How Did Hitler Manage to Achieve the Anschluss
The Austrian Chancellor, Dollfuss, tried to crack down on the Socialists and Nazis – political factions that he thought were tearing the country apart. Dollfuss banned the Nazi party. In 1934, Hitler ordered the Austrian Nazis to create havoc in Austria. This turned into an attempt to overthrow the government. Chancellor Dollfuss was murdered but the attempted coup failed because the Austrian military intervened to back up the government. In 1934, Italy had an agreement with Austria that it would protect Austria from outside aggression.
The Italian dictator, Mussolini, honoured the agreement and moved Italian troops to the Austrian border to deter Hitler from invading. In his second attempt hitler began by ordering the Austrian Nazi Party to make as much trouble as it could. Austrian Nazis held parades and marches, set buildings on fire, let off bombs and organised fights. When the Austrian government banned them, Hitler held a meeting with the Austrian leader Kurt Schuschnigg. Hitler threatened to invade Austria unless Schuschnigg gave all important jobs in his government to Nazis.
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Schuschnigg compromised by appointing the Nazi Seyss-Inquart as Minister of the Interior. France, and Britain both refused to help Austria so on March 9th 1938 Schuschnigg announced his intention to hold a plebiscite to allow the Austrian people to decide for themselves whether to join with Germany or not (99. 75% voted for Germany ). Hitler moved troops to the Austrian border and demanded that Schuschnigg call off the plebiscite. Schuschnigg had no choice but to comply and resign.
Seyss-Inquart, Nazi Minister of the Interior took his place and immediately asked Hitler to send the German army into Austria to help restore order. The Anschluss was established on 14th March 1936. Reasons why Hitler was able to achieve the Anschluss was that he was very opportunistic. Hitler’s second attempt to achieve the Anschluss was in 1936 during the Spanish civil war. Because Hitler and Mussolini were both fascists they Helped General Franco in the war. After the war Italy and Germany confirmed their friendship by signing the Rome/Berlin Axis.
This meant that Mussolini would not have any reason to stop Hitler from invading Austria and achieve the Anschluss. Austria as a nation was very weak and could not stop the forces of the German army, this made Hitler’s job even easier. Whilst Hitler was rising to power in central Europe one would like to question the British and the French attitude to the events. Britain sympathised with Germany and thought that the Treaty Of Versailles was very harsh, on top of that the P. M favoured the appeasement policy and let Hitler get what he wants ( within reason) in order to prevent war.
France although was concerned about Germany rising to power as France bordered Germany, the French could not do anything as they were still recovering from their economical crisis and more significantly did not have Britain’s support. Three of the most Dominant powers of Europe acting in favour of Hitler apart from USSR which were still scared from the defeat of World War 1. The Russians knew what Hitler was up to and wanted to stop him as soon as possible but were unable to do so as they had weaker Economy and Military than Germany .