National Socialism: On November 14, 1904, a "German Workers´ Party" was founded in Aussig (Ústí nad Labem, Czech Republic), which won 3 seats in 1911 and called itself "German National Socialist Workers´ Party" (DNSAP) from 1918; the word "socialist" was meant to differentiate them from the bourgeois German nationalist movement. The Austrian wing under W. Riehl won only 23,431 votes in 1919 but 2 seats in the Landtag of Salzburg. From 1920 the swastika was worn as a distinguishing mark and contact with the party wing in Munich was established. In 1920 and 1922 A. Hitler participated in meetings and lectured in Austria. The Austrian DNSAP split into W. Riehl's "Deutschsozialer Verein" and into the "Schulzgruppe" led by the post-office official K. Schulz, which were hostile to one another. On May 4, 1926, the NSDAP (Hitler movement) was re-established in Vienna by R. Suchenwirth, and completely subordinated itself to the party in Germany. According to the German model, a provincial administration was established, in 1927 a gauleiter was appointed for each province. T. Habicht was the German "gauinspektor" from 1931-1934. In the elections to the Nationalrat (1930) the NSDAP received only 111,843 votes and no seat. However, the party enlarged its organization and its paramilitary groups (Sturmabteilungen = SA, Schutzstaffeln = SS) and was very successful in the Landtag and municipal elections in Vienna, Lower Austria and Salzburg in 1932 (Vienna 15 seats, Lower Austria 8, Salzburg 6). After an attack on members of the auxiliary police forces, the NSDAP was prohibited on June 19, 1933, was declared illegal but tried to destabilize Austria through increased terrorist activities (bomb attacks in January, May and June 1934). The July Putsch of July 25, 1934, in which the Austrian chancellor E. Dollfuß was killed, caused fighting in several parts of Austria, especially in Carinthia, Styria and Salzburg. National Socialists that had fled to Germany formed the Austrian Legion.
German pressure in the field of foreign policy beginning with the Thousand Mark Ban was alleviated by the envoy Franz von Papen from 1935, but the NSDAP still remained the strongest opponent of the Corporate State. In the July Pact ( Juliabkommen) of 1936, Germany promised not to interfere with Austrian affairs, but the NSDAP became increasingly popular among the large number of unemployed young people, university graduates and teachers, in the army and among civil servants, among businessmen and also among workers and farmers. From July 1936 the party was considered more or less legal and founded a committee of seven people with the knowledge of the government and an "office for the people" (Volkspolitisches Referat) within the secretariat-general of the Fatherland Front (Vaterländische Front). However, within the NSDAP the command structure was changed, and the former landesleiter and gauleiter J. Leopold dismissed. In March 1938, Seyß-Inquart, who came from a pro-annexationist background, played the most important role along with a Carinthian group (H. Klausner, F. Rainer, O. Globocnik), whereas E. Kaltenbrunner, head of the Austrian SS from 1937, was a hardliner. The party became increasingly controlled by persons from Germany (Göring's adviser W. Keppler) while regional leaders in Austria lost influence. Nevertheless they promoted the seizure of power in all larger cities by means of enormous demonstrations (Austria 1938-1945).
Gauleiter J. Bürckel shaped the further development of the NSDAP, which was organized following the German model even before the anschluss (from gauleiter and kreisleiter down to local organisations, Hitlerjugend etc.). The NSDAP tried to penetrate all social spheres by means of associations (National Socialist Association, Strength through Joy, the German Labour Front, National Socialist German Student League, National Socialist Motor Corps, "Volkskultur"). Strictly organized mass rallies were common practice.
The number of members in the NSDAP increased rapidly because it brought advantages and privileges. About 38,000 persons were recognized as former "illegals" (especially in Carinthia and in Styria), in November 1938 127,056 people paid membership fees and by February 1942 688,478 (among them 159,927 members of the military). In 1947 541,723 former party members were registered of whom 43,468 were members of the SS or high-ranking party members. More than 100,000 people had been members of the illegal NSDAP before the anschluss. The decline in members can be explained by the number of soldiers who fell in the war and POWs who returned to Austria at a later date. The NSDAP recruited its members mostly from the middle classes, a large number worked in the administration or in the liberal professions, workers and farmers were a rather small group among party members. National Socialism was mainly supported by men, only 15% of party members were women. However, if family members are included, about 25% of the population were members.
After the defeat of Germany in World War II, the NSDAP was forbidden on May 8, 1945, by constitutional law (and, in international law, Article 10 of the State Treaty of May 15, 1955) and its members fell under the purview of special laws. In 1945 they were also disenfranchised. The Law on National Socialists (Denazification) of 1946 (amended in 1993) determined all further treatment and the resumption of National Socialist Activity was forbidden by law.
Literature: G. Rühle, Das Großdeutsche Reich. Die österreichischen Kampfjahre, 1940; R. Luža, Österreich und die großdeutsche Idee in der NS-Zeit, 1975; S. Meissl, K-D. Mulley and O. Rathkolb, Verdrängte Schuld, verfehlte Sühne. Entnazifizierung in Österreich 1945-55, 1986; E. Tálos and E. Hanisch, NS-Herrschaft in Österreich 1938-45, 1988; B. F. Pauley, Der Weg in den Nationalsozialismus. Ursprünge und Entwicklung in Österreich, 1988; F. Schausberger, Ins Parlament, um es zu zerstören. Die Nationalsozialisten in den österreichischen Landtagen 1932/33, 1995.
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