Talk:First Republic of Austria

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Spelling of Dollfuß (Dollfuss)[edit]

In my view, an article written in English should use commonly accepted English spellings of proper names, especially when the foreign spelling contains a letter that does not appear in the English alphabet.John Paul Parks (talk) 14:46, 9 November 2013 (UTC)

Austrian histories series[edit]

Y isnt this article in Austrian history series? Luka Jačov 13:05, 1 December 2005 (UTC)

Library of Congress[edit]

Public domain information from the Library of Congress Country Studies:[1]

The Foundation of the First Republic Although the SDAP was the smallest of the three parliamentary blocs, it received a preeminent role in the postwar provisional government because it was perceived as best able to maintain public order in the face of the revolutionary situation created by economic collapse and military defeat. With Bauer's Marxist rhetoric and the party's strong ties to organized labor, the SDAP was able to outmaneuver the KPึ for control and direction of workers' and soldiers' councils that sprang up in imitation of the revolutionary government in Russia. The SDAP suppressed the old imperial army and founded a new military force, the Volkswehr (People's Defense), under SDAP control, to contain revolutionary agitation and guard against bourgeois counterrevolution.

When parliamentary elections were held in February 1919, the SDAP won 40.8 percent of the vote, compared with 35.9 percent for the CSP and 20.8 percent for the Nationals. As a result, the Nationals withdrew from the coalition and left a SDAP-CSP government headed by Renner to negotiate a settlement to the war and write a constitution. At the peace talks in the Paris suburb of St. Germain, however, the Allies allowed no meaningful negotiations because Austria-Hungary had surrendered unconditionally. The Allies had decided that Austria was a successor state to Austria-Hungary, so the treaty contained a war-guilt and war-reparations clause and limitations on the size of Austria's military. Although the provisional government had declared the Austrian state to be a constituent state of the German republic, the treaty barred Austria from joining Germany without the consent of the League of Nations and compelled the new state to call itself the Republic of Austria rather than the German-Austrian Republic. After Austria's parliament approved these unexpectedly harsh terms, the Treaty of St. Germain was signed on September 10, 1919.

In setting the territorial boundaries of the Austrian state, sometimes referred to as the First Republic, the Allies were faced with the basic problem of carving a nation-state out of an empire in which ethnic groups did not live within compact and distinct boundaries. Austria received the contiguous German or German-dominated territories of Upper Austria, Lower Austria, Styria, Carinthia, Tirol (north of the Brenner Pass), Salzburg, and Vorarlberg, as well as a slice of western Hungary that became the province of Burgenland. Under the empire, however, no specifically "Austrian" identity or nationalism had ever developed among these provinces. Thus, despite a common language and historical ties through the Habsburg Dynasty, pressure from the Allies was necessary to keep even these contiguous areas together.

Although geographically contiguous and ethnically German, South Tirol was transferred to Italy as promised by the Allies when Italy joined the war. The Sudeten Germans were not geographically contiguous and could not be included in the new Austrian state. As a result, the Sudeten Germans were incorporated in the new Czechoslovakia. Austria's population numbered 6.5 million, as against Czechoslovakia's 11.8 million, of whom 3.1 million were ethnic Germans.

The constitution of 1920 established a bicameral parliament, with a lower house, the Nationalrat (National Council) elected directly by universal adult suffrage, and an upper house, the Bundesrat (Federal Council) elected indirectly by the provincial assemblies (see Government Institutions , ch. 4). In accordance with the SDAP desire for a centralized state, real political power was concentrated in the Nationalrat. Significantly, however, none of the three major parties was truly committed to the state and institutions established by the constitution. The SDAP goal was an Austria united with a socialist Germany, and the party's inflammatory Marxist rhetoric caused the other parties to fear that the SDAP could not be trusted to maintain democratic institutions if it ever achieved a parliamentary majority. Although the CSP under Seipel came closest to accepting the idea of an independent Austria, it preferred a monarchy over a republic. Seipel himself voiced increasingly antidemocratic sentiments as the decade advanced. The Nationals were fundamentally opposed to the existence of an independent Austrian state and desired unification with Germany.

Overview of the Political Camps Conditioned to view themselves as the ruling elite of a supranational empire by virtue of what they regarded as their superior German culture, German Austrians (including assimilated Jews and Slavs) were the national group least prepared for a post-Habsburg state. The provisional government formed at the end of the war included representatives from three political groups: the Nationalists/Liberals, the Christian Social Party (Christlichsoziale Partei--CSP), and the Social Democratic Workers' Party (Sozialdemokratische Arbeiterpartei--SDAP). These three groups dominated political life in interwar Austria and reflected the split of Austrian society into three camps: pan-German nationalists, Catholics and Christian Socials, and Marxists and Social Democrats.

The parliamentary bloc represented by the Nationalists/Liberals was the smallest and most internally divided. Seventeen nationalist groups were unified in the Greater German People's Party (Grossdeutsche Volkspartei), commonly called the Nationals, which described itself as a "national-anti- Semitic, social libertarian party." The political heirs of the Liberals, the Nationals drew their support from the urban middle class and retained liberalism's strong anticlerical views. Unification (Anschluss) with Germany was the Nationals' key objective, and they were cool, if not openly hostile, toward restoration of the Habsburg Dynasty to rule in Austria. In rural Austria, another party, the Agrarian League (Landbund), endorsed a nationalist program in conjunction with a corporatist and antiSemitic platform. Radical nationalists were few in number, and some, Adolf Hitler, for example, had emigrated to Germany. The National Socialist German Workers' Party (National-Sozialistische Deutsche Arbeiterpartei--NSDAP or Nazi Party) represented this segment of the nationalist movement but was numerically insignificant during the 1920s.

The NSDAP originated in prewar Bohemia, where the German Workers' Party (Deutsche Arbeiterpartei) drew on a virulently racist movement headed by Georg von Sch๖nerer to put together an anti-Semitic, anti-Slav nationalist program hostile toward capitalism, liberalism, Marxism, and clericalism. In 1918 the party changed its name to the National Socialist German Workers' Party. After World War I, the party split into two wings, one in Czechoslovakia among Sudeten Germans (German Austrians of Bohemia, Moravia, and Silesia), and one in Austria. A similar party was founded in Germany and eventually came under the leadership of Hitler. Although the Austrian party leader favored parliamentary participation and internal party democracy in contrast to Hitler's antiparliamentarianism and emphasis on the "leadership principle," the Austrian and German parties united in 1926 but maintained separate national organizations.

The original Christian Social Party (Christlichsozial Partei- -CSP) had merged with one of the rural-based clerical parties in 1907 and had become more conservative in outlook. Because the church had lost the political protection of the Habsburg Dynasty with the collapse of the monarchy in 1918, the church was increasingly reliant on the political power of the CSP to protect its interests. Nevertheless, the church hierarchy, which was distrustful of parliamentary democracy, remained cool toward the CSP.

During the 1920s and early 1930s, the CSP was dominated by Ignaz Seipel, a priest and theologian who had served in the last imperial ministry. The party was well disposed toward the Habsburg Dynasty and inclined toward its restoration under a conservative, constitutional monarchy. The CSP gave only conditional support for unification with Germany and emphasized Austria's distinct mission as a Christian German nation. In light of public opinion favoring unification, however, the party was circumspect in voicing its doubts. The CSP inherited an antiSemitic strain from its association with the prewar nationalist movement. In addition, the close identification of Jews with both liberalism and socialism, which were the ideological foes of the CSP, made anti-Semitism an easy way to cultivate a political base.

The Social Democratic Workers' Party (Sozialdemokratische Arbeiterpartei--SDAP) endorsed a revisionist Marxist program. Although it spoke of the dictatorship of the proletariat, it sought to gain power through the ballot box, not through revolution. Karl Renner, who headed the provisional government, was the chief spokesman for this revisionist program after the war, but leadership of the party was held by Otto Bauer, who vocally supported a more radical, left-wing position. Bauer's rhetoric helped the party outflank the Austrian Communist Party (Kommunistische Partei ึsterreichs--KPึ). But because CSP leader Seipel was given to similarly strong rhetoric, the two contributed to the polarization of Austrian society. The Social Democrats (members of the SDAP), were strong supporters of unification with Germany, their fervor declining only with the rise of the Nazi regime in the early 1930s. Political Life of the 1920s and Early 1930s With traditional sources of food and coal located across new national borders, Austria suffered extreme economic dislocation, and the country's economic viability was in doubt. Moreover, having settled the immediate questions of the peace treaty and constitution, the SDAP and CSP found it increasingly difficult to cooperate. Unfortunately, the October 1920 parliamentary elections did not provide the basis for a stable government. The CSP increased its share of the vote to 41.8 percent, while the SDAP declined to 36.0 percent and the Nationals to 17.2 percent. Seipel tried to form an antisocialist coalition with the Nationals, but that party was not yet prepared to set aside its own ideological differences with the CSP. Weak, neutral governments guided the country for the next two years.

In 1922 Seipel assumed the office of chancellor (prime minister). By adroitly manipulating the European political situation and accepting renewed prohibitions on union with Germany, he managed to obtain foreign loans to launch an economic stabilization plan. Although the plan stabilized the currency and set state finances on a sound course, it provided no solution to the underlying economic problems and dislocation, and it extracted a high social cost by cutting government social programs and raising taxes.

Otto Bauer, leader of the SDAP, kept the party in self-imposed isolation after the collapse of the initial SDAP-CSP coalition in the belief that the natural role for a socialist party in a bourgeois democracy was opposition. Thus, Seipel remained the key public figure in Austrian national politics throughout the 1920s, even though he did not continuously serve as chancellor. Nevertheless, the CSP was not able to win an outright majority in the Nationalrat, and the SDAP registered steady gains among voters, polling 41 percent of the vote in 1927 against 55 percent of the CSP-National coalition. Vienna, which was given the status of a province under the 1920 constitution, was the SDAP stronghold. Vienna's city government of Social Democrats purposely sought to make health and housing programs and socialist-inspired "workers' culture" of "Red Vienna" a model for the rest of Austria.

Although the CSP had secured the suppression of the SDAPcontrolled Volkswehr in 1922 when a more traditional army was established, the SDAP responded by forming the Republikanischer Schutzbund (Republican Defense League). Well armed and well trained, it numbered some 80,000 members by the early 1930s. Of even greater political significance, however, were the provincial-based homeland militias, variously called the Heimwehr (Home Guard) and the Heimatschutz (Homeland Defense). Independently organized, these militias initially lacked any overarching political ideology except anti-Marxism. Until 1927 they were not an effective political force and were viewed by many, including Seipel, as a military reserve supplementing inadequate military and police forces. In the late 1920s, however, the Heimwehr gained greater ideological coherence from contact with Italian fascism. But with the exception of the Styrian branch, the Heimwehr was unable to bridge differences with Austrian Nazis. For this reason, the Heimwehr leader, Prince Ernst Rdiger von Starhemberg, founded a Heimwehr political wing, the Heimatbloc (Homeland Bloc), in 1930.

In the parliamentary election of 1930, the CSP experienced a severe setback, winning only sixty-six seats to the SDAP's seventy-two. The Heimatbloc picked up the seven seats lost by the CSP. Although the CSP-National coalition had broken down in the late 1920s, a new government was formed that combined the CSP with the Nationals and the peasant-based Landbund. Eager for a political success to bolster its popular support, the government began negotiations with Germany for a customs union in March 1931. When France learned of the negotiations, however, it immediately denounced the proposal as a violation of the international ban on Austrian-German unification. Under severe diplomatic pressure, Austria and Germany were forced to drop their plans, but not before France's economic retaliation had led to the collapse of Austria's largest bank, the Creditanstalt, in June 1931.

In the wake of this foreign policy and economic disaster, Seipel sought a new coalition between the CSP and the SDAP but was rebuffed. With no other alternative, Seipel resurrected the CSP-National coalition. The growing political strength of the Nazis in Germany and the worsening economic conditions marked by the rise in unemployment from about 280,000 in 1929 to nearly 600,000 in 1933, however, were effecting a political realignment in Austria. In the spring of 1932, the Austrian branch of the Nazi Party registered important gains in local elections. Although the CSP lost important segments of its constituency to the Nazis, the parties in the nationalist camp suffered greater defections, especially after Nazi triumphs in Germany in early 1933. Austrian elections were increasingly three-way contests among the CSP, the SDAP, and the Nazi Party.

Austria The End of Constitutional Rule In May 1932, a new cabinet was formed under the leadership of Engelbert Dollfuss, a CSP member. Dollfuss's coalition, composed of the CSP, the Landbund, and the Heimatbloc, had a one-vote majority. Both the SDAP and the Nazi Party pressed for new elections, but Dollfuss refused, fearing defeat. Instead, he sought support from fascist Italy and the Heimwehr and increasingly relied on authoritarian measures to maintain his government.

In early March 1933, parliamentary maneuvering by the SDAP, which was trying to block government action against a pro-Nazi labor union, created a procedural crisis in the Nationalrat. Urged on by the Italian dictator, Benito Mussolini, Dollfuss exploited the confusion in the Nationalrat to end parliamentary government and began governing on the basis of a 1917 emergency law. Dollfuss outlawed the Nazi Party, the politically insignificant KPึ, and the Republikanischer Schutzbund. All, however, continued to exist underground.

Seeking a firmer political footing than that offered by Italy and the coercive power of the police, military, and Heimwehr, Dollfuss formed the Fatherland Front (Vaterlไndische Front) in May 1933. The front was intended to displace the existing political parties and rally broad public support for Dollfuss's vision of a specifically Austrian nationalism closely tied to the country's Catholic identity. Dollfuss rejected union with Germany, preferring instead to see Austria resume its historical role as the Central European bulwark of Christian German culture against Nazism and communism. In September 1933, Dollfuss announced plans to organize Austria constitutionally as a Catholic, German, corporatist state.

The opportunity to put the corporatist constitution in place came after a failed socialist uprising in February 1934 triggered by a police search for Schutzbund weapons in Linz. An unsuccessful general strike followed, along with artillery attacks by the army on a Vienna housing project. Within four days, the socialist rebellion was crushed. Both the SDAP and its affiliated trade unions were banned, and key leaders were arrested or fled the country. Dollfuss's constitution was promulgated in May 1934, and the Fatherland Front became the only legal political organization. Austrian society, however, remained divided into three camps: the nationalist bloc that was associated with the Heimwehr and the bloc represented by the CSP struggled for control of the Fatherland Front; the socialist bloc fell back on passive resistance; and the nationalist bloc dominated by the Nazis boldly conspired against the state with support from Germany.

Although a variety of political labels have been applied to the Dollfuss regime, it eludes simple classification. Its ideology harked back to early religious and romantic political critiques of liberal democracy and socialism. The regime incorporated many elements of European fascism, but it lacked two features widely viewed as essential to fascism: adherence to the "leadership principle," and a mass political base. In any event, the complex corporatist structures of the 1934 constitution, in which citizens participated in society on the basis of occupation and not as individuals, were never fully implemented. And the regime's relations with the Roman Catholic Church were never as straightforward as the regime's ideology suggested. Although the incorporation of a new concordat with the Vatican in the 1934 constitution bespoke harmony between church and state, in practice the concordat became the bulwark on which the church claimed its autonomous rights. Long-standing rivalries between church and state actually intensified as state-affiliated organizations intruded on what the church viewed as its interests in youth, family, and educational policies and organizations.

Growing German Pressure on Austria In June 1934, Hitler and Mussolini had their first meeting. Mussolini defended his support of Dollfuss, while Hitler denied any intent to annex Austria but made clear his desire to see Austria in Germany's sphere of influence. Austrian Nazis, however, were embarked on a more radical course. They conspired to seize top government officials and force the appointment of a Nazi-dominated government.

The Dollfuss government learned of these plans before the putsch began on July 25 but did not make adequate preparations. Although the army and the Heimwehr remained loyal and the coup failed, Dollfuss was killed. Strong international indignation over the putsch forced Hitler to rein in the Austrian Nazis, but Hitler's goal remained the eventual annexation (Anschluss) of Austria.

Dollfuss was succeeded as chancellor by Kurt von Schuschnigg, another of Seipel's CSP prot้g้s. Schuschnigg's political survival directly depended on Italian support for an independent Austria, but by 1935 Mussolini was already moving toward accommodation with Hitler and began to advise Schuschnigg to do the same. Schuschnigg was in fact prepared to make concessions to Germany, if Hitler in turn would make a clear statement recognizing Austrian independence.

Schuschnigg, however, did not understand the degree to which even moderate nationalists, whose support he needed, were already operating as fronts for Hitler and the Nazis. Thus, in the agreement signed with Germany on July 11, 1936, Hitler gave Austria essentially worthless pledges of Austrian independence and sovereignty, while Schuschnigg agreed to bring into his government members of the "National Opposition," who, unbeknownst to him, were taking their orders from Berlin.

The 1936 agreement furthered Germany's desire to isolate Austria diplomatically and encouraged other European countries to view Austrian-German relations as a purely internal affair of the German people. Bereft of external support and in no position to resist German pressure, Schuschnigg agreed to meet Hitler in Berchtesgaden on February 12, 1938. Hitler used the meeting to intimidate the Austrians with an implicit threat of military invasion, and Schuschnigg accepted a list of demands designed to strengthen the political position of the Austrian Nazis. Although the list did not include the legalization of Austria's Nazi Party, the Nazis and their sympathizers began to come into the open.

On his return to Vienna, Schuschnigg began secret plans for one last desperate bid to preserve Austrian sovereignty: a plebiscite designed to secure a yes vote "for a free and German, independent and social, for a Christian and united Austria, for peace and work and equality of all who declare themselves for Nation and Fatherland." Representatives of the SDAP agreed to call a plebiscite in exchange for various concessions.

Hitler recognized that the plebiscite would be a new obstacle to Anschluss and symbolic defeat for Nazi Germany, so he quickly moved against it. The German army began preparing for an invasion on March 10, and Nazi sympathizers in the Austrian cabinet demanded that the plebiscite be postponed. Schuschnigg agreed to cancel it altogether and then acceded to demands for his resignation. Nonetheless, on March 12, Hitler sent the German army into Austria. —The preceding unsigned comment was added by Olessi (talkcontribs) 18:44, 23 January 2007 (UTC).

Two mistakes in the Infobox[edit]

There are two mistakes in the Infobox: A) the coat of arms is not correct, there were no broken chains around the eagles legs during the first republic. They were added after WW2 symbolizing the liberation from Nazi-occupation. B) the legislative as it is shown here belongs to the Austro-Hungarian Empire. First Austrian Republic had todays constitution with two chambers, Nationalrat (National Council) and Bundesrat (Federal Council). Could somebody correct this? I tried to, but it seems I don't understand en: Wikiboxes. Greetings --Uwaga budowa 20:01, 9 June 2007 (UTC)

German population of the Austrian empire who found themselves in non-german-speaking countries[edit]

This article is quite unacceptable! After the First World War one third of the German population of the Austrian empire found themselves in non-german-speaking countries, mainly the Czechoslovakia, but also Italy, Hungaria, Slovenia and Romania. This was quite contradictionary to what had been promised in Wilson's 14 points and was on of the most important political topics of the time. As it stands the article has to be seen as anti-German (or anti-Austrian, your choice) propaganda and is so misleading that it wouldn't be missed if deleted. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 10:56, August 27, 2007 (UTC)


I quote from the article "It was prevented from being taken by the new SHS-state through a plebiscite on October 20, 1920,....". What is this SHS state? There's no link on it. Jatrius 21:27, 27 September 2007 (UTC)

Fair use rationale for Image:Schuschnigg.jpg[edit]

Nuvola apps important.svg

Image:Schuschnigg.jpg is being used on this article. I notice the image page specifies that the image is being used under fair use but there is no explanation or rationale as to why its use in this Wikipedia article constitutes fair use. In addition to the boilerplate fair use template, you must also write out on the image description page a specific explanation or rationale for why using this image in each article is consistent with fair use.

Please go to the image description page and edit it to include a fair use rationale. Using one of the templates at Wikipedia:Fair use rationale guideline is an easy way to insure that your image is in compliance with Wikipedia policy, but remember that you must complete the template. Do not simply insert a blank template on an image page.

If there is other fair use media, consider checking that you have specified the fair use rationale on the other images used on this page. Note that any fair use images lacking such an explanation can be deleted one week after being tagged, as described on criteria for speedy deletion. If you have any questions please ask them at the Media copyright questions page. Thank you.

BetacommandBot (talk) 04:51, 24 January 2008 (UTC)

Client state of Italy[edit]

I've noticed several issues. First of all, there are two articles, First Austrian Republic (about Austrian state between 1919 and 1934) and Federal State of Austria (about Austrian state between 1934 and 1938). But, the talk page of the second article, (Talk:Federal State of Austria) redirects to the talk page of the first article!? And it is like that since 2012, as I can see in the article's history. The other problem I've noticed is that main infoboxes of both articles claim that Austria was a "Client state of Italy". The source of the information is cited in both articles as a book titled "Italy: a short history" by Harry Hearder and Jonathan Morris. This information was inserted into both articles by User:R-41 (in 2011 and 2012), who is under indefinite block since 1 June 2013. I am not expert in history, but this sounds as a joke to me. On the other hand, I can't believe that such an obvious vandalism was not noticed for almost three years!? Although I believe this to be vandalism, I do not have the cited book to verify the information, so I do not want to simply deleted it. I propose this "client state" information to be removed from both articles, and the Talk:Federal State of Austria to be edited, so not to be a redirect. Vanjagenije (talk) 22:13, 12 January 2014 (UTC)

I was invited by the bot, but this looks more like something that needs 1 editor to do some research and fix things accordingly than a typical RFC situation. Sincerely, North8000 (talk) 20:04, 27 January 2014 (UTC)
Agree -This doesn't need an RfC. Just fix the vandalism without waiting for comments. (talk) 01:51, 7 February 2014 (UTC)