Austrian citizens gather in the Heldenplatz to hear Hitler's declaration of annexation.
The territory of the German Reich and Austria after World War I
The German Confederation 1815-1866
The dissolution of Austria-Hungary in 1918
German military map during the Second World War, with no border between Germany and Austria (top right; also showing Alsace as part of Germany because it was directly incorporated into the Reich)
Soldiers of the Austrian Federal Army in Vienna, 12 February 1934.
Supporters of Schuschnigg campaigning for the independence of Austria in March 1938, shortly before the Anschluss.
Seyss-Inquart and Hitler with Himmler and Heydrich to the right in Vienna, March 1938
Cheering crowds greet the Nazis in Vienna.
Hitler crosses the border into Austria in March 1938.
Hitler announces the Anschluss on the Heldenplatz, Vienna, 15 March 1938.
Immediately after the Anschluss, Vienna’s Jews were forced to wash pro-independence slogans from the city’s pavements.
Voting ballot from 10 April 1938. The ballot text reads "Do you agree with the reunification of Austria with the German Reich that was enacted on 13 March 1938, and do you vote for the party of our leader Adolf Hitler?" The large circle is labelled "Yes", the smaller "No".
Gate to the garage yard in the Mauthausen-Gusen concentration camp
"Stairs of Death" at Mauthausen-Gusen with prisoners forced to carry a granite block up 186 steps to the top of the quarry.
A map showing the border changes of Germany in the various years 1933 (red), 1939 (pink) and 1943 (orange).
"Red-White-Red Book" published by the Austrian Ministry of Foreign Affairs in 1946 describes the events of Austria between 1938-1945 by the Founders of the Second Austrian Republic.
The SS raid a Jewish community center, Vienna, March 1938.

The annexation of the Federal State of Austria into the German Reich on 13 March 1938.

- Anschluss

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Engelbert Dollfuss

Austrian fascist politician who served as Chancellor of Austria between 1932 and 1934.

Engelbert Dollfuss c. 1930
Dollfuss' birthplace in Texing
Chancellor Dollfuss in Geneva, 1933
Austrian Chancellor Engelbert Dollfuß wearing the Heimwehr uniform (1933)
Grave of Engelbert Dollfuss

His successor Kurt Schuschnigg maintained the regime until Adolf Hitler's annexation of Austria in 1938.

Kurt Schuschnigg

Schuschnigg in 1936
Schuschnigg, 1923
Chancellor Schuschnigg (right) with his state secretary Guido Schmidt and the Italian foreign minister Galeazzo Ciano, 1936
Jubilant crowds greet Hitler's motorcade entering Vienna, 15 March 1938

Kurt Alois Josef Johann von Schuschnigg (14 December 1897 – 18 November 1977) was an Austrian Fatherland Front 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.

Nazi Germany

The German state between 1933 and 1945, when Adolf Hitler and the Nazi Party controlled the country, transforming it into a dictatorship.

Germany's territorial control at its greatest extent during World War II (late 1942):
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Adolf Hitler became Germany's head of state, with the title of Führer und Reichskanzler, in 1934.
Germany's territorial control at its greatest extent during World War II (late 1942):
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While the traditional German states were not formally abolished (excluding Lübeck in 1937), their constitutional rights and sovereignty were eroded and ultimately ended. Prussia was already under federal administration when Hitler came to power, providing a model for the process.
Joseph Goebbels, Reich Minister of Public Enlightenment and Propaganda
A Nazi propaganda poster proclaiming that Danzig is German
German soldiers march near the Arc de Triomphe in Paris, 14 June 1940
Death and destruction during the Battle of Stalingrad, October 1942
German refugees in Bedburg, near Kleve, 19 February 1945
Map of the Greater German Reich with administrative divisions set by the Nazi Party, 1944
Public execution of 54 Poles in Rożki, Masovian Voivodeship (near Radom), German-occupied Poland, 1942
Heinrich Himmler, Hitler and Viktor Lutze perform the Nazi salute at the Nuremberg Rally, September 1934
Hitler, Göring, Goebbels and Rudolf Hess during a military parade in 1933
Chart showing the pseudo-scientific racial divisions used in the racial policies of Nazi Germany
A meeting of the four jurists who imposed Nazi ideology on the legal system of Germany (left to right: Roland Freisler, Franz Schlegelberger, Otto Georg Thierack, and Curt Rothenberger)
A column of tanks and other armoured vehicles of the Panzerwaffe near Stalingrad, 1942
IG Farben synthetic oil plant under construction at Buna Werke (1941). This plant was part of the complex at Auschwitz concentration camp.
Autobahn, late 1930s
(from left) Hitler; Robert Ley, head of the German Labour Front; Ferdinand Porsche, armaments manufacturer; and Hermann Göring, head of the Four Year Plan (1942)
Woman with Ostarbeiter badge at the IG Farben plant in Auschwitz
German loot stored at Schlosskirche Ellingen, Bavaria (April 1945)
Nazi boycott of Jewish businesses, April 1933. The posters say "Germans! Defend yourselves! Don't buy from Jews!"
Poster from the Nazi Party's Office of Racial Policy: "60 000 RM is what this person with hereditary illness costs the community in his lifetime. Fellow citizen, that is your money too."
A wagon piled high with corpses outside the crematorium in the Buchenwald concentration camp liberated by the U.S. Army, 1945
Soviet prisoners of war in Mauthausen
The Nazi salute in school (1934): children were indoctrinated at an early age.
Young women of the Bund Deutscher Mädel (League of German Girls) practising gymnastics in 1941
Statues representing the ideal body were erected in the streets of Berlin for the 1936 Summer Olympics.
Prisoner barracks at Dachau Concentration Camp, where the Nazis established a dedicated clergy barracks for clerical opponents of the regime in 1940
General Erich Hoepner at the Volksgerichtshof in 1944
A Nazi book burning on 10 May 1933 in Berlin, as books by Jewish and leftist authors are burned
Plans for Berlin called for the Volkshalle (People's Hall) and a triumphal arch to be built at either end of a wide boulevard.
Leni Riefenstahl (behind cameraman) at the 1936 Summer Olympics
Defendants in the dock at the Nuremberg trials

The Saarland voted by plebiscite to rejoin Germany in 1935, and in 1936 Hitler sent troops into the Rhineland, which had been de-militarized after World War I. Germany seized Austria in the Anschluss of 1938, and demanded and received the Sudetenland region of Czechoslovakia in that same year.

Republic of German-Austria

Country created following World War I as the initial rump state for areas with a predominantly German-speaking and ethnic German population within what had been the Austro-Hungarian Empire.

Map indicating German-speaking areas (red) within the Austro-Hungarian Empire in 1911
Austro-Hungarian postal stamp used in German-Austria
One-krone banknote, overprinted with the name Deutschösterreich ("German-Austria")

Their primary objective was Anschluss or union with Germany.

Heim ins Reich

Foreign policy pursued by Adolf Hitler before and during World War II, beginning in 1938.

The West Germanic languages

Prior to the Anschluss in 1938, a powerful radio transmitter in Munich bombarded Austria with propaganda of what Hitler had already done for Germany, and what he could do for his native home country Austria.

First Austrian Republic

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 First Austrian Republic in 1930
Lands claimed by German-Austria in 1918
The First Austrian Republic in 1930
Heimwehr parade, 1928
Social Democrats celebrating 1 May 1932
25 schilling golden coin
One of the many apartment buildings built in Red Vienna
Dollfuss addressing the League of Nations in 1933
Austrian soldiers during the brief civil war of 1934

Despite Austrian protests this treaty also forbade Anschluss, or union of Austria with Germany, without League of Nations consent.


The unified armed forces of Nazi Germany from 1935 to 1945.

Reichskriegsflagge, the war flag and naval ensign of the Wehrmacht (1938–1945 version)
Reichswehr soldiers swearing the Hitler oath in August 1934
Common themes in Nazi propaganda revolved around national humiliation after the Treaty of Versailles, seen as a diktat (dictation) by Germans. This poster expresses that the corridor of "Danzig is German"; ceded to Poland as maritime access, it simultaneously divided East Prussia from the rest of Germany.
An Afro-Arab soldier of the Free Arabian Legion
Wehrmachthelferinnen in occupied Paris, 1940
Structure of the Wehrmacht (1935–1938)
Structure of the Wehrmacht (1939–1945)
"Foot-mobile" infantry of the Wehrmacht, 1942
A tank destroyer battalion, part of the 21 Panzer Division of the Afrika Korps
German paratroopers landing on Crete
Karl Dönitz inspecting the Saint-Nazaire submarine base in France, June 1941
An army Oberleutnant with a SS-Hauptsturmführer from the Waffen-SS in 1944
German troops in the Soviet Union, October 1941
German soldiers in occupied Paris
German tanks during a counter-attack in North Africa, 1942
80% of the Wehrmacht's military deaths were in the Eastern Front.
A German war cemetery in Estonia
Civilians executed by German paratroopers in Kondomari
German troops marching civilians to execution
Sixteen blindfolded Partisan youth awaiting execution by German forces in Serbia, 20 August 1941
Martin Bormann, Hermann Göring, and Bruno Loerzer surveying the damage made by the 20 July plot
German Instrument of Surrender, 8 May 1945 – Berlin-Karlshorst
Former Wehrmacht generals Adolf Heusinger and Hans Speidel being sworn into the newly founded Bundeswehr on 12 November 1955

With the remilitarization of the Rhineland and the Anschluss, the German Reich's territory increased significantly, providing a larger population pool for conscription.

Fatherland Front (Austria)

The right-wing conservative, nationalist and corporatist ruling political organisation of the Federal State of Austria.

Fatherland Front rally, 1936
Truck with supporters of Schuschnigg (pictured on the posters) campaigning for the independence of Austria, March 1938 (shortly before the Anschluss)

Schuschnigg acknowledged that Austrians were Germans and that Austria was a "German state" but he strongly opposed an Anschluss and passionately wished for Austria to remain independent from Germany.

Treaty of Saint-Germain-en-Laye (1919)

Signed on 10 September 1919 by the victorious Allies of World War I on the one hand and by the Republic of German-Austria on the other.

Austrian chancellor Renner addressing the delegates during the signing ceremony
Ratification certificate of Treaty of Saint Germain
Dissolution of Austria-Hungary

Because of all these reasons, Austria would later lead to support for the idea of Anschluss (political union) with Nazi Germany.

Federal State of Austria

Continuation of the First Austrian Republic between 1934 and 1938 when it was a one-party state led by the clerical fascist Fatherland Front.

The Federal State of Austria in 1938
Fatherland Front rally in 1936
The Federal State of Austria in 1938
Kurt Schuschnigg in 1936
Flag of the Fatherland Front

It ended in March 1938 with the Anschluss (the German annexation of Austria).