13. Anschluss or Annexation of Austria:

On March 12 1938, Austria was merged into Nazi Germany.  During this time Germany had put much pressure on Austria to perform Anschluss as well as many inside supporters for the “Heim ins Reich” movement both Nazi’s and non-Nazi’s.  Before Anchluss had occurred, Nazi Germany had provided support for the Austrian National socialist Party also known as the Austrian Nazi Party, on its way to seize power from the Austrofascist leadership.  The Chancellor of Austria, Kurt Schuschnigg, tried to create a referendum to ask the Austrian people whether they preferred to be independent from Germany, or merge with Germany.  Although Schuschnigg had expected the people of Austria to vote in favour of autonomy, the Austrian Nazi party had planned a well executed coup d’etat in which took place in the Austrian state of institutions in Vienna on March 11th.  This then caused the referendum to be cancelled and had forced Austria into Anschluss.  After the Nazi’s had held a plebiscite which asked the citizens to ratify what had already been accomplished, they received 99.73% of the vote.  Within this time period of Anschluss, no fighting had taken place and the strongest voices against the annexation, particularly Fascist Italy, France and the United Kingdom were powerless, or appeased.

Since there were millions of Germans in Austria, and the fact that Hitler was of Austrian decent, the Austrians wanted to be annexed by Germany.

The Anschluss with Austria was made a taboo in the Treaty of Versailles, yet now when Germany allied Austria, nothing was done to stop such action.

Hitler’s ambitions caused him to search else where for territory, and since the Austrians are already persuaded, Hitler decides to take over.

The merge between Austria and Germany had caused in escalation in the tension leading to WWII.  This event had escalated tension because the Treaty of Versailles had states the Anchluss will never occur between Austria and Germany which also shows the helplessness of the League of Nations.  From this, Germany was not only able to expand its territory and grow more, but it also thwarted the League of Nations and appeased Italy, France and the United Kingdom.  This in turn showed that the weakness of the League of Nations which then enabled nations to move in their conquest of expansion.  Although Austria had the opportunity of self – determination, this had little effect for the overall outcome, since Germany had put pressure on Austria not only from the outside, but they also had people in the inside which also favoured Anschluss.  Through this, Austria had no choice but to crumble into the much wanted merge between Nazi Germany and Austria. 
Germany Anschluss with Austria

Copyright ©2009 by Ben Pi, Tony Fu, Amere Huang, Jeff Fong, Edwin Li, Irena Liu SS 20IB