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The "Ostmark" - Austria in the Third Reich 1938-1945

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Stefan Wedrac

on 27 November 2017

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Transcript of The "Ostmark" - Austria in the Third Reich 1938-1945

An Interlude of a thousand years? Austria as the "Ostmark" of the German Reich
Feb 12th, 1938: Schuschnigg agrees to take Nazi politicians in the government and "mutual consent" in politics is fixated
Austrian Nazis start parading and celebrating on the streets
Schuschnigg announces a referendum about Austrian independence on March 9th
Pressure from Hitler and the Austrian Nazis: President of the Republic Miklas appoints reluctantly a Nazi chancellor (Seyss-Inquart), but Hitler had already ordered the invasion
poorly planned
population celebrates
no resistance by Austrian Army
special units immediately start cleansing
unification-law passed March 13th
plebiscite announced for April 10th
Invasion and "Anschluss" MArch 12th
Plebiscite April 10th, 1938
massive propaganda
outcome: 99,73 % in favour of the unification
Reform of the administrative structure
reorganization along Nazi party districts ("Gau")
Austrian Nazis only partly appointed for positions (Bürckel/Schirach)
gold reserves transferred to Berlin
Austria(ns) during National Socialism
Army: 17 % of the officers "retired"
Schilling exchanged for Reichsmark 3:2
about 70.000 people arrested or deported to Dachau
unemployment erased
heavy industry expanded
"Hermann Göring Works" Linz, Donawitz
tourism boosted ("Kraft durch Freude", 7 million journeys organized, 50 % of them to the "Ostmark")
immediate harassment of Austrian jews
70.000 associations dissolved
mail services and railways integrated
NS-organizations shape the life of the people
Nazi party members: 127.000 in 1938, 688.000 in 1942, of whom 43.000 were SS members (Austria: 6.8 mio inhabitants) (Germany: 62 mio inhabitants, 6.7 mio members)
Austrians in the German Wehrmacht
1.2 million in active service
over 240.000 killed in WWII
100.000 Austrians active in resistance or Allied Forces
marriage loans and mother's cross: number of births increases from 92.000 in 1937 to 154.000 in 1940
Infamous Austrians in high positions
Ernst Kaltenbrunner (1903-1946)
Chief of the RSHA, in this position responsible for the killing of 1 million jews behind the eastern front
Amon Göth (1908-1946), responsible for the death of 10.000 people as the "butcher of Plaszow"
Odilo Globocnik (1904-1945), responsible together with Adolf Eichmann for the extermination of at least 2 million polish jews
World War II and Austria
The Killing of the Austrian Jews
Nov. 9-11 1938: "November-Pogrom"
about 4000 Jewish stores destroyed, synagogues burnt to the ground
1938-1945: Emigration, then extinction
1938: over 200.000 Jews in Austria, most of them in Vienna (10% of Vienna's population)
about 65.000 killed
more than 120.000 emigrate
some thousands survive and come back
more than 60.000 appartments vacated in Vienna
Austrian concentration camp: Mauthausen
"death stairs"
main entrance
mass graves
over 330.000 prisoners
more than 120.000 killed
Feb 1945: "hare coursing": more than 400 prisoners escape, security forces, militia and local civilians kill most of them
no direct effect until 1943
no famine
1943-1945: Aerial Warfare
75.000 appartments destroyed
41 % of the railroads destroyed
120.000 t of explosives dropped
AA-forces: 16.000 men, 1.400 guns (accuracy 0.8 %)
35.000 civilians died
USAF: 12.000 raids, app. 200 bombers lost
no carpet-bombing
military, industrial and infrastructure targets
Battle of Vienna April 6-13 1945
end of March 1945: the Red Army crosses the Austrian Border
Carl Szokoll (1915-2004): Viennese contact of the Stauffenberg-group, contacts together with other officers the Red Army
30.000 German soldiers defend the city against 400.000 Russians
April 8th: St. Stephen's Cathedral on fire
almost 18.000 German and 19.000 Soviet soldiers die in house-to-house fighting
Allied forces enter Austria, April/May 1945
World War II Preparations
Germany leaves League of Nations 1933
European Appeasement policy until 1939
German Armament policy (steel prod. 1939 more than 1/2 of US, highest in Europe): general military service (1935), tanks, navy, airplanes (1935)
World War II Prelude
Saarland 1935
Rheinland 1936
Austria 1938
Sudetenland/Czech Republic 1938/39
World War II Conflict
Poland 1939 - USSR ally; FR&GB enemies ("guarantee" for Poland's existence 1939) 1939-1945 continuous air war with GB
Denmark, Norway, Netherlands, Belgium, Luxemburg and France 1940
Tripartite Pact with Japan 1940
Libya, Yugoslavia and Greece 1941
USSR 1941, Pearl harbor: USA enters the war
Stalingrad 1942
Allied invasion 1943 (Italy), 1944 (Normandy)
Red Army conquers SE Europe 1944/1945
underground movement before 1938, break 1938, double agent betrays organization to GESTAPO
Well organized, Czech headquarters, in the long run betrayed by double agents and
Priests, monks, students as small or isolated groups
armed resistance:
left-wing partisans in Styria, slovene-yugoslav partisans in carinthia
": mostly conservative-catholic catch-all movement active at the end of WWII, contacts to OSS
2.700 people executed, over ten thousand in camps
Moscow Declaration, 1943
Allied powers agree on re-establishing Austria
Austria as the "first victim"
Austria needs to contribute to liberation
Full transcript