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. Continue reading