, Austrian Order.
The Austrian Legion was a Nazi paramilitary group founded in 1933 from expatriate Austrian Nazis. Its members, mostly Sturmabteilung (SA), were trained in military camps in Bavaria, then armed in preparation for a potential invasion of Austria. Operating from 1933 to 1938, the Legion proved mostly ineffective and in some cases detrimental to Germany's interests in Austria.