Anschluss

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Why did Hitler want a union with Austria?

  • Hitler had always had a long harboured ambition to annex his homeland. 
  • Hitler was encourgaed by how many Austrians wanted to become a part of Germany. The Austrian Nazi Party had gained considerable report. 
  • Since 1934, the Austrian government had struggled to keep the Austrian Nazi under control after they organised a huge demonstratio in Vienna. However, the Austrian government had managed to do it up to 1936 as they had the support of Italy, but as Hitler and Mussolini began to move closer to one another, they couldn't rely on Italian support anymore. 
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Events of Anschluss

  • In February 1938, Schuschnigg, the Austrian Chancellor visited Hitler's home in Berchtesgarden because the Austrian Nazi's had increased their influence by money and advice given from Berlin. Schuschnigg believed that he could persuade Hitler to restrain the Austrian Nazi's. 
  • However, Hitler bullied Schuschnigg and insisted that he should include Austrians Nazi's on his cabinet. Shocked, Schuschnigg agreed to this and Seyss-Inquart became Austrians Interior Minister. 
  • Schuschnigg decided to hold a plebscite on the 13th March to see whether Austria wanted to become a party of Germany. Considering there had been an increase in the sense of Austrian identity, Hitler feared a no vote and demanded a cancellation of the plebscite, made the Austrian Nazi's to stir up opposition and threatened war. 
  • In the end Schuschnigg resigned and Seyss-Inquart became Chancellor  and invitied Hitler and his troops into Austria to preserve peace. 
  • On the 12th March 1938, Hitler and his troops crossed over the frontier and was enthusistically greeted by the Austrian public. 
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Why should Britain have involved itself in the Ans

  • It strengthened the hands of those who wanted to take a firmier line against agressors. 
  • It contradicted the British principles and the Treaty of Versailles. 
  • Czechoslovakia would be the next target for Hitler. 
  • Most of the European Countries were millitaristic. It would have been in British best interest to keep some who had preserved their democracy. 
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Why shouldn't have Britain involve itself with the

  • Britain had no treaties which bound itself to Austria and shared no borders. 
  • They couldn't rely on the French as an ally as during the crisis the French had no government. They did nothing about this clear violation of the Treaty of Versaille, accept for protesting. 
  • Britain didn't want Germany to become hostile and suspicous
  • Mussolini didn't object to the Anschluss
  • Couldn't fight for the Treaty of Versaille as it was practically void. 
  • The Anschluss held up some the principles of the League such as self-determination. 
  • The League couldn't deal with this problem and Britain didn't have the military capacity to wage a war. 
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Consequences of the Anschluss

  • Undermined the British position in Europe. 
  • It allowed Hitler to exapnd into Eastern Europe and revise the Treaty of Versaille. There was a number of German-speaking people in other countries such as Poland, Lithuania, Switzerland and Czechoslovakia. 
  • Loss of an ally for Britain. 
  • There was an Easter Agreement between Italy and Britian which allowed Italy freehand in Libya. 
  • Hitler international prestige increased. 
  • Made the British consider rearming. 
  • Germany had gained 295 million Reichmarks. 
  • A step on the Road to war. 
  • Czechoslovakia was made vulnerable to attack as with the gain of Austria Germany could attack from the South as well as the North and the West. 
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