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Republikanischer Schutzbund, paramilitary organisation formed 1923/24 from the guard formations of the Social-Democratic Party; its members wore uniforms and were organised in companies, battalions and regiments and well armed (with infantry weapons). Its central headquarters was located in Vienna (J. Deutsch, A. Eifler and T. Körner), every province had its own regional headquarters. The Social-Democrats meant the Republikanischer Schutzbund as an alternative to the federal armed forces, which was dominated by the Christian Socialists. It also stood as a symbol for "proletarian resistance". It partially succeeded the Volkswehr and later became the counterpart to the Christian Socialist Heimwehr. In 1928 the Republikanischer Schutzbund reached its maximum size of 80,000 members, mainly in Vienna, the industrial areas of Lower Austria, Upper Austria, Carinthia and Styria. The Republikanischer Schutzbund was involved in local clashes on numerous occasions; its most important parade was held on October 9, 1928 in Wiener Neustadt. From the 1930s on the Republikanischer Schutzbund continuously lost in importance and power, and on March 30/31, 1933 it was dissolved by the Dollfuß government. It continued to exist underground, and on February 12, 1934 began its fight against the government in Linz (Uprising, February 1934). In the civil war that followed almost 200 members were killed and about 300 wounded. After its defeat many members were arrested, several hundreds fled to the ČSR and to the Soviet Union, where many were killed under Stalin. Some former members fought in the International Brigade in the Spanish civil war 1936-1939. An attempt to establish an "Autonomer Schutzbund" in Austria, coexisting with the Revolutionäre Sozialisten proved unsuccessful.
Literature: J. Deutsch, A. Eifler, ein Soldat der Freiheit, 1947; R. Stadler, Opfer verlorener Zeiten, 1974; K. Haas, Zur Wehrpolitik der österreichischen Sozial-Dem. in der 1. Republik, in: L. Jedlicka and R. Neck, Österreich 1927-38. Vom Justizpalast zum Heldenplatz 1975.