18 May 2023

What is Anschluss? – Know the meaning of this term in the SGM

By Donald

The word ‘Anschluss’ refers to the union or annexation of Austria to Nazi Germany in 1938. The German term ‘Anschluss’ literally means ‘connection’ or ‘union’. It was an important historical event that took place during the expansion period of the Third Reich under the leadership of Adolf Hitler.

The Anschluss was the result of Nazi efforts to unify all German-language speakers in one state, which implied the incorporation of Austria into Germany. Taking advantage of the political and economic instability in Austria, Hitler pressured Austrian Chancellor Kurt Schuschnigg to allow the entry of the Nazis into the Austrian government and to organize a referendum on union with Germany.

What was the Anschluss?

The Anschluss refers specifically to the annexation or union of Austria to Germany that took place on March 12, 1938. It was a historical event that was carried out by Nazism under the leadership of Adolf Hitler.

The Anschluss was the result of Hitler’s expansionist policy and his goal of unifying all German-language speakers into one state. Since the establishment of the Nazi Party in Germany, the desire to incorporate Austria into the German nation was a fundamental part of Nazi ideology. Hitler considered Austria as part of the ‘Greater Germany’ and defended the union of both countries.

In the years leading up to the Anschluss, relations between Austria and Germany were affected by political and economic tensions. In 1934, Austria had tried establish your own authoritarian system, but the resulting government proved weak and divisive. Taking advantage of these weaknesses, the Austrian and German Nazis began to push for the annexation of Vienna (Austria).

When was the Anschluss?

The Anschluss, the annexation of Austria to Germany, it happened on March 12, 1938. That day, German troops entered Austria without meeting significant resistance, and Adolf Hitler was enthusiastically received by many Austrians who supported union with Germany.

The referendum on annexation, which was rigged by the Nazis, was held on April 10, 1938, and showed overwhelming support for the union. Thus the Anschluss was completed in April 1938, marking the end of Austrian independence and its incorporation into the Third Reich.

Consequences of the annexation of Germany and Austria

The annexation of Austria by Germany, known as the Anschluss, had major consequences for both Germany and Austria as for the political situation in Europe.

  • Strengthening of the Nazi regime: The Anschluss allowed Adolf Hitler to consolidate his power in Germany and strengthen the nazi regime. The annexation of Austria was celebrated as a victory for the Third Reich and increased popular support for Hitler.
  • Loss of Austrian independence: With the Anschluss, Austria lost its sovereignty and independence and became an integral part of Germany. The country was brought under the control and domination of the Nazi regime, which had a significant impact on the political, social and cultural life austrian
  • suppression of opposition: After the Anschluss, the Nazi regime eliminated all forms of opposition and dissent in Austria. They took place mass arrests, detentions and persecutions of those considered opponents of the regime.
  • Violation of the Treaty of Versailles: The annexation of Austria by Germany violated the Treaty of Versailles of 1919, which had established the conditions of peace after the First World War. This action highlighted Germany’s unwillingness to comply with the provisions of the treaty and caused concern in the international community.
  • Increased international tensions: The Anschluss increased tensions in Europe and contributed to a climate of political and military instability. Western powers, such as the United Kingdom and France, were concerned about territorial expansion and Hitler’s ambitions, which led to a hardening of his stance towards Germany.
  • Preparation for World War II: The Anschluss was an important precursor to World War II. The annexation of Austria showed Hitler’s willingness and ability to carry out annexations and territorial expansion aggressively. Furthermore, it set a precedent for future German annexations and occupations in Europe.

When did Germany and Austria separate?

The separation of Germany and Austria occurred after the defeat of Germany in World War II and the occupation of both countries by the Allied Powers. Beginning in 1945, a series of processes and agreements took place that led to the independence and restoration of Austria as a separate sovereign state from Germany. The main stages of this separation were the following:

  • allied occupation: After the surrender of Germany in May 1945, allied forces (mainly the United States, the United Kingdom, France and the Soviet Union) occupied Germany and Austria. Each occupying country took control of different regions of both countries.
  • Austrian State Treaty: In 1955, the Austrian State Treaty was signed between the Allied Powers and Austria. This treaty restored the full sovereignty of Austria and provided for its permanent neutrality. As part of the agreement, Austria pledged not to seek unification with Germany and to remain a separate, independent state.
  • Reestablishment of the Federal Republic of Germany: West Germany, under Allied occupation, began its process of rebuilding and restoring democracy after the war. In 1949 the Federal Republic of Germany was founded as a separate sovereign state of Austria and with capital in Bonn.
  • East Germany and reunification: For its part, East Germany (German Democratic Republic) was established as a separate socialist state under the influence of the Soviet Union. It was not until 1990, after the fall of the Berlin Wall and the political changes in Eastern Europe, that the reunification of Germany was achieved. Official reunification occurred on October 3, 1990, when East Germany was integrated into the Federal Republic of Germany.