Austrofascism (German: Austrofaschismus) was the authoritarian system installed in Austria with the May Constitution of 1934, which ceased with the annexation of the newly founded Federal State of Austria into Nazi Germany in 1938. It was based on a ruling party, the Fatherland Front (Vaterländische Front) and the Heimwehr (Home Guard) paramilitary militia. Leaders were Engelbert Dollfuss and, after Dollfuss's assassination, Kurt Schuschnigg, who were previously politicians of the Christian Social Party, which was quickly integrated into the new movement.
The Austrofascist movement's origin lies in the Korneuburg Oath, a declaration released by the Christian Social paramilitary organization Heimwehr on 18 May 1930. The declaration condemned both the "Marxist class struggle" and the economic structures of "liberal-capitalism". Furthermore, it explicitly rejected "the Western democratic parliamentary system and [multi]-party state".
The declaration was directed mainly at the Social Democratic opposition, largely in response to the Linz Program of 1926, and was not only taken by the Heimwehr but also by many Christian Social politicians, setting Austria on a course to an authoritarian system.
The election in Vienna in 1932 made it likely that the coalition of Christian Social Party, the Landbund, and the Heimwehr would lose their majority in the national parliament, depriving the Austrian government of its parliamentary basis. To ensure proper and efficient governance over citizens, the government sought to replace Austrian democracy with an authoritarian system based in Austrian Catholic principles. These efforts were supported from abroad by Benito Mussolini. The Ständestaat concept, derived from the notion of Stände ("estates" or "corporations"), and constituted the form favoured form by Dollfuss and later by Kurt Schuschnigg.
The opportunity for such a transition arrived on 4 March 1933 when the national parliament was paralysed by procedural disputes. Dollfuss held a one-vote majority in parliament. During a dispute over a voting recount, the speaker and vice-speakers of parliament resigned in order to be able to cast their votes, and in the absence of the three speakers, there existed no procedural means to reconvene Parliament. Dollfuss branded this as the "self-elimination of the Parliament" and proceeded to rule on the basis of the Wartime Economy Authorization Act. This law had been passed in 1917 during World War I to enable the government to issue decrees ensuring the supply of necessities. The law had never been explicitly revoked and was now used by the Austrian government to inaugurate an authoritarian state.
On 7 March 1933, the Council of Ministers issued a ban on assembly and protests. Press regulations were also levied by the Wartime Economy Authority Law and touted as economic safeguards. The law allowed for the government to require approval of a newspaper which had already been printed up to two hours before its distribution under certain circumstances, for instance if "through damage to patriotic, religious or moral sensibility, a danger to public peace, order and security" would arise. This allowed for censorship of the press, but the government was eager to avoid the appearance of open censorship, which was forbidden by the constitution. The opposition made a final attempt to reverse the changes in parliament, which was met by police power on 15 March 1933. As Großdeutsche, who advocated a merger with Germany, and Social Democrats arrived at the Parliament building, the government sent 200 detectives to Parliament to prevent the representatives from taking their places in the assembly hall.
On 31 March, the government dissolved the Republikanischer Schutzbund. On 10 April 1933, the decree by former Social Democratic Education Minister Otto Glöckel, which had made Catholic religious lessons in schools non-mandatory, was abolished. On 10 May, all federal, state and local elections were cancelled. The Communist Party of Austria was dissolved on 26 May, the National Socialist Workers' Party (NSDAP) on 19 June, and the Free Thinkers Guild on 20 June.
The Hotel Schiff, an asylum of the Social Democrats in Linz, was raided by the police in February 1934. The Social Democrats resisted, leading to the Austrian Civil War, which was quelled with military and paramilitary force. Afterward, the Social Democratic Party was banned in Austria.
On 30 April 1934, the national parliament, in its last session, passed a law that enabled the government to assume all the powers previously held by parliament.
On 1 May, Dollfuss' government proclaimed the May Constitution (Maiverfassung), which diminished the term Republic and instead used as the official name of the state "Federal State of Austria" (Bundesstaat Österreich), though the constitution actually reduced the individual states' autonomy. The Federal Council was retained, though only as a significantly limited check on the Federal government. Rather than establishing the composition of a fifty-nine member National Council through direct suffrage, this was accomplished by four "Councils" representing the professionals from Austrian Culture, State affairs, the States of Austria (Länder) and Economic affairs (the latter elected by seven corporations supposedly representing workers and employers). The National Council lost its power to initiate legislation but was still expected to approve decrees from the government. All essential power lay with the Federal Chancellor (Bundeskanzler), who appointed his government single-handedly, and the Federal President (Bundespräsident), who named the Chancellor.
As with Antonio de Salazar's 1933 constitution (and the Estado Novo regime in whole), the Maiverfassung promoted a Catholic corporatism which bore a strong resemblance to the principles outlined in Quadragesimo anno, rejecting capitalism and socialism.
Chancellor Dollfuss was killed in July 1934, during an attempt by Austria's National Socialist Party to topple the regime and proclaim a Nazi government under Ambassador to Rome Anton Rintelen. The assassination of Dollfuss was accompanied by Nazi uprisings in many regions in Austria, resulting in further deaths. In Carinthia, a large contingent of northern German Nazis tried to grab power but were subdued by the loyalist Heimwehr units. The Nazi assassins holding the Federal Chancellery Vienna surrendered after threats to dynamite the building and were executed before the end of July. While Heimwehr leader Starhemberg briefly assumed power as Vice Chancellor, Kurt Schuschnigg was appointed Dollfuss' successor by President Miklas on 29 July, ousting Starhemberg from the government completely in 1936, before surrendering to Nazi pressure in March 1938.
One of the reasons for the failure of the putsch was Italian intervention: Mussolini assembled an army corps of four divisions on the Austrian border and threatened Hitler with a war with Italy in the event of a German invasion of Austria as originally planned, should the coup have been more successful. Support for the Nazi movement in Austria was surpassed only by that in Germany, allegedly amounting to 75% in some areas.
The Fatherland Front (German: Vaterländische Front, VF) was the ruling political organisation of "Austrofascism". It claimed to be a nonpartisan movement, and aimed to unite all the people of Austria, overcoming political and social divisions. Established on 20 May 1933 by Christian Social Chancellor Engelbert Dollfuss as a single party along the lines of Italian Fascism, it advocated Austrian nationalism and independence from Nazi Germany on the basis of protecting Austria's Catholic religious identity from what they considered a Protestant-dominated German state.
Austrofascism's ideology of the "community of the people" (Volksgemeinschaft) was different from that of the herrenvolk & lebensraum. They were similar in that both served to attack the idea of a class struggle by accusing leftism of destroying individuality, and thus help usher in a totalitarian state. Dollfuss' corporatist propositions were focused on the benefit of all members of the working class, from farmhands to fashion designers.
Austrofascism focused on the history of Austria. The Catholic Church played a large role in the Austrofascist definition of Austrian history and identity, which served to alienate German culture. According to this ideology, Austrians were "better Germans" (at this time, the majority of the German population was still Protestant) and Austria was a second but "better German state" which ought to remain independent from Germany. The monarchy was elevated to the ideal of a powerful and far-reaching state, a status which Austria lost after the Treaty of Saint-Germain.
Despite the Catholic emphasis that Dollfuss had created with the Federal State of Austria, he was opposed to forcing Catholicism on to religious minorities, and also let Jews escaping Nazi Germany take refuge in Austria.
After the parliament was dissolved, the government also dissolved the Constitutional Court (Verfassungsgerichtshof). The four Christian Social members of the Constitutional Court had resigned, and the government banned the nomination of new judges, effectively closing the court.
In September 1933, the government established internment camps for political opposition members. Social Democrats, Socialists, Communists, and Anarchists were all considered dissidents condemned to internment. After the July Putsch of 1934, National Socialists were also regularly interned. On 11 November 1933, the government reinstated the death penalty for the crimes of murder, arson, and "public violence through malicious damage to others' property". In February 1934, rioting (Aufruhr) was added to the list of capital offenses.
John Gunther wrote in 1940 that the state "assaulted the rights of citizens in a fantastic manner", noting that in 1934 the police raided 106,000 homes in Vienna and made 38,141 arrests of Nazis, social democrats, and communists. He added, however:
But—and it was an important "but"—the terror never reached anything like the repressive force of the Nazi terror. Most of those arrested promptly got out of jail again. Even at its most extreme phase, it was difficult to take the Schuschnigg dictatorship completely seriously, although Schutzbunders tried in 1935 got mercilessly severe sentences. This was because of Austrian gentleness, Austrian genius for compromise, Austrian love for cloudy legal abstractions, and Austrian Schlamperei.
By 1933, a series of laws had already been passed to bring the educational system in Austria into line with Austrofascism. The Catholic Church was, under the new government, able to exert significant influence on educational policy, which had previously been secularised. In order to pass the Matura (the test required for graduation), a student had to have taken religious education classes. Educational opportunities for women were significantly limited under the new regime.
Post-secondary education was also targeted by the new regime. The number of professors and assistants fell as the government produced legal grounds for deposing those who were critical of the new regime. Disciplinary actions, previously the responsibility of individual universities, were relegated to the government. Only members of the Fatherland Front were allowed to become university officials.
By 1930, foreign trade to and from Austria moved away from a free market system and became an extension of the autocratic government. Chief among the changes was the closing of the Austrian market to foreign trade in response to the New York stock exchange crisis in 1929.
Unemployment grew drastically, between 1932 and 1933 by over 25 percent. In response, the government created the so-called "Cooperations" of workers and enterprises.
The official cultural policy of the Austrofascist government was the affirmation of the Baroque and other "pre-revolutionary" styles. The government encouraged a cultural mindset reminiscent of the times before the French Revolution. This recalled images of the "Threat from the East" – the invasion of Europe by the Ottoman Turks – which were then projected onto the Soviet Union. In this way, the government warned its people against what it called "cultural Bolshevism", a force which it claimed posed a great threat to Austria.
There was no official policy of antisemitism between 1933 and 1938. Public violence against Jews was rare. As the Austrofascist state saw itself under the growing pressure by Nazi Germany which penalized its citizens who travelled to Austria with a 1000 Mark fee, and even more so after the failed Nazi coup against the Austrian government in July 1934, many Jews supported the regime.
The history of the austrofascist movement was rooted partially in one of its predecessor parties, the Christian Social Party. One of the more notorious of that party's founders, Karl Lueger was a noted anti-Semite who is often considered to have had a formative influence on Adolf Hitler during his time in Vienna.
Still, austrofascist officials supported the Salzburg Festival which employed famous Jewish artists like Herbert Graf, Alexander Moissi, Max Reinhardt, Richard Tauber, Margarete Wallmann, and Bruno Walter. Walter was also a leading conductor for the Vienna State Opera until 1938 and conducted several concerts given by the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra. Therefore, the festival was harshly criticised by German officials and boycotted by German artists like Richard Strauss, Wilhelm Furtwängler, and Clemens Krauss. The Festival also came under attack by Austrian antisemites and exponents of right-wing parties.
Many Jews fled Germany and found a temporary refuge in Austria. Artists like filmmaker Henry Koster and producer Joe Pasternak could not work in Germany any longer and continued to produce films in Austria. Vienna's Theater in der Josefstadt provided many Jewish actors, playwrights, and directors with the opportunity to continue their work, among them Reinhardt, Albert Bassermann, Egon Friedell, Hans Jaray, Otto Preminger (the theater's managing director until 1935), Ernst Lothar (managing director until 1938), and Franz Werfel. Jewish athletes made the SC Hakoah Wien one of the most successful athletic clubs in Austria before 1938. Its athletes excelled on many occasions throughout Europe.
Yet there was a purge of public offices, and many Jews were fired from their posts on the accusations that they were Communist or Social-Democratic sympathizers. There were occasional outbursts of antisemitism in right-wing newspapers. However, Jews continued to be an integral part of Austrian society until March 1938. But some of them lost their hopes for a fruitful future and left Austria before 1938, especially following the Juliabkommen 1936 between Austria and Germany which provided an amnesty for illegal Nazis. Among the most prominent Jews who left Austria before 1938 were Stefan Zweig and Otto Preminger.
The regime lasted as long as the favour of Fascist Italy under Mussolini protected it against the expansionist aims of Nazi Germany. However, when Mussolini sought to end Italy's own increasing international isolation by forming an alliance with Hitler in 1938, Austria was left alone to face increasing German pressure.
To protect Austria's independence, Schuschnigg reached an agreement with Hitler under which 17,000 Austrian Nazis received amnesty and were integrated into the fold of the Fatherland Front. Arthur Seyss-Inquart, the leader of the Austrian Nazis, was appointed Minister of the Interior and Security. As Nazi pressure continued, now supported from within the government, Schuschnigg tried to rally popular support for Austria's independence by a referendum. Hitler reacted by alleging an attempt at a fraudulent vote and demanded that Schuschnigg should hand over the government to the Austrian Nazis or face invasion. Schuschnigg, unable to find support in France or the United Kingdom, resigned to avoid bloodshed. After an interlude, in which Nazis had gained control of Vienna, President Miklas, who had at first refused, appointed Seyss-Inquart Chancellor, who then requested military occupation by the German army. The next day, Hitler entered Austria and declared it a part of the German Reich, which was subsequently formalized on March 15.
The Austrian Civil War (German: Österreichischer Bürgerkrieg), also known as the February Uprising (German: Februarkämpfe), is a term sometimes used for a few days of skirmishes between Fascist and Socialist forces between 12 February and 16 February 1934, in Austria. The clashes started in Linz and took place principally in the cities of Vienna, Graz, Bruck an der Mur, Judenburg, Wiener Neustadt and Steyr, but also in some other industrial cities of eastern and central Austria.Cross potent
A cross potent (plural: crosses potent), also known as a crutch cross, is a form of heraldic cross with crossbars at the four ends. In French, it is known as croix potencée, in German as a Krückenkreuz, all translating to "crutch cross".Emil Fey
Emil Fey (23 March 1886 – 16 March 1938) was an officer in the Austro-Hungarian Army, leader of the right-wing paramilitary Heimwehr forces and politician of the First Austrian Republic. He served as Vice-Chancellor of Austria (German: Vizekanzler) from 1933 to 1934, leading the country into the period of Austrofascism under Chancellor Engelbert Dollfuss. Fey played a vital role in the violent suppression of the Republikanischer Schutzbund and the Social Democratic Workers' Party during the 1934 Austrian Civil War.Engelbert Dollfuss
Engelbert Dollfuss (German: Engelbert Dollfuß, IPA: [ˈɛŋəlbɛʁt ˈdɔlfuːs]; 4 October 1892 – 25 July 1934) was an Austrian Christian Social and Patriotic Front statesman. Having served as Minister for Forests and Agriculture, he ascended to Federal Chancellor in 1932 in the midst of a crisis for the conservative government. In early 1933, he shut down parliament, banned the Austrian Nazi party and assumed dictatorial powers. Suppressing the Socialist movement in February 1934, he cemented the rule of "Austrofascism" through the authoritarian First of May Constitution. Dollfuss was assassinated as part of a failed coup attempt by Nazi agents in 1934. His successor Kurt Schuschnigg maintained the regime until Adolf Hitler's annexation of Austria in 1938.Ernst Kirchweger
Ernst Kirchweger (January 12, 1898 – April 2, 1965 in Vienna) was the first person to die as a result of political conflict in Austria's Second Republic.
From 1916 to 1918, Ernst Kirchweger participated in World War I as a sailor in the Austro-Hungarian Navy. Afterwards, he fought on the side of the Red Army. Until 1934, he was a member of the Social Democratic Party of Austria, but then he joined the Communists, which was outlawed at that time. During the reigns of Austrofascism and Nazism, he risked his life as an activist in illegal trade unions. After Austria's liberation in 1945, having survived concentration camp, he continued to speak out against Fascism.
On March 31, 1965, a demonstration of students, former resistance fighters and unions against Taras Borodajkewycz, a university professor accused of having made anti-Semitic statements, took place in Vienna, while the student organisation of the Freedom Party of Austria organized a riot. There were skirmishes between the participants of the two demonstrations; during one in which Kichweger was attacked by Günther Kümel and severely injured. He died three days later as a result of his injuries. Kümel was sentenced to ten months in prison.
25,000 people attended Kirchweger's funeral, which became an Anti-Fascist manifestation. He was cremated at Feuerhalle Simmering; his ashes are now buried in Hietzing Cemetery in Vienna. However, the approach taken by the official Austria towards Nazism did not change for a long time. Only in the early 1990s, Chancellor Franz Vranitzky acknowledged Austria's share in the guilt for the Holocaust.
In 1990, the Wielandschule in Vienna-Favoriten, a building owned by the Communist Party, was seized by left-wing activists and named Ernst-Kirchweger-Haus. The building has been sold by the Communist Party since.Fatherland Front (Austria)
The Fatherland Front (German: Vaterländische Front, VF) was the ruling political organisation of "Austrofascism". It claimed to be a nonpartisan movement, and aimed to unite all the people of Austria, overcoming political and social divisions. Established on 20 May 1933 by Christian Social Chancellor Engelbert Dollfuss as the only legally permitted party in the country, it was organised along the lines of Italian Fascism, except the Fatherland Front was fully aligned with the Catholic Church and did not advocate any racial ideology, as later Italian Fascism did. It advocated Austrian nationalism and independence from Germany on the basis of protecting Austria's Catholic religious identity from what they considered a Protestant-dominated German state.The Fatherland Front, which was strongly linked with Austria's Catholic clergy, absorbed Dollfuss's Christian Social Party, the agrarian Landbund and the right-wing paramilitary Heimwehren, all of which were opposed to socialism, free-market capitalism and liberal democracy. It established an authoritarian and corporatist regime, the Federal State of Austria, which is commonly known in German as the Ständestaat ("corporate state"). According to the Fatherland Front this form of government and society implemented the social teaching of Pope Pius XI's 1931 encyclical Quadragesimo anno. The Front banned and persecuted all its political opponents, including Communists, Social Democrats—who fought against it in a brief Civil War in February 1934—but also the Austrian Nazis who wanted Austria to join Germany. Chancellor Dollfuss was assassinated by the Nazis in July 1934. He was succeeded as leader of the VF and Chancellor of Austria by Kurt Schuschnigg, who ruled until the invigorated Nazis forced him to resign on 11 March 1938. Austria was annexed by Nazi Germany the next day.
The Fatherland Front maintained a cultural and recreational organisation, called "New Life" (Neues Leben), similar to Germany's Strength Through Joy.The role of the Fatherland Front has been a contentious point in post-War Austrian historiography. While left-wing historians consider it to be the exponent of an Austrian and Catholic-clerical variant of fascism and make it responsible for the failure of democracy in Austria, conservative authors stress its credits in defending the country's independence and opposition to Nazism.Federal State of Austria
The Federal State of Austria (Austrian German: Bundesstaat Österreich ; colloquially known as the Ständestaat, "Corporate State") was a continuation of the First Austrian Republic between 1934 and 1938 when it was a one-party state led by the clerico-fascist Fatherland Front. The Ständestaat concept, derived from the notion of Stände ("estates" or "corporations"), was propaganda advocated by leading regime politicians such as Engelbert Dollfuss and Kurt Schuschnigg. The result was an authoritarian government based on a mix of Italian Fascist and conservative Catholic influences.
It ended in March 1938 with the Anschluss (the Nazi annexation of Austria). Austria would not become an independent country again until 1955, when the Austrian State Treaty ended the Allied occupation of Austria.First Austrian Republic
The First Austrian Republic (German: Republik Österreich) was created after the signing of the Treaty of Saint-Germain-en-Laye on 10 September 1919—the settlement after the end of World War I which ended the Habsburg rump state of Republic of German-Austria—and ended with the establishment of the Austrofascist Federal State of Austria based upon a dictatorship of Engelbert Dollfuss and the Fatherland's Front in 1934. The Republic's constitution was enacted in 1 October 1920 and amended on 7 December 1929. The republican period was increasingly marked by violent strife between those with left-wing and right-wing views, leading to the July Revolt of 1927 and the Austrian Civil War of 1934.Friedrich Mandl
Friedrich ('Fritz') Mandl (9 February 1900 – 8 September 1977) was chairman of Hirtenberger Patronen-Fabrik, a leading Austrian armaments firm founded by his father, Alexander Mandl.
A prominent fascist, Mandl was attached to the Austrofascism and Italian varieties and an opponent of Nazism. In the 1930s he became close to Prince Ernst Rüdiger Starhemberg, the commander of the Austrian nationalist militia ("Heimwehr"), which he furnished with weapons and ammunition.Until 1940, Mandl tried to establish contact with Hermann Göring's office in order to supply Germany with iron.Hans Sima
Hans Sima (June 4, 1918 – October 7, 2006) was an Austrian politician of the Social Democratic Party (SPÖ), serving as governor (Landeshauptmann) of Carinthia from 1965 to 1974.Sima was born in Saifnitz, Austro-Hungarian Empire (today Camporosso, Val Canale (German: Kanaltal), Tarvisio, Province of Udine, Italy). He attended elementary school, Hauptschule, and, from 1933 to 1937, a commercial vocational school. During his schooling, he suffered 6 months' political imprisonment in 1935, under Austrofascism.He entered the civil service of the Carinthian provincial government in 1938. He became Secretary of the Carinthian SPÖ in 1945, after the end of World War II allowed the SPÖ to resume a role in politics, and held the position until 1956. In 1949, he was elected to the Landtag of Carinthia, in which he'd serve until 1974. He became a member of the Carinthian government in 1956, deputy governor of Carinthia in 1963, and governor (Landeshauptmann) in 1965. He was forced out as governor in 1974 in favor of Leopold Wagner, amidst a controversy over bilingual German/Slovene place-name signs, in which Sima was accused of being too accommodating toward the Carinthian Slovenes.Sima died in 2006, in Klagenfurt.Heimwehr
The Heimwehr (German: [ˈhaɪmˌveːɐ̯], Home Guard) or sometimes Heimatschutz (German: [ˈhaɪmatˌʃʊts], Homeland Protection)
were a nationalist, initially paramilitary group operating within Austria during the 1920s and 1930s; they were similar in methods, organisation, and ideology to Germany's Freikorps. Although opposed to parliamentary democracy, the Heimwehr maintained a political wing known as the Heimatblock, which cooperated with Engelbert Dollfuss' conservative government. In 1936, the Heimwehr was absorbed into the Fatherland Front by decree of Chancellor Kurt von Schuschnigg and replaced by a militia supposedly less inclined towards uproar against the regime, the Frontmiliz.History of Vienna
The history of Vienna has been long and varied, beginning when the Roman Empire created a military camp in the area now covered by Vienna's city centre. From that humble beginning, Vienna grew from the Roman settlement known as Vindobona to be an important trading site in the 11th century. It became the capital of the Babenberg dynasty and subsequently of the Austrian Habsburgs, under whom it became one of Europe's cultural hubs. During the 19th century as the capital of the Austrian Empire and later Austria-Hungary, it temporarily became one of Europe's biggest cities. Since the end of World War I, Vienna has been the capital of the Republic of Austria.Karl Marx-Hof
Karl-Marx-Hof (English: Karl Marx Court) is one of the best-known Gemeindebauten (English: municipal tenement complexes) in Vienna, situated in Heiligenstadt, a neighbourhood of the 19th district of Vienna, Döbling.
At over a kilometre in length (1,100 metres (0.68 mi)) and spanning four Straßenbahn (tram) stops, Karl-Marx-Hof is the longest single residential building in the world.List of museums in Austria
This is a list of museums in Austria.List of years in Austria
This is a list of years in Austria. See also the timeline of Austrian history. For only articles about years in Austria that have been written, see Category:Years in Austria.Ostmärkische Sturmscharen
The Ostmärkische Sturmscharen (German pronunciation: [ˈʔɔstmɛʁkɪʃə ˈʃtʊʁmʃaːʁən], Eastern March Stormtroopers) was a right-wing paramilitary group in Austria, founded on 7 December 1930. Recruited from the Katholische Jugend (Catholic Youth), later from journeymen and teacher organisations, it formed an opposition to both to the nationalist Heimwehr forces and the Social Democratic Republikanischer Schutzbund. The Christian Social politician Kurt Schuschnigg was its "Reichsführer".
Founded in Innsbruck, Tyrol, the Ostmärkische Sturmscharen spread over the entire Austrian territory when the association's headquarters were relocated to Vienna in 1933. The organisation then comprised about 15,000 members according to their own figures, though it never became very popular. Nevertheless, in Lower Austria they incorporated the local Heimwehr and received massive support from the Austrian Bauernbund (Farmers' League) organisation. The Bauernbund chairman Leopold Figl, post-war Chancellor of Austria, acted as Lower Austrian "Landesführer".
On the eve of the Austrian Civil War, the Märkische Sturmscharen increasingly adopted a Catholic clerical fascist and antisemite stance. Martial sports and military training became fundamental, and the association began to deploy paramilitary task force formations. Engelbert Dollfuss, Austrian chancellor since 1932, attempted to strengthen them as a counterweight to the radical Heimwehr forces. Sturmscharen troopers also participated in the violent suppression of the Schutzbund revolt in February 1934.
After the Austrofascist Federal State of Austria was established in 1934, Schuschnigg became chancellor upon Dollfuss' assassination during the Nazi July Putsch and the Austrian right-wing paramilitary forces were gradually absorbed by the Fatherland Front (Vaterländische Front, VF) unity party. On 11 April 1936, the Ostmärkische Sturmscharen declared themselves a cultural organisation, hence the final merger of all defence forces into the VF by decree of Chancellor Schuschnigg in October was for them merely a formality. After the Austrian Anschluss to Nazi Germany in 1938, some former members of the Sturmscharen engaged in resistance to Nazism.