Just a few months after the Austrian Civil War Austrian Nazis and German SS soldiers attacked the Chancellery in Vienna in an attempt to depose the ruling Fatherland Front government under Engelbert Dollfuss in favor of replacing it with a pro-Nazi government under Anton Rintelen of the Christian Social Party. The Nazi putsch ultimately failed as the majority of the Austrian population and Federal forces remained loyal to the government. The Nazis did however succeed in killing Chancellor Dollfuss, though Kurt Schuschnigg succeeded him and the Austrofascist regime remained in power.
A German invasion of Austria in support of the putsch was averted due to the guarantee of independence and diplomatic support Austria received from Fascist Italy.
|1934 July Putsch (Austria)|
|Part of the Interwar Period|
Police car at Ballhausplatz outside Chancellery building, 25 July 1934
Austrian Nazi Party supporters
Supported by:Kingdom of Italy
|Commanders and leaders|
Engelbert Dollfuss †|
Ernst Rüdiger Starhemberg
154 SS (Vienna)|
|Entire Federal Army, police, gendarmeries, and paramilitary Heimwehr forces|
|Casualties and losses|
13 later executed
|11–13 civilians killed|
The Nazi Machtergreifung in Germany on 30 January 1933, when President Paul von Hindenburg appointed Adolf Hitler chancellor, gave an enormous boost to Austrian Nazis. When the Austrian chancellor Engelbert Dollfuß obstructed further sessions of the National Council parliament on 4 March 1933, the Nazis responded with demands for a new election, massive propaganda and a wave of bomb terror. Dollfuß responded to these actions with authoritarian measures such as house searches and arrests. The situation was exacerbated by the Bavarian Minister of Justice, the Nazi lawyer Hans Frank, who in a public speech on March 8 threatened the Austrian government with an armed intervention by NSDAP forces. Nevertheless, the right-wing Dollfuss government initially concentrated on the ban of the Communist Party and the Social Democratic Republikanischer Schutzbund paramilitary organisation. When Hans Frank, together with his party fellows Hanns Kerrl and Roland Freisler, on 13 May 1933, personally entered the country to speak in Vienna (where he behaved himself) as well as Graz (where he openly spoke against Dollfuß regime and addressed Austrian Germans encouraging civic disobedience), after a two-day tour, on 15 May 1933, he was allegedly deported and the Austrian Nazi Party banned on 19 June 1933. Many Nazis fled to Germany and joined the Austrian Legion, while others remained in Austria and continued their actions illegally. Hitler's government reacted with harsh economic sanctions aimed at Austrian tourism.
On 25 July 1934, in the midst of difficult social and political tensions, and with the knowledge of official German positions, 154 SS men disguised as Bundesheer soldiers and policemen pushed into the Austrian chancellery. Chancellor Dollfuß was killed by two bullets fired by Nazi Otto Planetta. The rest of the government was able to escape. Another group of the putschists occupied the RAVAG radio building and broadcast a false report about the putative transfer of power from Dollfuß to Anton Rintelen. This was to have been the call for Nazis all over Austria to begin the uprising against the state. There were several days of fighting in parts of Carinthia, Styria and Upper Austria, as well as smaller uprisings in Salzburg. There was fighting in Upper Styria, both the industrial area between Judenburg and Leoben and in Enns, the Deutschlandsberg District in southwestern Styria and in southeastern Styria by Bad Radkersburg. Bloody clashes took place in and around Schladming and Leoben. In Carinthia, the centers of the coup were in Lower Carinthia and Sankt Paul im Lavanttal. In Upper Austria, in addition to individual actions in the Salzkammergut, the fighting was concentrated in the Pyhrn Pass and in the Mühlviertel, where on the night of 26 July, in the Kollerschlag area on the Bavarian-Austrian border, a division of the Austrian Legion invaded Austrian territory and attacked the customs guard and a police station.
The Nazis were not armed, believing that the Austrian military and police would join them once the coup began, but the forces mostly stayed loyal. Early on 26 July, a German courier was arrested at the border crossing in Kollerschlag, carrying precise instructions for the putsch. Called the "Kollerschlag Document", it testified to a clear connection between Bavaria and the July Putsch.
The coup was finally crushed by the police, military and paramilitary units loyal to the government. There is varying information regarding the number of fatalities. Gerhard Jagschitz took over the work of military historian Erwin Steinböck. In 1965 his figures claimed that the July coup and its immediate consequences lead to the deaths of 270 people: 153 Nazi supporters died (including 13 executed and seven people who committed suicide), 104 died on the Government side, along with 13 civilians. In contrast, Austrian historian Kurt Bauer's extensive studies concluded that there were 223 deaths: 111 Nazi supporters, 101 on the Government side, and 11 civilians. The number of injured is estimated at 500–600 people.
On 26 July 1934 military tribunals took place to prosecute rebels. 13 were executed. 4,000 Nazi supporters had been detained. Many fled to Yugoslavia or to Germany. Kurt von Schuschnigg became the new Chancellor and Ernst Rüdiger Starhemberg remained as Vice-Chancellor.
Anton Rintelen (15 November 1876 in Graz, Austria – 28 January 1946) was an Austrian academic, jurist and politician. Initially associated with the right wing Christian Social Party, he later became involved in a Nazi coup d'état plot.Austrofascism
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.
Austrofascism, which was Catholic and corporatist and espoused Austrian nationalism, must be contrasted with Austrian National Socialism, which was pan-German and anti-semitic in outlook.Blood Order
The Blood Order (German: Blutorden), officially known as the Decoration in Memory (of the Munich putsch) of 9 November 1923 (German: Medaille zur Erinnerung an den 9. November 1923), was one of the most prestigious decorations in the Nazi Party. During March 1934, Hitler authorized the Blood Order to commemorate the 9 November 1923 coup attempt of the NSDAP. The medal is silver, with the obverse bearing a depiction of an eagle grasping an oakleaf wreath. Inside the wreath is the date 9.Nov. and to the right is the inscription München 1923–1933. The reverse shows the entrance of the Feldherrnhalle in relief (where the coup ended in defeat), and directly above is the angled swastika with sun rays in the background. Along the top edge is the inscription: UND IHR HABT DOCH GESIEGT (and you have won after all).Chancellery (Austria)
In Austrian politics, the Chancellery (German: Bundeskanzleramt, lit. 'federal chancellery', abbreviated BKA; historically also Hofkanzlei and Staatskanzlei) is the ministry led by the chancellor.
Since the establishment of the First Austrian Republic in 1918, the Chancellery building has also been serving as the venue for the sessions of the Austrian cabinet.
It is located on the Ballhausplatz in the centre of Vienna, vis-à-vis the Hofburg Imperial Palace. Like Downing Street, Quai d'Orsay or – formerly – Wilhelmstrasse, the address has become a synecdoche for governmental power.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 conservative Catholic and Italian Fascist 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.Fridolin Glass
Fridolin Glass, also Glaß (born 14 December 1910 in Lemberg – died 21 February 1943 in the Soviet Union) was an Austrian Nazi activist and Schutzstaffel (SS) officer. Glass came to prominence in 1934 when he became the effective leader of the July Putsch, a failed coup attempt by the Nazis in Austria.Günther Altenburg
Günther Altenburg (5 June 1894 in Königsberg – 23 October 1984 in Bonn) was a German diplomat.
His first diplomatic assignments took him to postings at Rome, Vienna and Bucharest, and he remained involved with southeastern Europe throughout his career. In 1934, he was serving in Vienna during the failed July Putsch, and probably involved in its preparation. Thereafter he was recalled to Berlin, where he worked in the section dealing with Austria and Czechoslovakia.
He joined the Nazi Party in 1935, and was given a position in the secretariat of Foreign Minister Joachim von Ribbentrop. After the invasion of Yugoslavia in April 1941, he was initially slated to become plenipotentiary for Serbia, but on 28 April 1941 he was named Reich plenipotentiary for Greece. As the highest-ranking German civil official in occupied Greece, he functioned as the overseer of the Greek puppet government along with his Italian counterpart Pellegrino Ghigi, and was directly involved in the deportation of the Jewish population of Thessaloniki in spring 1943. He was removed from his post on 3 November 1943, after the Italian capitulation and the complete occupation of Greece by the Germans, which led to a complete restructuring of the German administration under the new Military Governor of Greece, Alexander Löhr.
After the war, he testified at the Nuremberg Trials, and served as the secretary general of the Deutsche Gruppe der Internationalen Handelskammer ("German Group of the International Chamber of Commerce") industrial lobby.Hans Landa
Standartenführer Hans Landa is a fictional character and the main antagonist in the 2009 Quentin Tarantino film Inglourious Basterds. He is portrayed by Austrian actor Christoph Waltz. For his performance, Waltz won the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor, the Golden Globe Award for Best Supporting Actor and the Best Actor Award at the 2009 Cannes Film Festival, among others.Italo-Soviet Pact
The Pact of Friendship, Neutrality, and Nonaggression between Italy and the Soviet Union, also known as the Italo-Soviet Pact, was a diplomatic agreement between the Soviet Union and Italy. Signed on 2 September 1933, the agreement was in place until 22 June 1941 when Italy declared war on the Soviet Union during the Second World War. The pact built on earlier economic relations (traditionally strong between the countries), seeking to ensure security in the Balkans and for a time mutual suspicion of German intentions.July Revolt of 1927
The July Revolt of 1927 (also known as the Vienna Palace of Justice fire, German: Wiener Justizpalastbrand) was a major riot starting on 15 July 1927 in the Austrian capital Vienna. It culminated with police forces firing into the outraged crowd, killing 89 protesters, while five policemen died. More than 600 protestors and around 600 policemen were injured.Kurt Schuschnigg
Kurt Alois Josef Johann Schuschnigg (German: [ˈʃʊʃnɪk]; 14 December 1897 – 18 November 1977) was an Austrofascist politician who was the Chancellor of the Federal State of Austria from the 1934 assassination of his predecessor Engelbert Dollfuss until the 1938 Anschluss with Nazi Germany. Although Schuschnigg accepted that Austria was a "German state" and that Austrians were Germans, he was strongly opposed to Adolf Hitler's ambitions to absorb Austria into the Third Reich and wished for it to remain independent.When Schuschnigg's efforts to keep Austria independent had failed, he resigned his office. After the invasion by Nazi Germany, he was arrested, kept in solitary confinement and eventually interned in various concentration camps. He was liberated in 1945 by the advancing United States Army and spent most of the rest of his life in academia in the United States.ORF (broadcaster)
Österreichischer Rundfunk (English: Austrian Broadcasting Corporation, ORF) is the Austrian national public service broadcaster.
Funded from a combination of television licence fee revenue and limited on-air advertising, ORF is the dominant player in the Austrian broadcast media. Austria was the last country in continental Europe after Albania to allow nationwide private television broadcasting.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.Otto Planetta
Otto Planetta (2 August 1899 in Vyškov, Austro-Hungarian Empire, now Czech Republic – 31 July 1934 in Vienna, Austria) was an Austrian Nazi. On 25 July 1934 he murdered Engelbert Dollfuss, Austrian Chancellor during the unsuccessful July Putsch, four years before the Anschluss. He and the other assassins were members of SS Regiment 89. He was sentenced to death and executed by hanging. He was cremated at Feuerhalle Simmering, his ashes are buried at Dornbacher Friedhof in Vienna.Wilhelm Miklas
Wilhelm Miklas (15 October 1872 – 20 March 1956) was an Austrian politician who served as President of Austria from 1928 until the Anschluss to Nazi Germany in 1938.