1933-1938 Allied Occupation
1945-1949







Austria as the "Ostmark", 1938-1945


Austrian chancellor Kurt Schuschnigg declared Austria the second German State and planned a plebiscite on the future of Austrian independence (a matter he advocated) for March 13th 1938. The day before (March 12th), German troops invaded. The Nazis had organized a cheering crowd all along the way from the German border to Vienna; the plebiscite "turned out" over 99 % in favour of the "Anschluss" (political union of Germany and Austria). .
Austria, now renamed the "Ostmark" (= Eastern March), was immediately integrated into the German state. German laws and German policy now applied to Austria as well. A wave of refugees left the country, among them writers Arnold and Stefan Zweig and psychologist Sigmund Freud. Political opponents, such as chancellor Kurt Schuschnigg, were among the ten thousands of arrested. The concentration camp of Mauthausen was established to "deal with" the large number of political prisoners.
Jews and Gypsies were ostracised from society, excluded from military and public service. Later they were deported to annihilation camps; only a minrity among them survived.
The Nazis implemented state-run infrastructure projects in Austria as well, to reduce unemployment, such as the Autobahns and Kaprun Dam.
In 1942, the expression 'Ostmark' was replaced by Alpen- und Donaugaue (Alps and Danube Districts).
The Nazi's hold on Austria became as strong as their hold on Germany. Resistance suffered from the lack of an Austrian national identity. While many Austrians opposed Nazi barbarism, acts of active resistance remained limited and isolated. On the other hand, the Nazi organizations drew considerable support from Austria; a number of leading Nazis, besides Hitler himself, were Austrians. Adolf Eichmann (born in Germany, moved to Austria when still a youth), Arthur Seyss-Inquart and Ernst Kaltenbrunner among them.
When the Sudetenland was annexed by Germany in September 1938, it's southern part was integrated into the adjacent Austrian Gaus. When Yugoslavia was dissolved, eastern and central Slovenia was integrated into the Austrian Gaus of Carinthia and Styria respectively, and a policy of Germanification implemented.

Unlike Czechoslovakia, Poland, Yugoslavia and other victims of Nazi expansionism, Austrian politicians did not form an exile government and there was no resistance movement against Nazi rule compatible to those in the other occupied countries. In the Moscow Declaration of 1943 Austria had been regarded as the first victim of Nazi aggression, but Austrians had contributed to the Nazi atrocities; Consequently, after the war Austria was treated by the Allies as a belligerent, and subjected to joint occupation by the 4 Powers. However, the Austrian Republic (constitution of 1929) was already re-established in May 1945 under a provisional government.





EXTERNAL
FILES
Library of Congress, Country Studies : Austria
Mauthausen, from remember.org; Mauthausen liberated (May 5th 1945), from History Place (illustrations)
Austrians in Exile : USA 1938-1945, from austriaculture
Document Archive of Austrian Resistance, click : English, has subfiles
Ostmark, from aeiou
Biography : Ernst Kaltenbrunner, from aeiou
DOCUMENTS Historical Population Statistics : Austria, from Population Statistics, at Univ. Utrecht
Nürnberg Charges : Ernst Kaltenbrunner, Nürnberg Judgments : Ernst Kaltenbrunner, both posted by S.D. Stein, University of the West of England
Judgment : Kaltenbrunner, from the Avalon Project at Yale Law School
Nürnberg Charges : Arthur Seyss-Inquart, Nürnberg Judgmment : Arthur Seyss-Inquart, both posted by S.D. Stein, University of the West of England
Judgment : Seyss-Inquart, from the Avalon Project at Yale Law School
Primary Sources of 20th Century Austrian History, from Zeitgeschichte International System : Resistance, Persecution and Forced Labour, 1938-1945; The Home Front : from "The Ostmark" to the "Alpen- und Donaugaue"
Ludwig Sertorius, With German Soldiers in Liberated Austria, from German Propaganda Archive at Calvin College
Images from Chronik 2000 Bilddatenbank : Ernst Kaltenbrunner, Head of Germany's Geheimdienst (Secret Service)
Lotte's Story : Rationing, from Stories from the 1940's, on Austria 1940
Lotte's Story : Vienna schooldays 1938-1945, from Stories from the 1940's
Lotte's Story : Youth Organisations, from Stories from the 1940's , on HJ and BDM
Lotte's Story : Organized Antisemitism, from Stories from the 1940's
Wien im Rückblick (Vienna in Retrospect), summaries of events, on a day-by-day basis, in Vienna 1945-1961, from Wiens Web Service, in German : January 1945, February 1945, March 1945, April 1945, May 1945 in German, secondary sources
Images : Adolf Hitler visits his homeland, posted by Geoff Walden
REFERENCE Book List on Austria under National Socialism, from Nationalsozialismus in Österreich, titles in German
Article : Austria, in : Americana Annual 1939 pp.70-71, 1945 pp.74-75, 1946 pp.82-85 [G]
Article : Austria, in : Britannica Book of the Year 1945 pp.75-76 (on events of 1944) [G]
Article : Austria, in : New International Year Book 1939 pp.57-58, (Events on) 1940 pp.51-52, 1941 pp.50-51, 1942 pp.58-59, 1943 p.53, 1944 pp.56-57, 1945 pp.54-56 [G]
Article : Austria, in : Funk & Wagnall's New Standard Encyclopedia Year Book 1939 pp.49-50, 1940 p.49, 1941 p.54, 1942 p.52, 1943 pp.58-59, 1944 pp.43-44 [G]



This page is part of World History at KMLA
First posted in 2000, last revised on March 4th 2007

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