The Austrian Resistance to the Nazi rule that started with the Anschluss in 1938 had a prehistory of socialist and communist activism against the era of Austrofascism from 1934. These activists, limited primarily to adherents of the political left, operated in isolation from the Austrian mainstream during the war years. One prominent activist was Josef Plieseis. Other strands of Austrian resistance included Catholics and monarchists. However, it is notable that several Austrian nationalists, some of them even with fascist sympathies, also resisted, opposed to the destruction of the Austrian state.
Austrian society has had an ambivalent attitude both toward the Nazi government from 1938 to 1945 and the few that actively resisted it. Since large portions of Austrian society either actively or tacitly supported the Nazi regime, the Allied forces treated Austria as a belligerent party in the war and maintained occupation of it after the Nazi capitulation. On the other hand, the Moscow Declaration labeled Austria as a free and democratic society before the war, and considered its capture an act of liberation.
Many books discuss the historical events from one perspective or another. An academic overview is given in The Resistance in Austria, 1938–1945 by Radomír Luza, University of Minnesota Press, 1984.
The sign of the Austrian resistance was O5, where the 5 stands for E and OE is the abbreviation of Österreich with Ö as OE. This sign may be seen at the Stephansdom in Vienna.
The exile community in London
The main organised exile group during the Second World War was based around the Austrian Office in London, centre to the 30,000 strong exile community. The Austrian Society, or "Austrian Office", was home to both the monarchist Austrian League and liberal Austrian Democratic Union.
- Marietta Bearman. Out of Austria: The Austrian Centre in London in World War II. London: Tauris Academic Studies, 2008. ISBN 9781441600073. "The Austrian Centre was established in London in 1939 by Austrians seeking refuge from Nazi Germany, of whom 30,000 had reached Britain by the outbreak of World War II. It soon developed into a comprehensive social, cultural and political organisation with a theatre and a weekly newspaper of its ".
- Marietta Bearman. Out of Austria: The Austrian Centre in London in World War II. London: Tauris Academic Studies, 2008. ISBN 9781441600073. "143 Seven Sisters Road, notably, was the address of the Austrian Centre's Finsbury Park branch. This ties in neatly with a minute in a Home Office file from early 1947, referring to British security reports on the ..."
- 1920-1934: The death of the Austrian left—historical study of the demise of the socialist and workers' movements in the face of the growth of fascism
- Documentation Centre of Austrian Resistance (DÖW)
- European Resistance Archive (ERA) | video interviews with members of the resistance