Austrian National Socialism

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Austrian National Socialism was a Pan-German movement that was formed at the beginning of the 20th century. The movement took a concrete form on November 15, 1903 when the German Worker's Party (DAP) was established in Austria with its secretariat stationed in the town of Aussig. It was suppressed under the rule of Engelbert Dollfuss (1932-34), with its political organization, the DNSAP ("German National Socialist Workers' Party") banned in early 1933, but revived and made part of the German Nazi Party after the German annexation of Austria in 1938.

German Worker's Party origins[edit]

Franko Stein of Eger (Cheb) and an apprentice bookbinder Ludwig Vogel of Brüx organized the Deutschnationaler Arbeiterbund (German National Workers' League) in 1893. This was a collection of laborers, apprentices, and trade unionists from the railroads, mines and textile industries, who upheld nationalism as a result of their conflicts with the non-German speaking portions of the workforce, especially in the railway systems. In 1899, Stein was able to convene a workers' congress in Eger and promulgated a 25-point program.

Another convention was called in April 1902, under the title of "German-Political Workers' Association for Austria"("Deutschpolitischer Arbeiterverein für Österreich"), in Saaz. In Aussig, on November 15, 1903, they reorganized with the new name of "Deutsche Arbeiterpartei in Österreich" (DAP) - the "German Workers' Party in Austria". At further party congresses, Hans Knirsch proposed to call themselves the "Nationalsozialistische" (National-Socialist) or "Deutsch-soziale" (German-social) Workers' Party. This proposal was blocked by the Bohemian groups, who did not want to copy the name of the Czech National Social Party. An early member of this group is Ferdinand Burschowsky, a printer from Hohenstadt (Moravia), who was active in writing and publishing.

DNSAP[edit]

At a party congress in Vienna in May 1918, the DAP changed its name to the Deutsche Nationalsozialistische Arbeiterpartei (DNSAP) and produced a National Socialist Program which is thought to have influenced the later German Nazi manifesto.

The Austrian DNSAP split into two factions in 1923, the Deutschsozialen Verein (German-Social Association) led by Dr. Walter Riehl, and the Schulz-Gruppe. After 1930, most former DNSAP members became supporters of the German NSDAP led by Austrian-born Adolf Hitler, and were one of the chief elements leading the pro-Nazi coup in 1938 that brought about the Anschluss of Austria with Germany.

Leaders of the party, who were dubbed Landesleiter due to the recognition of Hitler as overall Führer, included Alfred Proksch (1931-33), Hermann Neubacher (1935) and Josef Leopold (1936-38), although real power frequently lay with Theodor Habicht, a German sent by Hitler to oversee Nazi activity in Austria.

See also[edit]

Bibliography[edit]

  • Austrian National Socialism, Andrew Gladding Whiteside, publisher: Martinus Nijhoff, The Hague, 1962.
  • Hitler and the Forgotten Nazis: A History of Austrian National Socialism, Pauley, Bruce F., University of North Carolina Press, 1981. ISBN 0-8078-1456-3
  • Pauley, Bruce F. (1979). "From Splinter Party to Mass Movement: The Austrian Nazi Breakthrough". German Studies Review (German Studies Association) 2 (1): 7–29. doi:10.2307/1428703. JSTOR 1428703.