Fatherland Front propaganda writer Dr. Edwin Rollett’s “wake-up call” to Austrians on the “second danger” to their homeland: National Socialism
On 19 June, 1933, the ‘National Socialist German Workers’ Party – Hitler-Movement’ (Nationalsozialistische Deutsche Arbeiterpartei – Hitlerbewegung, NSDAP-HB) was banned by the Austrian state. This measure was hardly a bolt from the blue – the Hitlerians had long been strident, aggressive enemies of Chancellor Engelbert Dollfuss’s own Christian-Social Party, and the threat they posed to the Chancellor’s government was compounded not only by their penchant for violent radicalism and their stated goal of undoing Austria’s sovereignty, but also by the fact that they were being supported in their endeavors by the resources of Adolf Hitler’s administration across the German-Austrian border. Attempts had been made to entice the Austrian National Socialists into joining Dollfuss’s government prior to the ban, and attempts to do so would be made again afterwards – but for the most part the Hitlerians remained enemies of the Austrian state, with their enmity soon giving way to an escalating wave of underground activism and terror attacks which led, in July 1934, to a failed putsch and to Dollfuss’s inadvertent murder. Prior to his assassination, Dollfuss had begun the process of shoring up the position of his ‘patriotic’ government, not only by banning certain parties (including the Social-Democrats and the Communists), but also by laying the foundations for an emerging ‘Austro-Fascist’ state through the promulgation of a new, corporatist constitution, and through the founding of a mass movement which would serve as a unifying vehicle for cohesive political rule: the Fatherland Front (Väterlandische Front). The Front was more a coalition of various different right-wing forces than it was a totalitarian mass party, and as such its ideology and direction were not always clear. To help the Front clarify its positions to the Austrian masses a propaganda bureau had been established alongside it: the Österreichischer Heimatdienst. One of the key concerns of the Heimatdienst was combating the influence and propaganda of the National Socialists, who – as the most prominent remaining advocates of Anschluss – still held a considerable degree of popularity among Austria’s population in spite of their ban. The pamphlet translated below, The Second Danger: A Wake-Up Call to All Austrians, was written by Christian-Social journalist and literary critic Edwin Rollett for the Heimatdienst sometime between 1933 and 1936 (the actual pamphlet is undated; most online sources give the publication date as 1936, but a few place it as early as 1933). Emphasizing National Socialism’s hypocrisy and ‘Marxist’-style radicalism in particular, The Second Danger provides a fairly typical example of the kinds of arguments which the Austro-Fascists employed in their efforts to dissuade the Austrian public from abandoning their Austrian homeland to the cause of the National Socialists. Along with the translation, the layout of the pamphlet has been reproduced here as closely as possible, including the accompanying illustrations and the publisher’s ‘dramatic’ spacing choices.
THE SECOND DANGER:
A WAKE-UP CALL TO ALL AUSTRIANS
An undated propaganda pamphlet by Dr. Edwin Rollett
Published by the Heimatdienst, propaganda bureau of the Fatherland Front
The Old Enemy and the New Danger.
Austria is presently in the process of liberating itself, with tremendous effort, from the murderous grip of Marxism.
Already we can feel the enemy’s muscle tension subsiding and the bonds loosening. Already we are breathing more freely and are readying one last, mighty release of strength which will free us forever from the wrecker of our homeland.
Yet the secular adversary of Western culture, the sworn enemy of social order and genuine liberty, still exists, the two-headed dragon is not yet lying dead upon the ground; it is still spitting poison and bile from its wide-flung jaws, is still menacingly raising its paws for a treacherous blow – and already we are being threatened from behind by a new danger.
This second great danger for our Austrian homeland is called:
In its homeland, in the German Reich, National Socialism has undoubtedly accomplished a historic mission. Albeit with means and methods which we Austrians are not entirely sympathetic to, for they are far too reminiscent of the means and methods of the firm of Lenin, Stalin, & Co.
Within the German Reich, National Socialism under the leadership of the Austrian Adolf Hitler has shattered the mighty power of Marxism. Through more than ten years of unrelenting propaganda it primed and organized the ‘national uprising’ against the Red International. Then one day it detonated the accumulated explosives.
That is the ‘National Revolution’ of the German Reich.
It was a tremendous volcanic eruption. Before the searing lava flow of reawakened national feeling, the worms of Red internationalism crept terrified into their hideouts and their caves. Perhaps merely in order to wait there for a change in the weather and then, vengeful, to burst forth again in an all-out attack.
For the present, however, National Socialism’s triumph over Bolshevism and Marxism within the German Reich is obvious, its resounding success beyond any doubt. Admittedly, this success is that of a force of nature, one which not only liberates but also engulfs.
How many of the nation’s precious assets, how much hopeful, burgeoning life, was destroyed and buried as the storm tide of the national uprising thundered across Germany’s fields, harmonizing and ‘coordinating’1 everything? Not to mention the frightful reaction which the unfortunate side-effects of this ‘German Revolution’ aroused throughout the world. The streets of the world’s metropolises reverberate with indignation (certainly and often enough merely falsely contrived, and frequently quite hypocritical), a boycott of German goods has set in over all world markets, and the German Reich is once again ‘encircled’ by a world opinion more spiteful and more far-reaching than that before the outbreak of the World War.
The victory over Marxism – as gratifying as it is in itself – came at a terribly dear price, a consequence of the methods which National Socialism employed in the process. The victors, the liberated German Volk in particular, look to the future with trepidation.
The Austrian Offshoot of National Socialism.
The role of the National Socialists in Austria is fundamentally different from that of National Socialism within the German Reich.
It is true that National Socialism crept into the country here as a purported comrade-in-arms against Marxism. But once it had succeeded in establishing itself in this way, it abruptly turned out to be something quite different.
If National Socialism within the German Reich functions as a campaigner [Kämpfer] for Volk and homeland, for the freedom and independence of the German Reich, the state of the Reich-Germans, National Socialism in Austria does just the opposite!
Here it does not enter the fray as an awakener and champion of the Austrian idea, as a weapon of the Austrian state, but as its hater and its opponent.
Its goal is not the freedom and independence of the Austrian homeland, but the ultimate downfall of that freedom, the final disappearance of Austria’s independence!
On Austrian soil National Socialism is not a defender of the homeland [Heimatschützer], but a bitter opponent, underminer, subverter, and wrecker of homeland defense.2
Instead of a struggle against Marxism, we see in Austrian National Socialism a venomous struggle against all those who stand against Marxism within the Fatherland Front.
In the Bundesrat and in the Landtags we see a virtual consortium of National Socialists and Marxists at work.
Both Marx-socialists and Hitler-socialists compete here in hatred and in insults, in abuse and deceit, against those who are true to their homeland.
In Austria, National Socialism competes with the Social-Democrats in rhapsodizing over parliamentarism and partyism and new elections, while, as is well known, National Socialism within the German Reich left scarcely a trace of a real parliament, with the parties – apart from its own – partly crushed, partly muzzled, and only allowed new elections insofar as they were absolutely necessary for National Socialism to be able to obtain a rightful majority; the other parties were simply forcibly prevented from any possibility of electoral agitation.
In Austria, meanwhile, the National Socialists rave about new elections, with which they hope to be able to unleash an unbridled agitation.
Within the German Reich, immediately after the ‘election’, National Socialism extorted from the Reichstag under duress the authority to be able to reign and govern as it pleased, without parliament, for four years.
Within Austria, there is no more persistent a grumbler about the Enabling Act,3 which came about legitimately and without any pressure or coercion, and about parliamentary government, than the National Socialists themselves!
And this even though it is public knowledge, and even though they themselves know it very well, that the Austrian federal government has been compelled to govern on the basis of the Enabling Act because the National Council eliminated itself and rendered itself incapable of convening.4
Within the German Reich, National Socialism tolerates no public opinion other than its own; it ruthlessly gags the opposition press, prohibits their publications, or it simply takes over oppositional media enterprises if they do not allow themselves to be ‘coordinated’, that is to say, if they do not wish to submit unreservedly.
In Austria, the National Socialists present themselves as opponents of press censorship; here they rant about “freedom of the press” and demand that they be permitted to make the most unbridled and most unscrupulous use of it.
Here on Austrian soil, National Socialism may have occasionally provided the Marxists with tavern brawls and with stoushes in the street, yet in reality they are regarded as welcome accomplices in the struggle against the patriotic government. The Social-Democrats can scarcely resist National Socialist pandering and encouragement to take radical action. In Austria, the National Socialists are the agitators and inciters of Marxism.5
National Socialism in the German Reich mourns, wails, and howls in concert when a foreign policy objective fails, when foreign financiers remain deaf to the needs of the German economy, when world capital denies Germany its wishes.
National Socialism in Austria goes into paroxysms of joy every time that Austria is treated badly abroad, whenever Austria encounters misfortune, when the credit promised to it remains due, or when the negotiations for such continuously encounter new difficulties or when disbursement is delayed again and again.
Every misfortune which comes over Austria is greeted by the party press of the Austrian National Socialists with a joyful hurrah!
Outright Treason Against the Country.
So far does Austrian National Socialism go in its hatred for the Austrian homeland that through its spokesmen in the Landtags of Vienna and Lower Austria it issued warnings to foreign countries against the granting of loans to Austria.
It directed the same traitorous appeal to foreign nations by means of the Reich-German party press, for example within the main organ of National Socialism (the Völkischer Beobachter of 3 May, 1933).
Only a completely demented hatred could rage against Austria in such a fashion, against the vital interests of the Austrian Volk.
the fundamental difference
between Reich-German National Socialism and National Socialism in Austria:
That the former, whatever one may think of it and its actions, still loves its homeland, loves Reich-Germany above all else. The latter hates its homeland, hates Austria, more than anything!
It may be that Reich-German National Socialism has no great love for Austria either – there is evidence for this; it is not its homeland, not its country, it does its duty when it loves its own Reich-German homeland. The hatred which Austrian National Socialism has for Austria is monstrous.
They “Reject” Austria!
A Document of Treason Against the Homeland.
On 16 November, 1932 – i.e. one day after the Feast of the Holy Margrave Leopold, the patron saint of Austria, at whose tomb in Klosterneuburg a few days earlier, namely on the national holiday,6 the Archbishop of Vienna had addressed a patriotic speech to Viennese pilgrims – the central newspaper of the Austrian National Socialists, the Deutschösterreichische Tageszeitung,7 published an official party programmatic statement which read:
We National Socialists reject the notion of an Austrian idea, an Austrian mission. That was real, once… Today there is no Austrian idea, but only a single Austrian mission: the unification of this diktat-state with the German Reich, in order that we Ostmark-Germans not only have a homeland, but also a Fatherland. A Fatherland, which for us the present state of coercion cannot be and will never be.
We National Socialists also reject the concept of an Austrian people… We Austrians are not even a German tribe… As Bavarians or as Alemanni we are branches of these German tribes.
For we National Socialists, the independent state which accordingly calls itself Austria is a straightjacket, one which we wish to cast off and which we will cast off – the sooner, the better.
That is the open
declaration of war by the National Socialists against Austria!
They “reject” Austria, the Austrian idea, the Austrian people.
They spurn Austria as their Fatherland.
They declare themselves against our Austria remaining an independent state and preserving its sovereignty.
For them Austria is only a “diktat-state,” only a “state of coercion,” yes, only a “straightjacket,” one which they wish to “cast off.”
National Socialism speaks so scornfully, so hatefully of our glorious Austria, for whose freedom and independence streams of blood have flowed; of our Austria, for which countless native subjects have sacrificed their lives!
What an insult to the memory of our fallen! What an outrageous defilement of our defenders of the homeland!
It is therefore time for us Austrians – it is therefore a duty for all those who still have a sense of honor within their bodies and who still have a love for the homeland within their hearts – to cast off from Austria parties like that of the National Socialists.
Our forefathers defended this magnificent country against Mongols and Turks, against French and Swedes, against Hussites and Russians, against Piedmontese and Prussians, against death and the devil; Austria’s glorious flags fluttered over all the battlefields of Europe; when others retreated before the Crescent, when others slipped to their knees before Napoleon, Austria held out valiantly, the Austrians did not cease fighting for their freedom and their independence.
And now the National Socialists come along and defame this Austria, whose sole remaining task is apparently to renounce itself.
One’s stomach turns in the face of such shame.
No, what we want to “cast off” is not Austria, and what we “reject” is not the Austrian idea and Austrian independence; what we cast off and reject instead is
anti-Austrian National Socialism!
Out with this disgrace,
out of our dearly-beloved country!
Before the World War, and After.
It is also rank hypocrisy when the National Socialist declaration says of the Austrian idea and the Austrian mission that they “were real, once.”
In this way they wish to persuade us that with the World War and the collapse everything changed, and that everything which was before has now entirely come to an end.
They wish to thereby make us believe that in the past the Austrian idea and the Austrian mission were also once recognized by the devotees of the swastika.8
This is untrue!
Decades before the World War, Austrian patriots were already having to fend off exactly the same malicious incitements against their Fatherland.
The political forerunners of the National Socialists, the Pan-German Schönerians and the German-Radicals of K.H. Wolf,9 were filled with exactly the same hatred for Austria.
The great Austrian Karl Lueger10 had to wage exactly the same struggle against open treason towards the homeland, against Pan-German irredenta and ‘Prussia-lovers’ [Preußenseuchler], as we do today. Nothing has changed in that regard whatsoever.
Since then, the Austria-haters have only changed their names and their colors. What was once called “Pan-German” today calls itself “National Socialist,” and those who were previously black-red-gold and cornflower-blue have relinquished these colors to the Marxists11 in order to now adorn themselves in Prussian black-white-red and to don brown shirts.
Of course, today’s Austria is no longer the great, beautiful, contented Reich which it was before the World War. We know this well, and always bear it in mind.
But the fact that glorious Austria perished due to its Nibelung-loyalty,12 and that what is left to us is an impoverished microstate, appallingly mutiliated and mistreated by the victors, cannot and must not induce us to betray it.
It is in misfortune especially that our loyalty must prove itself.
despicable and dishonorable
to abandon a friend and comrade to misfortune.
It is disgraceful when children disown their mothers and throw them out of the house because they have fallen into hardship or or are in need of help, or because they have lost their former beauty and their hair has gone grey from grief and worry.
But that is exactly how the National Socialists treat our Austrian Fatherland when they declare that they no longer wish to have anything to do with it since it was crippled by the victors.
We Austrians firmly reject such cowardice and lack of character, we do not go along with it.
Woe to the German Reich, incidentally, if this trend proliferates, if the more that it falls into misfortune then all the more readily will it be abandoned by its inhabitants!
No, gentlemen National Socialists, let it be said to you:
We Austrians cannot be won by such shamelessness, by such perfidy towards our homeland; we hold fast to our homeland, we hold out with it, we stand by it as we stand by our mother, who in her misfortune is dearer to us than ever; more than ever do we love her, now all the more!
The Lessons of History.
Are we able to see into the future?
Do we know what Providence has in store for us?
Has not Austria already experienced incomparably worse times than those which followed the World War?
Twice the walls of Vienna were besieged and bombarded by vast hordes of Turks, after they had razed the country all around and transformed it into a wasteland.
Under Ferdinand II, riots and revolutions penetrated even into the innermost chambers of the Hofburg.
During the Thirty Years’ War, Swedish raiders broke through as far as the forests around Vienna, pillaging and burning.
The whole of Austria was overwhelmed by the armies of the “indomitable” Napoleon, who himself had his residence in the imperial palace of Schönbrunn.
And yet, nonetheless, the day always came when Austria was free again, standing as mighty and great as ever before.
And this solely on account of the fact that the population perservered in the face of adversity, that it did not lose its confidence and its faith, and that nobody ever dreamed of lending a sympathetic ear to treachery.
We do not know how things will shape out for us in future, we only know one thing: that we have to remain true to our homeland, and that we must not betray our fathers. The rest is in God’s hands.
Home to the Reich!
In order to sell the Austrians on the relinquishment of their sovereignty, and to win them over to what they call “Anschluss” to the German Reich, the National Socialists have a penchant for playing their strongest trump card, the slogan “Home to the Reich!”
Are we Austrians not at home in Austria?
Must we, in the end, find a home somewhere else across the border?
And Why the “Reich”?
But if the National Socialists with their slogan “Home to the Reich!” really wish to say: “Return to the Reich,” why do they then speak of “Anschluss” instead of the “reunification” of that which was once united together for more than a millennium?
Why the dishonorable imposition of “Anschluss” for every Austrian?
The wrong word exposes them as swindlers!
The National Socialists do not come to us as recruiters for that ‘Reich’ to which Austria belonged until half a century ago, otherwise they would willingly honor the historical facts and talk about “reunification.”13
They come to us as agents of Greater Prussia!
Only Greater Prussia can desire an “Anschluss” of Austria; a “reunification” would plainly contravene traditional Prussian politics, for the outcome of such politics was that what was once united to the Reich was torn asunder.
“Reunification” would mean: the restoration of the Reich.
But “Anschluss” signifies nothing more than: the expansion of Greater Prussia.
Whoever says “Anschluss” does not mean “Reich,” but Prussia.
In 1866 the ‘Reich’ – for which the Austrians at the time, as in preceding centuries, had made tremendous sacrifices of blood – was torn in two by Prussia with the help of its ally, Italy, in order that Prussia would then be in a position to incorporate the rump of the Reich into itself, piece by piece.
Now that this process is complete and the transformation of the Bismarckian federal state into a Greater Prussian State disguised as a ‘Third Reich’ has been accomplished, Austria – which was brutally expelled from the Reich 67 years ago – is again expected to bear the costs of further Prussian expansion.
Hence why “Anschluss” and “Home to the Reich!” are recommended in every key to those of us who were ignominiously cast out in 1866.
But these are insurmountable contradictions; “Anschluss” and “Home to the Reich” are mutually incompatible.
“Home to the Reich” via Anschluss is a crude deception, for the Reich will not arise again through “Anschluss”; that is something which Prussia does not want and cannot allow, at any price.
“Anschluss” can only result in an enlarged Prussia.
A child who has been burnt fears the fire.
Once they were able to cast us out of the Reich.
Once and never again!
Historical facts are irrevocable.
Another Phony Slogan.
In place of “Home to the Reich,” one is occasionally enticed instead with with the heavily overworn phrase, “For Faith, One Volk, One Reich!”
They dare say that to us Austrians!
As though we Austrians were the ones at fault back then for the schism of faith [Glaubensspaltung], that root cause of the later schism of Volk and Reich!
We in Austria still today possess, by and large, a unity of faith; we today still have that single faith which our German Volk received when they entered the Christian cultural world.
We have steadfastly preserved this unity.
The division lies ‘out there’ – that of faith, and that of the nation and the Reich.
“One Volk, One Reich.”
That is what they say. It is supposed to persuade us Austrians to relinquish our autonomy, our statehood.
Indeed, do the National Socialists not realize that Austria is a German state, one not a jot less German than the ‘Third Reich,’ that Greater Prussian State?
And are they not aware that 3½ million Germans live as ‘Czechoslovaks’ under foreign national rule, only a few express railway stops away from Berlin and from the geographic center of the Third Reich?
Why do the gentlemen National Socialists, if they are such enthusiasts for “one Volk, one Reich,” not have the slightest objection to the sovereignty of Czechoslovakia and the German-speaking areas attached to it?
Why do they allow their leader in the Prague Parliament there, representative Krebs,14 to issue solemn denials against any notion of Anschluss?
Why does our German state of Austria constitute the only bone of contention for the National Socialist patent-Germans?15
Why do they placidly and without the slightest complaint abandon 3½ million Sudeten-Germans – who, just like we Austrians, also belonged to the German Reich until 1866, and who are also located, so to speak, within spitting distance of the Reich-German border – to foreign-national rule, while at the same time wishing to liberate via “Anschluss” the Germans of Austria, who are in no way nationally threatened or oppressed?
Does “one Volk, one Reich” apply only to us Austrians, secure within our purely German state, but not to the Sudeten-Germans of the Czechoslovakian state, who are located much closer to Berlin?
And does it not apply to the 2¼ million Germans in Switzerland, which is likewise not so pure a German state as is our Austria?
And does it not also apply to the many Germans in the other states neighboring the Third Reich?
Why should the purely German state of Austria in particular not be allowed to retain its independence and its autonomy?
Yes, why – because that slogan, “one Volk, one Reich,” is just as much a swindle and a fraud as is the slogan “Home to the Reich.”
Because they do not wish to make national policies, as they purport, but instead desire to continue the policy of Königgrätzer.16
No, gentlemen National Socialists! We Austrians will not allow mendacious slogans to bilk us out of our freedom, independence, and sovereignty.
That is why we are no worse Germans than the Germans of the ‘Third Reich’.
Our state is just as German; our politics and our science, our literature, art, and music, are by no means inferior; our achievements for German culture, those of the present as well as the inimitable deeds of the past, are no less accomplished than those of the Reich-Germans.
German – Yes, What Is Actually German about National Socialism?
Its racial doctrine came from the
It drew its worldview and its cultural-political programme from the work The Foundations of the 20th Century17 by the Teutonized,
Houston Stewart Chamberlain, to whom Adolf Hitler made pilgrimage, just as did Wilhelm II.
The National Socialists took their salute from
fascism, which in turn claims to have adopted it from the ancient Romans.18
Their fighting methods, about which one heard such dreadful things before, during, and after the German Revolution, as the Hitler-party’s seizure of power is called – mass arrests, the shooting of prisoners trying to escape, concentration camps, the expropriation and confiscation of property, ruthless terror – seem damnably
And their truly Old Testament hatred against political opponents, from where does that originate?
The first National Socialism which we in Austria became acquainted with was Czech. The first National Socialists to make themselves known among the Austrian public were the
Klofac, Choc, and Fresl.19
The National Socialists will therefore be unable to impress us Austrians with their ‘Germanness’.
On occasion, when the spokesmen for National Socialism realize that they have demanded far too much from the Austrians’ self-respect, they deign to indulge themselves in all kinds of conciliatory speeches.
The Austrians, they say, will play a major role within the Third Reich; their individual character and their rights and customs will not be abrogated in any way; and other such platitudes along similar lines.
But while they are thus engaged in telling their listeners what they wish to hear, they have already made the preparations necessary to ‘coordinate’ Austria in a similar fashion, if need be, just as they – in spite of all given assurances – ‘coordinated’ Bavaria and the other southern and central German federal states.
In particular, the existing states are still permitted to have a Reichsstatthalter – that is, an executor of the Berlin government’s will – along with a state government appointed by him and a mock Landtag which has nothing to say or, better yet, merely has more to discuss.
In exactly the same way, Austria in the event of an Anschluss and seizure of power by National Socialism would be downgraded to a mere bailiwick of Berlin, with a ‘Landesinspekteur’ dispatched from outside to serve as Reichskommissar or Reichsstatthalter at its head, along with similar ‘Gauinspekteurs’ for the federal states, and with Austrian Landesleiters and Gauleiters as Austrian appendages.
In the near future there would then be no Lower or Upper Austria, no Styria or Salzburg, no Tyrol or Vorarlberg, no Carinthia nor Burgenland.
Erased and forgotten! .
We Austrians are, according to the National Socialist outlook, “not even a tribe,” but merely “branches” of German tribes.
Soon enough, ways and means would be found for annexing our Austria and its ‘Gaue’ – to which the federal states are already being demoted by the National Socialists – to this and that province of the ‘Third Reich’, piece by piece, and thereby making them disappear forever.
The National Socialist party organization has already been built up entirely according to this scheme and for such purposes, in order to then be ready in the event of a seizure of power.
The very first demand made by the National Socialists when they appeared in the Lower Austrian Landtag was for the abolition of the provincial governments and parliaments, i.e. abolition of the autonomy of the federal states.
Austrians and Styrians, Salzburgers and Carinthians, Tyroleans, Vorarlbergers, and Burgenländers, how do you like the scenario which National Socialism offers you?
Austria Merely ‘Ostmark’ Once Again?
As a substitute for our sovereignty, which Austria would give up with an Anschluss, we are promised the role of a new ‘Ostmark’ of the ‘Third Reich’.
Which means: we Austrians would be obliged to draw a thick line through our entire historical development, through a millennium’s worth of efforts and achievements, and would have to sink back once again to the level of a thousand years ago, to when the Ostmark was first founded!
All that which lies between would no longer have any more validity for us, would be lost, forgotten, blotted out!
The Moor has done his duty, the Moor can go.20
We are grateful for such friendly impertinence!
Why Not Prussia?
But if there is to be regression, then why, we ask, does Prussia not set a good example for us?
Why does not Prussia itself revert back to the position of – not a thousand years ago, that would have its difficulties given Prussia’s relatively young history – but, say, of 1525, or 1700, or 1800, or at least of 1850?
Answer, dear gentlemen National Socialists, speak up, dear Anschluss supporters [Anschließer], if you are concerned with Germandom and Germany, as you claim, and not merely with Prussia’s expansion via Austria!
Just answer that!
But the question will remain unanswered, or no answer will be given other than that of the Prussian writer Wilhelm Stapel: “Prussia must be!”21
Fine, nothing wrong with that, so long as one also leaves our Austria out of the game!
But with the same decisiveness and with the same unwavering conviction, and with incomparably sounder arguments, we also declare:
Austria Must Also Be!
Austria must be, because it – must!
Because it cannot be otherwise.
Because it thereby protects its own interests, as well as the interests of all Germandom.
Because, if we acted otherwise, neighboring states would descend upon us.
Because Austria would become a theatre of war, with all of the terrible consequences.
And because then the last remaining vestiges of our Austria would be dismembered, carved up and divided between neighboring states.
No, we do not desire such misfortune!
We wish to avoid such a catastrophe, and to resist it with the strength of desperation.
Only sworn enemies or political fools could expect the Austrian Volk to fall into the abyss.
Even Adolf Hitler, the leader of the National Socialists, is so convinced of the physical impossibility of what our Austrian National Socialists believe they are capable of achieving by means of agitational claptrap, that in his programmatic speech as Reich Chancellor not even one sentence, one word, one syllable of Anschluss was uttered!
Do the Austrian National Socialists then wish to plunge our good Volk, our poor homeland,
They will run into a wall of iron.
We will fight back, we will know how to safeguard our homeland, our existence, our families, our future.
For Austria’s salvation, every man and every woman in the Fatherland Front.
Austria must be!
Austria will be.
1. “Coordinating” – In German, “gleichschaltend.” A reference to the Hitler government’s process of political “coordination” (“Gleichschaltung”), whereby politically neutral, hostile, or competing groups and institutions in Germany were “coordinated” through legislation, coercion, or propaganda to be more in line with the spirit and policies of National Socialism. The Gleichschaltung process was the key driving force behind the National Socialist revolution and its far-reaching transformation of German society, and served as an important dividing line between the Hitler regime and the earlier, quasi-authoritarian governments of Brüning, Papen, and Schleicher, which were unwilling to transform Germany so radically and so rapidly. The Dollfuss/Schuschnigg regime in Austria had more in common with these governments than it did with the German National Socialists, and a fully totalitarian system was never established in Austria. The state ideology advocated by the regime lacked the coherence required to effectively galvanize a nation, and the Fatherland Front – the national mass movement established by the government in May 1933 – was a union of various formerly competing groups (the Christian-Socials, the nationalist Heimwehren, elements of the agrarian Landbund, and other patriotic organizations) rather than a single cohesive party, leading to greater diversity (and instability) within Austria’s internal politics.
2. “Homeland defense” – in German, “des Heimatschutzes.” The word “Heimatschutz” would likely have had strongly political connotations for Austrian readers, evocative of a meaning beyond that of the word’s general definition (measures taken to protect the homeland’s culture, heritage, and natural beauty, as well as its borders and internal stability). “Heimatschutz” was used in some parts of Austria as a variation on the word “Heimwehr,” the overarching name given to the various nationalist paramilitary organizations scattered throughout the country which united under a loose federal leadership in July 1927, and which were eventually incorporated into the Fatherland Front in September 1933. The National Socialist movement had kept its organizations separate from the Heimwehr (although there was some crossover of membership on an individual level), and the relationship between the two camps could be complex, ranging from violent acrimony to enthusiastic cooperation depending upon the region, time period, and specific groups involved.
3. “Enabling Act” – in German, “Ermächtigungsgesetz.” Meant here is Austria’s ‘War Economy Enabling Act’ (Kriegswirtschaftliches Ermächtigungsgesetz, KWEG), originally introduced as war-time legislation in 1917 to allow Austria’s imperial government to legally issue wide-ranging emergency economic decrees. The KWEG was never officially revoked after the Great War’s end, and the Dollfuss government made use of its expansive provisions throughout 1932-33 in its gradual institution of a system of authoritarian rule, a new “Christian, German state… on the basis of Estates,” i.e. the ‘Austro-Fascist’ corporate state.
4. Referenced here is the National Council’s so-called “self-elimination” in March 1933, the event which precipitated Dollfuss’s abolition of parliamentary democracy, his introduction of a system of rule by emergency decree, and eventually the reorganization of the Austrian Republic as the corporatist “Federal State of Austria” on 1 May, 1934. The following summary of the “self-elimination” and its consequences is taken from historian F.L. Carsten’s excellent book Fascist Movements in Austria: From Schönerer to Hitler:
The Austrian chancellor from May 1932 onwards was Engelbert Dollfuss, a prominent Christian Social politician who had been the minister of agriculture. The government was a coalition of his party with the small groups of the Heimatblock and the Peasant League [Landbund], but even so its parliamentary majority consisted of but one vote because the Social Democrats as well as the Grossdeutsche were in opposition (the National Socialists had no seats in parliament)… Dollfuss’s experiences with parliament were very unfortunate; there were bitter debates about the new loan from the League of Nations and about the smuggling of arms from Italy for the benefit of the Heimwehren and Hungary, debates in which the government was barely able to hold its own. Then, in March 1933, accident played into Dollfuss’s hands. There was another controversy, this time about the validity of the ballot papers of two deputies in a vote which was lost by the government. In the course of the debate the president of the chamber, the Social Democrat Karl Renner, incautiously resigned, and his example was followed by the two vice-presidents who belonged to different political parties. In the eyes of the chancellor, parliament had simply ceased to function, it put itself out of action by the three resignations, and he was determined to exploit the situation to the full… On the day after the resignations the leaders of the Christian Social Party met and decided to govern for the time being in an authoritarian fashion… Apparently this was not envisaged as a permanent solution; parliament was to be suspended but not to be eliminated permanently. A few days later, however, the government published a proclamation to the Austrian people which suspended certain provisions of the Constitution and indicated that parliamentary democracy had ceased to exist… Henceforth the government ruled by issuing emergency decrees…
5. This claim is not as far-fetched as it might appear on the surface. Certain ideological and tactical parallels – a collective antipathy towards political Catholicism and Austrian “reaction,” a common avowal of “socialism” and workers’ interests, the shared experience of persecution under the Dollfuss regime (which derided Communists, Social-Democrats, and National Socialists alike as “socialists”) – led to a degree of sympathy between Austrian Social-Democrats and National Socialists at a grass-roots level. This was particularly true following the failed socialist-led ‘Civil War’ of February 1934, which prompted wide-scale desertions from the Social-Democratic camp into the underground Hitler-Movement. Richard Bernaschek, a prominent leader of the Schutzbund (the Social-Democratic paramilitary) and the key figure behind the ‘Civil War’, was actually rescued from prison by National Socialist revolutionaries and smuggled into Germany, where he publicly declared that, “The programme of the National Socialists is closest to ours,” and tried to foster a policy of formal collaboration between the two groups. National Socialists for their part emphasised a mutual bond of bloodshed with the Social-Democrats, highlighting the failed putsches of both against the Austro-Fascist regime (the socialists’ February 1934 ‘Civil War’, and the July 1934 NS putsch which led to the death of Dollfuss) as their evidence. During the July putsch, armed National Socialists had even attempted to storm the Graz Messendorf concentration camp in order to liberate the Social-Democratic inmates there (imprisoned for their part in the ‘Civil War’) from their captivity.
6. The holiday referenced here is 12 November, the founding day of the First Austrian Republic. Between 1918 and 1934, November 12 was considered Austria’s national holiday, although it shared the same problems as ‘Constitution Day’ (11 August) in the Weimar Republic – it was celebrated more enthusiastically by Social-Democrats than by the rest of the population. After the February 1934 ‘Civil War’ between Social-Democrats and government forces, the Austro-Fascist regime abandoned the holiday, replacing it instead with 1 May. Already a state holiday, May Day was repurposed as Austria’s national holiday in celebration of the country’s new corporatist constitution, which was introduced on 1 May, 1934.
7. The Deutschösterreichische Tageszeitung, known affectionately among its readership as the “Dötz,” was originally founded in June 1920 as a party-organ of the Greater German People’s Party (Grossdeutsche Volkspartei, GDVP), a deutschnationale party which effectively served as the Austrian equivalent of the bourgeois-nationalist DNVP in Germany. The Dötz was very widely-read among völkisch and Pan-German audiences in Austria, and even after it cut its ties with the GDVP and formally allied itself with the “Hitler-Movement” in 1926, it still kept itself open to a broader nationalist readership. (Dr. Walter Riehl, for instance, the former chairman of the DNSAP who had resigned from the party in 1923 in protest against Hitler’s leadership decisions, and who had subsequently founded his own competing, non-Hitlerian National Socialist party in 1924, had several of his articles published in the Dötz in the late 1920s, despite his open differences with Hitler). The Dötz’s reputation, and its decision to remove the swastika from its masthead, even saw it briefly manage to avoid the Dollfuss government’s ban on Hitler-Movement publications on 19 June, 1933. The Deutschösterreichische Tageszeitung was able to hold out against the ban for another month, with editions continuing to appear until 22 July.
9. Georg Ritter von Schönerer (b.1842-d.1921) was a populist firebrand politician active in Austrian politics from the 1870s onwards. Schönerer’s politics were originally purely anti-clerical, radical-democratic, and progressive; later they would be augmented by a fanatical Pan-German nationalism and by a racial anti-Semitism, a combination of ideals which afforded Schönerer a highly-devoted following and established him as a key forerunner of National Socialism. Karl Hermann Wolf (b.1862- d.1941) was a popular Pan-German politician who split with Schönerer in 1902 and founded the competing Free Pan-German movement (later the German-Radical Party, Deutschradikale Partei). Wolf was a more moderate figure than Schönerer, avoiding some of the latter’s less congenial qualities (dictatorial megalomania, inflexibility, virulent and undiplomatic anti-Catholicism), and in the early 1900s he effectively replaced Schönerer as Germany’s most successful Pan-German politician. Like Schönerer, Wolf is also regarded as a National Socialist forerunner, although in reality the early National Socialist movement in Austria-Hungary had a complex relationship with both men.
10. Karl Lueger (b.1844 – d.1910) was a Christian-Social Party politician and the much-beloved mayor of Vienna from 1897 until his death. Like Schönerer, Lueger began his career on Austria’s political left, eventually transitioning from radical-democratic liberalism to the Catholic-oriented Christian-Social movement. Despite allying with the Pan-Germans for a period of his political career, Lueger later turned against them, reorganizing Vienna’s electoral system to disadvantage Pan-German politicians and discriminating against Pan-German (and Social-Democratic) candidates for employment within Vienna’s city administration. Lueger’s campaigns to enforce Catholic religious ideals in education also led to attempts to fire Pan-German and Social-Democratic teachers en masse, and on several occasions he enforced bans which forbade Social-Democratic and Pan-German symbols from being worn or displayed in public.
11. Within Austrian politics, the black-red-gold tricolor was originally associated with ethnic-German nationalism, a consequence of its use during the 1848 revolution by revolutionaries seeking to establish a liberal-democratic Greater German Republic. The cornflower was also used as a political symbol by German nationalists in Austria, and was explicitly employed as a party emblem by Schönerer’s Pan-Germans. The reference here to these symbols being “relinquished” to the Marxists alludes to the tricolor’s more widespread adoption by Social-Democrats following it becoming the national flag of the Weimar Republic, as well as to the fact that the Austrian Social-Democrats (who had been in favor of Anschluss prior to Hitler’s chancellorship) had at times been known to wear the cornflower themselves when demonstrating in public support of Greater Germany.
12. “Nibelung-loyalty” – in German, “Nibelungentreue.” A term describing a steadfast, passionate, and potentially fatal loyalty between two parties, derived from the story of the epic poem Nibelungenlied, in which the warrior Hagan declares a pact of mutual loyalty unto death with the Burgundian kings Gunther, Gernot, and Giselher. The concept of “Nibelung-loyalty” was originally employed in a political context by German Chancellor Bernhard von Bülow, who invoked it in a 1909 Reichstag speech to describe the unswerving loyalty motivating the German-Austrian dual alliance. The concept was invoked again, for the same purpose, by German and Austrian leaders during the Great War, which is what its use here is intended to evoke – the inference is that Austria-Hungary’s misguided loyalty to Germany led it into military defeat and a severe diminution of its territory, power, and prestige.
13. As is made clearer further on in the pamphlet, the “Reich” being referred to here is the German Confederation which preceded the creation of the German Empire and Austria-Hungary. The Confederation was a loose union of all German states in central Europe, including Austria and Prussia, with Austria serving as the nominal leader by virtue of its delegate chairing the Confederation’s cross-state Bundestag.
14. Hans Krebs (b.1888 – d.1947), a longtime National Socialist politician originally from Iglau, Moravia. Krebs first joined the Austrian German Workers’ Party (later DNSAP) in 1909 as a participant in the national labor movement, and after the War he went on to become one of a triumvirate of leaders (alongside Rudolf Jung and Hans Knirsch) within the DNSAP’s Czechoslovakian branch. Krebs was a member of the Czechoslovakian parliament in Prague from 1925 to 1933, and also served as an elected city councilor in Aussig. The claim here that he only put up “solemn denials against any notion of Anschluss” is a reference to DNSAP’s tactic of downplaying demands for Anschluss in order to try and avoid being persecuted or banned by the Czechoslovakian state. Typically the ‘loophole’ which DNSAP members employed when discussing the issue was to demand Sudeten-German “autonomy,” rather than to make outright demands for the absorption of the Sudetenland by the Reich-German state – a statement which might be regarded by Czech authorities as treasonous.
15. “Patent-Germans” – in German, “Patentdeutschen.” A pejorative directed at those especially concerned with defining “Deutschtum” (“Germanness/Germandom”) and with expounding forcefully over which cultural practices or behaviors made one “truly German” or not. The Schönerians had at times been derided as Patentdeutschen by their Christian-Social opponents.
16. “Policy of Königgrätzer” – A reference to the Battle of Königgrätzer of 3 July, 1866, in which Prussia secured its victory over Austria during the Austro-Prussian War. Austria’s defeat in the battle, and in most of the subsequent battles throughout the rest of July 1866, led to Austria conceding its loss and signing the ‘Peace of Prague’ on 23 August. This peace treaty weakened Austria territorially and rendered it the less powerful and influential German state in international affairs, with Prussia in the aftermath of the war establishing the North German Confederation (excluding Austria), which soon evolved into the German Empire.
17. The actual title of Houston Stewart Chamberlain’s most famous work is The Foundations of the Nineteenth Century (“Die Grundlagen des neunzehnten Jahrhunderts”), not “Twentieth.” I have preserved the mistake from the original text.
18. It is equally likely that inspiration for the salute came from Schönerer, whose followers had greeted one another with a raised palm and the call, “Heil!” The Pan-Germans had also called Schönerer their “Führer” or “Volksführer.” Hitler as a child was heavily influenced by Austria’s Pan-German culture, as he recounts in Mein Kampf:
I, too, while still comparatively young, had an opportunity to take part in the struggle of nationalities in old Austria. Collections were taken for the Südmark and the school association; we emphasized our convictions by wearing cornflowers and red, black, and gold colors; ‘Heil’ was our greeting, and instead of the imperial anthem we sang ‘Deutschland über Alles,’ despite all warnings.
In spite of this, the perception that the salute was a foreign imposition was one which existed even within the NSDAP, particularly among the left-wing factions, who believed that its introduction was evidence of a surfeit of Italian influence and that it augured a harmful “centralization” of the party-organization’s leadership.
19. A reference to the Czech National Social Party, originally founded in 1898 as the National Workers’ Party. The Czech National Socialists technically predated the German-Austrian National Socialists (whose Deutsche Arbeiterpartei was not founded until 1904), although the two were essentially similar at first, advocating democratic reform, moderate socialism, and Czech or German ethnic nationalism (the Czech party would stay relatively moderate throughout its history, while the Germans gradually radicalized). “Ultra-Czechs” and “Ultra-Germans” were terms occasionally used within Bohemian politics in the late 1800s and early 1900s to refer to nationalist, radical-democratic political positions taken among the German and Czech ethnic groups, similar to those of the National Socialists on both sides. Václav Klofac (b.1868 – d. 1942), Václav Choc (b.1860 – d.1942), and Václav Fresl (b.1868 – d.1915) were all leading members of the Czech National Social Party, and hence were “Ultra-Czechs.”
20. In German: “Der Mohr hat seine Schuldigkeit getan, der Mohr kann gehen.” An expression which derives from Friedrich Schiller’s 1547 tragic play, Fiesco’s Conspiracy at Genoa (“Die Verschwörung des Fiesco zu Genua”). The phrase is meant to signify that, now that somebody has served their purpose, they are no longer needed and can be dismissed or dispensed with out of hand. It has a derogatory connotation, indicating that the individual being dismissed is not being respected and is being taken advantage of.
21. A reference to völkisch writer Wilhelm Stapel’s 1932 work, “Preußen muß sein.” During the interwar era Stapel was a very highly-regarded intellectual in Germany’s völkisch and conservative-revolutionary circles, although he was never a member of the National Socialist Party (and in fact had briefly associated with the National Bolshevist camp during the early 1920s).