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Published online by Cambridge University Press: 10 February 2009
Until recently students of fascism have paid relatively little attention to Austria. This neglect is unfortunate since the country's geographic position exposed it to the crosscurrents of both Italian and German forms of fascism and made Austria a kind of microcosm of European fascism. The struggle between Nazi Germany and Fascist Italy for control of the small Alpine Republic was reflected in Austria in the conflict between the pro-Italian Heimwehr and the pro-German Austrian National Socialist Party.
For further details see the author's book, Hahnenschwanz und Hakenkreuz. Steirischer Heimatschutz und österreichischer Nalionalsozialismus 1918–1934 (Vienna: Europa Verlag, 1972). The author is currently writing a collaborative book on the Austrian Nazi Party under the tentative title, “Hitler and the Forgotten Nazis. National Socialism in Austria and Czechoslovakia.” Research for the present article was made possible by a Fulbright-Hays fellowship for study in Graz in 1963–1964. Supplemental research in 1972 was funded by the National Endowment for the Humanities and the American Philosophical Society.
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17 For an excellent account of Heimwehr activities during these “missing years,” see Edmondson, “Early Heimwehr Aims and Activities,” pp. 128–134. Edmondson cites the Tyrol as another center of Heimwehr activity. Ibid., p. 130.
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22 Waite, Robert G. L., Vanguard of Nazism: The Free Corps Movement in Postwar Germany, 1918–1923 (Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 1952), p. 43Google Scholar.
24 The New York Times, December 2, 1928, p. 4; testimony of Dr. (jur.) Kurt Kienzl, Vernehmung des Beschuldigten, January 20, 1947, Strafsachen, Landesgericht für, “Kammerhofer-Prozess” (Graz, 1949)Google Scholar. The Kammerhofer papers consist of a number of documents and testimony gathered by the police for the trial of Konstantin Kammerhofer, Walter Pfrimer's successor as leader of the Heimatschutz.
25 The Styrian Heimatschutz received 64,000 votes in the national elections of November, 1930. However, the elections took place when the Heimatschutz was already past its peak, and some members no doubt voted for the Christian Social Party. Der Panther, November 15, 1930, p. 3.
26 The figure was given to the author by Pfrimer in an interview at Judenburg on July 2, 1964.
27 The Heimwehr received 227,000 votes in the November, 1930, elections. See Gulick, , Austria from Habsburg to Hitler, Vol. II: Fascism's Subversion of Democracy, p. 914Google Scholar; and Die Volksstimme (Linz), November 15, 1930, pp. 3–4.
28 Pfrimer thought that the Austrian Heimwehr had between 300,000 and 400,000 followers. Interview with the author at Judenburg on July 2, 1964.
29 Macartney, C. A., “The Armed Formations in Austria,” International Affairs, Vol. VIII (November, 1929), p. 627Google Scholar.
30 Pfrimer's figures, as given in his interview with the author at Judenburg on July 2, 1964.
31 The main task of the Frauenhilfsgruppen was to educate Heimatschutz children in the organization's military ideals (loyalty, obedience, honesty, self-discipline, etc.) and to protect them against being “infected” by Marxian ideology. The Heimwehr also established kindergartens, organized clothing drives, gave assistance to the unemployed, put on programs to raise money, guarded against pornography in motion pictures and literature, and assisted the Heimatschutz leadership school. A Weiss-grünes Jungvolk was founded for children, and Heimatschutz-Hochschulgruppen were formed for universityaged students. For an account of the various subsidiaries of the Heimatschutz see Kogelnik, , Österreichisches Heimatschutz-Jahrbuch 1933, pp. 150–155Google Scholar.
33 The New York Times, December 2, 1928, p. 4.
34 Kondert, , “The Rise and Early History of the Heimwehr,” p. 100Google Scholar; excerpts from Die Slunde, November 14, 1929, and March 10,1931, in the Tagblatt Archiv (Vienna), folder entitled “Heimwehr, Finanzierung.”
35 In Styria Heimatschutz members paid all their own expenses while the organization was still in its infancy. However, it did not take long for the heavy industries of northern Styria, above all the Alpine Montan, to recognize the potential value of the anti-socialist paramilitary formation in their midst. In 1921 the Heimatschutz was given five million Austrian crowns (at that time equal to about seven or eight thousand dollars), which sum was used to buy uniforms and a few automobiles. In the 1920's the annual reports of the Manufacturers' Association of Styria revealed a steady source of income for the Heimatschutz. In 1930, when Der Panther began its publication, it, too, was supported by contributions from industry. According to Pfrimer, no one received a salary, although a few of the poorest members were given small subsidies. Pfrimer's interview with the author at Judenburg on July 2,1964. See also Gulick, , Austria from Habsburg to Hitler, Vol. I, pp. 128–129; and Vol. II, pp. 8–9Google Scholar.
36 Kerekes, Lajos, “Akten zu den Verbindungen zwischen der Bethlen-Regierung und der österreichischen Heimwehrbewegung,” Acta Historica, Vol. XI (1965), pp. 299–339Google Scholar, especially p. 299.
37 Winkler, Franz, Die Diklatur in Öslerreich (Zürich: Orell, 1935), p. 28Google Scholar; Kerekes, Lajos, “Italien, Ungarn und die österreichische Heimwehr-Bewegung 1928–1931,” Österreich in Geschichte und Literatur, Vol. IX (January, 1965), pp. 1–2 and 4Google Scholar. There is also some evidence that money was reaching the Heimwehr from Germany before the end of the 1920's. C. A. Macartney wrote in 1929 that the German Stahlhelm was supporting the Heimwehr. See his “The Armed Formations of Austria,” p. 630. The New York Times reported (see May 10, 1929, issue, p. 10) that Austrian socialists had claimed that 60,000 marks had reached the Heimwehr either by way of the German Foreign Office or by that of the Foreign Office of the German Nationalist Society, the Deutsche Schulzbund.
39 Schweiger, Franz, “Geschichte der Niederösterreichischen Heimwehr von 1928 bis 1930, mit besonderen Berücksichtigung des sogenannten ‘Korneuburger Eides’ (18. Mai 1930)” (unpublished doctoral dissertation, University of Vienna, 1964), pp. 219 and 226Google Scholar; Edmondson, , “The Heimwehr and Austrian Politics, 1918–1934,” pp. 49 and 126Google Scholar; Steidle's memorandum for the Hungarian and Italian governments, Innsbruck, May 23, 1928, in Kerekes, , “Akten zu den Verbindungen zwischen der Bethlen-Regierung und der österreichischen Heimwehrbewegung,” p. 309Google Scholar.
40 See Haag, John, “Othmar Spann and the Politics of ‘Totality’: Corporativism in Theory and Practice” (unpublished doctoral dissertation, Rice University, 1969), pp. 110–111Google Scholar.
42 Jedlicka, , “The Austrian Heimwehr,” p. 139Google Scholar. For a translated copy of the whole Korneuburg Oath, see ibid., pp. 138–139. Pfrimer told the author that he had been influenced by Spann and his student, Walter Heinrich. See also Jedlicka, Ludwig, “Zur Vorgeschichte des Korneuburger Eides (18. Mai 1930),” Ouml;sterreich in Geschichte und Literatur, Vol. VII (April, 1963), p. 151Google Scholar.
43 Berghahn, Volker R., Der Stahlhelm. Bundder Frontsoldaten 1918–1935 (Düsseldorf: Droste-Verlag, 1966), pp. 7 and 275Google Scholar.
44 On the very day the Oath was announced in Korneuburg, Pfrimer told a cheering Heimatschutz audience that “here in Austria only fascism can now save us.” Jedlicka, , “The Austrian Heimwehr,” p. 139Google Scholar. On July 3, 1930, several hundred Heimatschutz students pledged their loyalty to the new Heimwehr policy. Der Panther, July 12,1930, p. 2.
45 This was also true of many other fascist organizations, including the Lapua movement in Finland. See Nolte, Ernst, Der Krise des liberalen Systems und die faschistischen Bewegungen, p. 285Google Scholar.
47 Winkler, , Die Diklalur in Österreich, pp. 25–32Google Scholar; Tagblatt, September 4, 1930, p. 1; Arbeiterwille (Graz), September 4, 1930, p. 1; Kogelnik, , Österreichisches Heimatschutz-Jahrbuch 1933, p. 76Google Scholar. Before 1931 Heimatschutz leaders were elected by their immediate subordinates rather than being appointed. In the same manner, the federal leader (Bundesführer) of the Austrian Heimwehr was elected by the leaders of the various provincial formations. He met every month with an advisory council consisting of the provincial Heimwehr leaders and their chiefs of staff. A remarkable similarity in this respect thus existed between the Austrian Heimwehr and the Styrian Heimatschutz and fascist organizations in other countries. Not until July, 1921, did Hitler become the dictator of the German NSDAP. And until 1926, when Hitler became the supreme leader of one wing of the Austrian National Socialists, the Austrian National Socialist Party was built on “purely democratic principles.” See Kogelnik, , Österreichisches Heimatschutz-Jahrbuch 1933, p. 81Google Scholar; Haintz, Reinhold, “Die N.S.D.A.P., 1926–1933,” in Wache, Karl (ed.), Deuischer Geist in Österreich (Munich: Verlag Parcus & Co., 1933), pp. 252–253Google Scholar; and Nolte, , Three Faces of Fascism, pp. 20–21Google Scholar.
49 Gulick, , Austria from Habsburg to Hitler, Vol. II, p. 1, 119Google Scholar. The Heimwehr's poor showing in the elections was probably more the result of the Heimwehr's lack of experience in political campaigning than proof of its unpopularity. The Heimwehr did not even begin campaigning until six days before the election. In Salzburg their slogan was: “Vote for whomever you want, but if none of the non-Marxist parties suit you, then vote for the Heimatbloc.” See Winkler, , Diktatur in Österreich, p. 33Google Scholar; and Heimatschutz in Öslerreich, p. 219.
50 Jagschitz, Gerhard, “Faschismus und Nationalsozialismus in Österreich bis 1945,” in Fascism and Europe. An International Symposium (Prague: Historical institute, Czechoslovak Academy of Sciences, 1969), p. 71Google Scholar.
51 Tagblatt, November 10, 1930, p. 1; Dr. Ney to the German embassy in Vienna, German consulate at Graz, October 7,1930, Auswärtiges Amt (Bonn), Politisches Archiv, Gesandtschaft Wien, Geheim-Akten betreffend: Nationalismus, Faschismus, Heimwehr, Stahlhelm usw. von 1923 bis 1934, Fasc. III, No. K468902–36/cl.; report of the embassy in Vienna to the foreign office in Berlin, May 7, 1931, ibid., Fasc. I, No. K.468126–32.
52 Interview with Karl M. Stepan in Graz on June 20,1964. Stepan was the governor of Styria and one-time leader of the Fatherland Front during the Schuschnigg regime.
53 Langoth, Franz, Kampf um Österreich. Erinnerungen eines Politikers (Wels, Upper Austria: Verlag Welsermühl, 1951), pp. 85–86Google Scholar; Borkenau, , Austria and After, pp. 235–236Google Scholar; Starhemberg, Ernst R., Memoiren (Vienna: Amalthea Verlag, 1971), pp. 24–25Google Scholar; Gedye, G. E. R., Fallen Bastions (London: Harper and Row, 1939), p. 49Google Scholar; Berger-Waldenegg, Egon, “Erinnerungen” (unpublished manuscript at the Institute for Contemporary History, Vienna), p. 350Google Scholar.
54 Hahnenschwanz-Hakenkreuz und Kaiserkrone (Vienna: Hans Philipp, 1932), pp. 8–9Google Scholar; Arbeiterwille, September 18, 1931, p. 2; Tagblatt, December 14, 1931, p. 1.
58 MacDonald, Mary, The Republic of Austria, 1918–1934. A Study in the Failure of a Democratic Government (London: Oxford University Press, 1946), p. 11Google Scholar; Goldinger, , Geschichte der Republik Österreich, p. 166Google Scholar; Brook-Shepherd, , The Austrian Odyssey, p. 118Google Scholar.
59 Goldinger, , Geschichte der Republik Österreich, p. 170Google Scholar. The impact of the electoral victory of the German National Socialists in September, 1930, was immediately felt by the National Socialist Party in Styria, where its membership increased 67.8 percent in the last quarter of that year, compared with 11.5, 30, and 31 percent for each of the first three quarters. “Steirische Gaunachrichten der NSDAP” (Graz), January 10, 1931, p. 2. The “Steirische Gaunachrichten,” now located in the Austrian National Library in Vienna, was an official, semi-secret newsletter containing political instructions. It was sent to all subordinate Styrian Nazi leaders.
60 Unsigned report dated July 30, 1931, Auswärtiges Amt (Bonn), Politisches Archiv, Gesandtschaft Wien, Geheim-Akten, Fasc. III, No. K468971; Heimatschutz-Zeitung (Klagenfurt), July 18, 1931, p. 3.
61 Rintelen, , Erinnerungen an Österreichs Weg, pp. 258–259Google Scholar; report by Leo Haubenberger, Vienna, March 30, 1930, Bundesarchiv (Koblenz), Sammlung Schumacher, Fasc. II, No. 305, pp. 2–31. The miscellaneous Schumacher documents deal in large measure with correspondence between Austrian Nazis and Gregor Strasser in Munich. They are located in the Federal Archives of West Germany in Koblenz.
62 Heimatdienst, Bundeskommissär für, Beiträge zur Vorgeschichte und Geschichte der Julirevolte, p. 4Google Scholar; “Steirische Gaunachrichten der NSDAP,” December 31, 1932, pp. 2 and 4; March 14, 1931, p. 3; March 28, 1931, p. 3; and February 4, 1933, p. 2; Bauern Kampf, May 27, 1933, p. 1.
63 Interview with Walter Pfrimer at Judenburg on July 2, 1964; Habicht to Rodenbücher, Munich, September 5, 1935, Strafsachen, Landesgericht für, “Kammerhofer-Prozess,” pp. 247–248Google Scholar; Der Panther, April 2, 1932, p. I.
64 For the complete text of the agreement, see Der Kampf, November 7, 1931, p. I. Der Kampf, which was published in Graz, was the official organ of the Nazi Party in Styria. It should not be confused with the scholarly Austro-Marxist journal that has the same name.
65 The Nazi leaders felt that any effort by a Pan-German organization to overthrow the Austrian government would alarm the anti-German powers and postpone the Anschluβ indefinitely. “Steirische Gaunachrichten der NSDAP,” November 2, 1931, p. 1; The New York Times, November 6, 1931, p. 25; excerpt from Der Abend (Vienna), November 5, 1931, Auswärtiges Amt (Bonn), Politisches Archiv, Gesandlschafl Wien, Geheim-Akten, Fasc. III, No. K463140.
66 Dr. Ney to the German embassy, German consulate, Graz, May 31,1932, Auswärtiges Amt (Bonn), Politisches Archiv, Gesandtschaft Wien, Geheim-Akten, Fasc. I, No. K468325.
67 A few days after his resignation Pfrimer took over the leadership of the tiny “German Heimatschutz” and then incorporated it into the Sturmabteilung (SA) of the National Socialist Party. Der Kampf, May 28,1932; Rintelen, , Erinnerungen an Österreichs Weg, p. 153Google Scholar; Tagblatt, May 25,1932, p. I; Deutsche Heimaizeitung (Judenburg,), April 27,1932, p. 9.
68 For a brief account of Kammerhofer's political career see Gendarmerie-Postenkommando St. Marien i. Mzt. Steiermark e. Nr., Landesgericht für Strafsachen, “Kammerhofer-Prozess,” E No. 866. For the verdict on December 5, 1949, see ibid.
69 For the complete text of the program, see Der Panther, June 4, 1931, p. 4.
70 Heimatschutz in Österreich, p. 114. Gulick estimates that Kammerhofer's defection reduced the size of the Heimwehr's following from 6.16 to 4 percent of the electorate. See his Austria from Habsburg to Hitler, Vol. II, p. 1, 119Google Scholar.
71 The manager of the steelworks, Anton Apold, had been one of the earliest and most important supporters of the Heimatschutz. The Alpine Montan, however, was controlled by Albert Vögler's United Steel Works in Düsseldorf. Vögler, a supporter of Alfred Hugenberg's German National People's Party in 1938, began giving financial assistance to Hitler in 1932, and sometime thereafter, evidently in 1933, he persuaded Apold to follow suit. Arbeiter-Zeitung, May 4, 1933, p. 1; The New York Times, August 14, 1934, p. 8; Bullock, Hitler, a Study in Tyranny, pp. 114 and 140.
72 Wandruszka, Adam, “Österreichs politische Struktur,” in Benedikt, Heinrich (ed.), Geschichte der Republik Österreich (Vienna: Verlag für Geschichte und Politik, 1954), p. 331Google Scholar.
73 Kammerhofer to Rodenbilcher, Berlin, January 15, 1935, Strafsachen, Landesgericht für, “Kammerhofer-Prozess,” p. 259Google Scholar; Landbund-Stimmen (Graz), April 27,1933, p. 2; Heimatdienst, Bundeskommissär für, Beiträge zur Vorgeschichte und Geschichte der Julirevolte, p. 131Google Scholar; Langoth, , Kampf urn Österreich, p. 102Google Scholar. For the text of the agreement, see Arbeiter-Zeitung, April 23, 1933, p. 5.
74 Interview with Karl Stepan in Graz on June 20, 1964; Süddeutsches Tagblatt (Graz), November 20, 1933, p. 1; Gulick, , Austria from Habsburg to Hitler, Vol. II, p. 1, 086Google Scholar.
76 Franz Pichler to Habicht, Munich, March 2, 1934, Bundesarchiv (Koblenz), Sammlung Schumacher, Fasc. II, No. 277.
77 In late January, 1934, the German legation in Austria learned of plans for a coup to take place on March 15. Two months later the legation heard still more rumors of putsch plans. Chargé d'affaires in Austria to the foreign ministry, January 21,1934, United States Department of State, Documents on German Foreign Policy, 1918–1945, ser. C(5 vols., Washington, D. C: U. S. Government Printing Office, 1957–66), Vol. II, Doc. No. 299, pp. 437–438; the minister in Austria to the foreign ministry, March 29, 1934, ibid., Doc. No. 36, p. 692.
78 During the three days (July 26–28) the revolt lasted 88 rebels were killed and 164 wounded. Forty-two dead and 49 wounded were counted in Styria alone. The role former Styrian Heimatschutz members played in the July rebellion was so great that after its suppression the Völkischer Beobachter and several other German newspapers tried to claim that the Nazi Party had had nothing to do with it. It had been nothing more than a clash between the Styrian Heimatschutz and the Austrian Heimwehr into which a few Nazis were drawn because of their ties with the Heimatschutz. Three years later, however, former Gauleiter Oberhaidacher would not admit that any Heimatschutz men had taken part in the action. Nazi books and newspapers published after the Anschluβ also made no mention whatever of the role played by the former Styrian Heimatschutz in the events of July, 1934. Winkler, Die Diktatur in Österreich, p. 191; Heimatdienst, Bundeskommissär für, Beiträge zur Vorgeschichte und Geschichte der Julirevolte, pp. 107–109Google Scholar; Hans Rauter, “Stellungnahme zur ‘Darstellung’ des Gauleiters Oberhaidacher,” Berlin, November 24, 1937, Bundesarchiv (Koblenz), Sammlung Schumacher, Fasc. II, No. 277. See also von Rohrwig, Reich, Der Freiheitskampf der Ostmark-Deuischen, passim; and the Tagespost, July 24, 1938 (morning edition), p. 1Google Scholar.
79 Tagblatt, September 14, 1931, p. 2; the head of the Volksbund für das Deutschtum im Ausland to the foreign ministry, August 2, 1934, Documents on German Foreign Policy, 1918–1945, ser. C, Vol. III, Doc. No. 143, p. 284Google Scholar; von Rohrwig, Reich, Der Freiheitskampf der Ostmark-Deuischen, pp. 156–157Google Scholar.
80 Tagblatt, December 14, 1931, p. 1; September 14, 1931, p. 2; Messinger, Johann (trans.), The Death of Dollfuβ (London: Denis Archer, 1935), p. 153Google Scholar; Bullock, Malcolm, Austria 1918–1938. A Story of Failure (London: Macmillan, 1939), p. 266Google Scholar; Heimatdienst, Bundeskommissär für, Beiträge zur Vorgeschichte und Geschichte der Julirevolte, pp. 107–109Google Scholar; Winkler, , Die Diktatur in Österreich, p. 191Google Scholar.
83 A former captain of the Austrian army, Josef Leopold, eventually emerged as the leader of the Austrian National Socialist Party between 1935 and February, 1938, but he did not enjoy much respect in German quarters, and, to make matters worse, he spent much time in Austrian prisons. Consequently, his leadership was never effective. But this ineffectiveness conformed well with the policy of peaceful subversion pursued by the new German minister to Austria, Franz von Papen. Von Papen did not want the Austrian National Socialists to stir up trouble and frighten the Austrian government. Goldinger, Walter, “Der geschichtliche Ablauf der Ereignisse in Österreich von 1918 bis 1945,” in Benedikt, , Geschichte der Republik Österreich, pp. 246–256Google Scholar; report to Hitler, April 4, 1935, Office of the United States Chief of Council for the Prosecution of Axis Criminality, Nazi Conspiracy and Aggression (Washington, D. C: United States Government Printing Office, 1946), Supplement A, Doc. No. 687, p. 923Google Scholar; Eichstädt, Ulrich, Von Dollfuβ zu Hitler. Geschichte des Anschluβes Österreichs (Wiesbaden: Franz Steiner Verlag, 1955), pp. 76 and 78–79Google Scholar.
84 The Nazi leaders in Styria were so jealous and suspicious of each other that they did not hesitate to denounce their rivals to the Austrian police and on at least one occasion their feuding led to murder. Conscientious leaders who tried to carry out the orders of their superiors were hated and disobeyed, while unscrupulous party officials used their positions to line their own pockets. Drubba, the German consul in Graz, to Botschaftsrat Baron von Stein, in Vienna, Graz, February 9, 1937, Auswärtiges Amt (Bonn), Politisches Archiv, Gesandtschaft Wien, Geheim-Akten, Fasc. IX (1934–1937), No. 3–C1/4. Included in the above is a report by the Ortsgruppenleiter of Graz, Karl Felsner. See also Drubba to the German embassy in Vienna, Graz, August 23 and October 25, 1937, ibid., Fasc. XI, No. 108–C1/1 and Fasc. XII, No. 162–C1/2; Eichstädt, Von Dollfuβ zu Hitler, p. 78; and Gulick, , Austria from Habsburg to Hitler, Vol. II, pp. 1, 784–1, 785Google Scholar.
85 Wagner, Dieter and Tomkowitz, Gerhard, Anschluss. The Week that Hitler seized Vienna (New York: St. Martin's Press, 1971), pp. 44, 62, and 94–95Google Scholar.
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