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Hermann Neubacher and the Austrian Anschluss Movement, 1918–40

  • Harry R. Ritter
Extract

The Anschluss problem was one of the most vexing legacies of nineteenth-century nationalism and the peace settlement of 1919. Seen in broad perspective, the Anschluss movement belongs to the final chapter in the history of the idea of Grossdeutschland, a dream born in 1848 and shared after 1867 by German-Austrians of the most varied cultural backgrounds and political opinions. Support for German union intensified following the collapse of the Habsburg Monarchy in 1918, but was frustrated by the restrictions placed upon union by the treaties of Versailles and Saint-Germain. After 1919 sympathy for Anschluss transcended party lines in the infant Austrian republic, and grew more rapidly than within Germany itself. For many members of the “front generation,” young men who had served in the Habsburg army and who felt the humiliation of defeat with special intensity, the cause of Anschluss became a life-shaping force. Nowhere is this better illustrated than in the career of Hermann Neubacher

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1. von Preradovich, Nikolaus, Der nationale Gedanke in Österreich 1866–1938 (Göttingen, 1962), pp. 17, 30.

2. See his memoir Sonderauftrag Südost 1940–1945: Bericht eines fliegenden Diplomaten, 2d ed. (Göttingen, 1957).

3. Private interview with Caroline Neubacher, Vienna, Aug. 20, 1972; Caroline Neubacher to the author, Vienna, Nov. 6, 1971; Die Presse (Vienna), July 3, 1960, p. 9.

4. Der Anschluss: Mitteilungen des Österreichisch-Deutschen Volksbundes (Vienna), Sept. 21, 1929, p. 2.

5. Ibid., Nov. 15, 1927, p. 1.

6. Private interview with Caroline Neubacher, Vienna, Aug. 20, 1972.

7. Ibid.; Caroline Neubacher to the author, Vienna, Nov. 6, 1971; Rosar, Wolfgang, Deutsche Gemeinschaft: Seyss-Inquart und der Anschluss (Vienna, 1971), p. 20.

8. Rosar, Deutsche Gemeinschaft, pp. 29–37, 47; Brook-Shepherd, Gordon, Dollfuss (London, 1961), pp. 2829.

9. Österreichisch-Deutscher Volksbund in Wien, “Anschlusspolitik 1925–1938: Zeitungsausschnittssammlung,” 120 vols. (hereafter ZAS), vol. 118: Wiener Handelsblatt, Oct. 5, 1926. This collection of newspaper clippings, now in the Wiener Stadtbibliotek, was begun in 1925 immediately after Neubacher founded the Austro-German People's League (see below) and contains items from Austrian and foreign newspapers relating to the theme of Anschluss. In most cases page numbers are missing.

10. Deutsch, Julius, Ein Weiter Weg: Lebenserinnerungen (Vienna, 1960), pp. 157–58; ZAS, vol. 118: Wiener Handelsblatt, Oct. 5, 1926.

11. According to Ncubacher's understanding, Marxism fostered class struggle and therefore contradicted the “fundamental truth” that “a nation is a special kind of organism, indivisible, necessarily dependent on all its parts.” See Archiv der Stadt Wien, H. A. Akten, Bürgermeister, NS-Zeit (Neubacher, Blaschke 1938–1944, Aussprachen), Schachtel 1–18, Mappe 35 (hereafter ASW, Neubacher-Blaschke), no. 38, Nov. 26, 1938.

12. Österreich-Deutschland (Berlin) 2, no. 3 (03 1925): 21;Neubacher, Hermann, “Die Organisationen fur den österreichisch-deutschen Zusammenschluss,” in Kleinwaechter, Friedrich F. G. and von Paller, Heinz, eds., Die Anschlussfrage in ihrer kulturellen, politischen und wirtschaftlichen Bedeutung (Vienna, 1930), pp. 605–17;Ball, Mary Margaret, Post-War German Austrian Relations: The Anschluss Movement, 1918–1936 (Stanford, Cal., 1937);Suval, Stanley, The Anschluss Question in the Weimar Era: A Study of Nationalism in Germany and Austria (Baltimore, Md., 1974), pp. 3041. Suval estimates the peak enrollment of Lobe's organization at about 21,000.

13. “Das österreichische Wirtschaftsproblem: Denkschrift der österreichisch-deutschen Arbeitsgemeinschaft,” Der österreichische Volkswirt (Vienna) 17, no. 42 (07 18, 1925): 1153–60;Stolper, Toni, Ein Leben in Brennpunkten unserer Zeit: Gustav Stolper, 1888–1947 (Tübingen, 1960), p. 167.

14. Der Anschluss, Sept. 21, 1929, p. 2.

15. Neue Freie Presse (Vienna), June 5, 1925 (morning ed.), pp. 45;International Military Tribunal, Trial of the Major War Criminals Before the International Military Tribunal, 42 vols. (Nuremberg, 1947–49) (hereafter IMT), 11: 433–35;Österreichisch-Deutscher Volksbund/Wien, Warum fordern wir den Anschluss? (Vienna, 1926);Löbe, Paul and DrNeubacher, Ing., Die österreichisch-deutsche Anschlussbewegung (Wurzen, Germany, 1926).

16. Volksbund, Österreichisch-Deutscher in Wien, Was will der Österreichisch-Deutscher Volksbund? (Vienna, 1926).

17. von Preradovich, N., Die Wilhelmstrasse und Anschluss Österreichs 1918–1933 (Bern, 1971), p. 183.

18. The Christian Social Reichspost, for example, reported the presence of uniformed Schutzbund members at ceremonies honoring a visit by Paul Löbe to Vienna in 1925, and wondered if, by “Anschluss,” the People's League meant union with Germany or Soviet Russia. ZAS, vol. 1: Reichspost (Vienna), Aug. 30 and 31, 1925.

19. Sweet, Paul R., “Seipel's Views on Anschluss in 1928: An Unpublished Exchange of Letters,Journal of Modern History 19, no. 4 (12 1947): 320–23. See also Suval, The Anschluss Question, pp. 37, 44–45; and von Klemperer, Klemens, Ignaz Seipel: Christian Statesman in a Time of Crisis (Princeton, N.J., 1972), pp. 112–17, 301–6. To my knowledge there is no adequate study of Dollfuss's relationship to the Anschluss movement. See Rosar, Deutsche Gemeinschaft, pp. 32–37.

20. Preradovich, Die Wilhelmstrasse, pp. 180–89; U.S. National Archives (hereafter NA), unsigned report to Wirth, Nov. 20, 1930, Microcopy T-120 (German Foreign Office), roll 2492, frames E266802–3 (hereafter T-120/2492/E266802–3);ibid., Lerchenfeld to Dr. Emminger, Dec. 2, 1930, T-120/2492/E266842–43.

21. Der Anschluss, Sept. 21, 1929, p. 2.

22. Ibid., Aug. 15, 1928, p. 2; Neue Freie Presse, July 20, 1928 (morning ed.), p. 6.

23. Der Anschluss, Nov. 12, 1928, p. 1; Dec. 15, 1928, p. 1; Jan. 26, 1929, p. 1.

24. Der Anschluss, Apr. 27, 1929, p. 1; Nov. 29, 1930, p. 1.

25. Preradovich, Der nationale Gedanke, p. 21; cf. Suval, The Anschluss Question, pp.43–44.

26. Neubacher, “Die Organisationen,” p. 617.

27. See, for example, the New York Times, July 25, 1928, p. 4.

28. Der Anschluss, July 22, 1930, p. 1; Sept. 30, 1930, p. 1.

29. Der Anschluss, Mar. 28, 1931, p. 1; Nov. 29, 1930, p. 1.

30. NA, Rieth to Ritter, Feb. 22, 1932, T-120/5195/K467397–400.

31. Vienna, 1932.

32. ASW, Neubacher-Blaschke, no. 11/3, May 11, 1938.

33. Der Anschluss, Sept. 21, 1931, p. 1; July 23, 1932, p. 1.

34. Der Anschluss, Nov. 12, 1931, p. 1.

35. In October 1933, the Social Democratic Party officially struck Anschluss from its program and withdrew its representatives from the executive of the People's League. During the next two years Neubacher's organization was watched by the police and meetings were sometimes cancelled. Following his arrest in June 1935 (see below) Neubacher resigned as president of the People's League. It remained dormant until June 1937, when Seyss-Inquart revived it as a forum for academic opponents of the Schuschnigg regime such as Srbik, Nadler, Menghin, and Eibl. The last meeting was held in Vienna on May 11, 1938. ASW, Neubacher-Blaschke, no. 11/3, May 11, 1938; Nuernberg, , Military Tribunals, Trials of War Criminals before the Nuernberg Military Tribunals under Control Council Law No. 10, 15 vols. (Washington, D.C., 1949–53) (hereafter NMT), 12: 694, memorandum of Captain Leopold, Aug. 7, 1937, doc. 3282-NG; ZAS, vol. 118: Freie Stimmen (Klagenfurt), June 26 and 29, 1937; Rosar, Deutsche Gemeinschaft, p. 158; Frankfurter Zeitung, May 4, 1938 (Reich ed.), p. 2.

36. Der Anschluss, Aug. 15, 1927, p. 1; Sept. 21, 1929, p. 2; Oct. 31, 1929, p. 1.

37. In light of Neubacher's remarks of May 11, 1938, in which he emphasized the importance of the Lausanne Protocol (July 1932) in reshaping his attitudes, it seems likely that he joined the Heimatschutz in the summer or autumn of 1932. Seyss-Inquart testified at Nuremberg that he (Seyss) joined the organization in the autumn. ASW, Neubacher- Blaschke, no. 11/3, May 11, 1938; IMT, 16: 81.

38. U.S. Chief of Counsel for the Prosecution of Axis Criminality, Nazi Conspiracy and Aggression, 10 vols. (Washington, D.C., 1946–48) (hereafter NCA), 2: 958, Seyss- Inquart to Himmler, Aug. 19, 1939, doc. 3271-PS.

39. ZAS, vol. 118: Der Panther (Graz), Apr. 29, 1933; Rosar, Deutsche Gemeinschaft, pp. 59–60. Neubacher did not officially receive a party number until May 1938. On relations between the Styrian Heimatschutz and the NSDAP see Pauley, Bruce Frederick, Hahnenschwanz und Hakenkreuz: Steirischer Heimatschutz und österreichischer Nationalsozialismus 1918–1934 (Vienna, 1972).

40. Langoth, Franz, Kampf um Österreich: Erinnerungen eines Politikers (Wels, Austria, 1951), pp. 209, 383–84.

41. ZAS, vol. 118: (title missing), Apr. 23, 1933; Caroline Neubacher to the author, Vienna, Nov. 6,1971.

42. Ross, Dieter, Hitler und Dollfuss: Die deutsche Österreich-Politik 1933–1934 (Hamburg, 1966);Gehl, Jürgen, Austria, Germany and the Anschluss, 19311938 (London, 1963), pp. 4587.

43. U.S. Department of State, Documents on German Foreign Policy, 1918–1945. 13 vols. (Washington, D.C., 19571964), series C (1933–36) (hereafter DGFP), 3: 47, Habicht to Hüffer, June 18, 1934, doc. 17. This report is the only record of the Neubacher plan. Ross believes that it was written by Otto Wächter (an agent of Habicht) shortly before Hitler's meeting with Mussolini in Venice on June 14–15, and that it was instrumental in Habicht's final decision to launch a putsch in July. Ross, Hitler and Dollfuss, p. 229.

44. Auerbach, Helmuth, “Eine nationalsozialistische Stimme zum Wiener Putsch vom 25.July 1934,” Vierteljahrshefte für Zeitgeschichte 12 (01 1964): 201–18; Ross, Hitler und Dollfuss, pp. 113–17, 184, 214.

45. DGFP, 3: 47, Habicht to Hüffer, June 18,1934, doc. 17; cf. Gehl, Austria, Germany and the Anschlsss, p. 94; Ross, Hitler und Dollfuss, p. 299.

46. Otto Wächter and Rudolf Weydenhammer, two of the leading conspirators, later wrote accounts of the putsch. Neither mentioned Neubacher in connection with the plot, although Weydenhammer stated that he talked briefly with Neubacher in the vicinity of the Ballhausplatz on the afternoon of July 25, while members of the SS Standarte 89 were occupying the chancellery. Rudolf Weydenhammer, “Bericht über die Erhebung der Nationalsozialisten am 25. Juli 1934 in Wien,” NSDAP Hauptarchiv, The Hoover Institution on War, Revolution, and Peace, reel 33, folder 634, frames 212ff. (written shortly after the Anschluss in 1938); Auerbach, “Eine nationalsozialistische Stimme,” pp. 204–5; Rosar, Deutsche Gemeinschaft, pp. 74–75.

47. According to Hitler's deputy, Hess, “The Austrian NSDAP must decide where and in what form they will build a new party by themselves.” DGFP, 3: 352–53, Hess to Frauenfeld, Aug. 21, 1934, doc. 173.

48. NA, report by Prinz zu Erbach, “Bisherige Ergebnislosigkeit der Verständigungsaktion Reinthaller,” Oct. 18, 1934, T-77 (Oberkommando der Wehrmacht, OKW) /900/5653797–805; NCA, 2: 962–63, Seyss-Inquart, “The Austrian Question, 1934–1938,” Sept. 9, 1945, doc. 3254-PS; DGFP, 3: 334, memorandum by Hiiffer, Aug. 20, 1934, doc. 166.

49. NA, report by Prinz zu Erbach, Oct. 18, 1934, T-77/900/5653797–805; Starhemberg, Ernst Rudiger, Memoiren (Vienna, 1971), pp. 209–14. Secondary accounts of the failure of the Reinthaller action are plentiful. See Gehl, Austria, Germany and the Anschluss, p. 105.

50. IMT, 34:1–11, speech by Rainer, Mar. 11, 1942, doc. 4005-PS; IMT, 26: 349–51, report by Rainer, July 6, 1939, doc. 812-PS. The struggle was complicated by a rivalry between “old fighters” of the NSDAP and men who had entered the movement via the Heimatschutz, who were never completely accepted.

51. ZAS, vol. 118: Telegraf am Mittag (Vienna), Jan. 15, 1935, and Der Osterreicher (Vienna), May 3, 1935.

52. IMT, 34: 1–11, speech by Rainer, Mar. 11, 1942, doc. 4405-PS; IMT, 26: 349–51, report by Rainer, July 6, 1939, doc. 812-PS; Langoth, Kampf um Österreich, p. 202.

53. NMT, 7: 1397–98, extracts from the minutes of Farben's Commercial Committee, Mar. 23, 1938, doc. 9289-NI; private interview with Caroline Neubacher, Vienna, Aug. 20, 1972; Rosar, Deutsche Gemeinschaft, p. 264.

54. ASW, Neubacher-Blaschke, no. 11/1, Apr. 25, 1938. An illustrated booklet, Die nationalsozialistische Revolution in Wien: Bildbericht über die Wiener Ereignisse vom 11 Mārz bis 10 April 1938 (Vienna, 1938), conveys the spirit of the propaganda campaign; Neubacher wrote the introduction.

55. Wiener Zeitung, Apr. 1, 1938, p. 4, and Apr. 8, 1938, p. 7; ASW, Neubacher- Blaschke, no. 18/7, Oct. 10, 1938.

56. Wiener Zeitung, Apr. 1, 1938, p. 10; Neue Freie Presse, Aug. 1,1938 (Monday ed.), p. 3; Frankfurter Zeitung, Dec. 9, 1938 (Reich ed.), Southeast Europe supplement, p. 9; ASW, Neubacher-Blaschke, no. 12/6, July 16, 1938. Heer, Friedrich, Der Glaube des Adolf Hitler: Anatomie einer politischen Religiosität (Munich, 1968), p. 416, describes Neubacher's interest in southeastern Europe as representative of a “k.-k.-österreichisch-ostmarkischer Nationalsozialismus.”

57. The Times (London), Apr. 2, 1938, p. 11.

58. Frankfurter Zeitung, Apr. 9,1939 (Reich ed.), p. 5; ASW, Neubacher-Blaschke, no. 97, July 8, 1939. More important than new construction in dealing with the problem of working-class housing was the requisitioning of Jewish apartments, an aspect of the official anti-Semitism introduced by the NSDAP. Neubacher endorsed requisitioning but opposed the violent outbursts of popular anti-Semitism which followed the Anschluss. Neue Freie Presse, Mar. 17, 1938 (evening ed.), p. 1; Deutsch, Ein Wetter Weg, p. 158.

59. Toynbee, Arnold J. and Boulter, V. M., eds., Survey of International Affairs: 1938 (London, 1941), pp. 257–58.

60. NA, Bürckel to Göring, Oct. 15, 1938, T-84 (Miscellaneous German Records) /13/10360; NA, Bürckel to Göring, Oct. 27, 1938, T-84/13/10362–64; NA, Records of the Reichkommissar für die Wiedervereinigung Österreichs mit dem deutschen Reich, T-84/13/10368–72; IMT, 11: 434; Frankfurter Zeitung, Apr. 22, 1939 (Reich ed.), p. 2, and May 5, 1939 (Reich ed.), p. 10.

61. NA, Neubacher to Wiehl, Apr. 17, 1940, T-120/1170/471746; ASW, Neubacher- Blaschke, no. 119, Mar. 9, 1940.

62. Der Anschluss, May 16, 1929, p. 1.

63. Sweet, “Seipel's Views,” p. 323.

64. Der Anschluss, Oct. 31, 1929, p. 2.

65. See the comments of Spitzmüller-Harmersbach, Alexander Bernhard, “… Und hat auch Ursach, es zu Lieben” (Vienna, 1955), pp. 396–97.

66. Gehl, Austria, Germany and the Anschluss, pp. 194–95.

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