Monday, March 12, 2012

Remembering: Anschluss

Kurt von Schushcnigg
March 12, 1938 Hitler leads German troops into Austria, as crowds cheer on. The first country Germany invaded, went without a shot or protest from the rest of the world.

A year previously the Austrian Nazi party plotted to attempt a take over of their government. Austrian Chancellor Kurt von Schuschnigg asked Adolf Hitler to help him maintain Austria's independence, but the move back fired as Hitler pressured von Schuschnigg to appoint Nazis to his government.

On March 9, 1938 von Schuschnigg called for a vote on whether or not Austria should be annexed by Germany. But before anything could be decided Hitler upped the pressure and von Schuschnigg resigned, coerced into making a speech to the Austrian people asking them not to resist German occupation.

The next day von Schuschnigg was arrested as German troops took over the country. The Anschluss or annexation was completed peacefully. In 1945 von Schuschnigg was finally released from prison, by Allied forces, and Austria would be separated from Germany at the end of the war.