Austria

   German losses in consequence of the Versailles Treaty* amounted to 70,000 square kilometers, or 13 percent of the prewar Reich. While many
   Germans rationalized the loss of Alsace-Lorraine,* they were surprised at the Allied veto of Anschluss with Austria. Germans argued that if the Allies "robbed" them of land on the basis of "self-determination," it was fitting that German Austria be allowed to join the Reich. With the collapse of the Habsburg monarchy, an event welcomed by many of Austria s German nationalists, Aus-trians of all backgrounds and political opinions were eager to unite with Ger-many; until 1933 Austria s Social Democrats were the most vocal adherents of Anschluss. If successful, the result would consummate the old Grossdeutsch solution rejected in the 1860s by Bismarck. But this equation seemed absurd to the war-weary Allies. After years of bloodshed, how could they sanction use of the peace process to aggrandize Germany? Indeed, some in Paris hoped to par-tition the Reich into the thirty-four independent states extant before 1864. Yet the decision to veto an Anschluss embittered Germans and made Austria, es-pecially in the early postwar years, a ward of the West. With its limited food supply and dependence on economic assistance, Austria faced the threat of civil war from its inception.
   The issue of Anschluss did not die with the League of Nations veto. Gustav Stresemann* proclaimed it a future goal at the 1925 Locarno* deliberations, tying it again to the principle of self-determination. He secured a vibrant echo from Austria, where Hermann Neubacher's Österreichisch-Deutscher Volksbund (Austrian-German People s League) organized multiparty support for Anschluss. Moreover, it became a major concern in March 1931 when Berlin* and Vienna announced their desire to establish a customs union. The brainchild of Bernhard von Bulow,* State Secretary in Germany's Foreign Office, the proposal had greater support in Austria than in Germany. Nevertheless, the reaction abroad differed little from that in 1919. Many Europeans, aware that Prussia s* nine-teenth-century Zollverein had provided a basis for Bismarck s Reich, viewed a customs union as the prelude to political union. Since many Germans also knew this, it should have come as little shock when the Hague Tribunal vetoed the proposed union in September 1931. The judges surmised that such a union would violate the 1922 Geneva Protocol,* whereby Austria agreed to avoid economic agreements that might compromise its freedom.
   The Hague s ruling, coupled with Germany s thriving fanaticism, tended to negate the mood for Anschluss among many Austrians. Beginning in 1932, Neu-bacher s Volksbund shed its persona as an above-party organization seeking union through international consensus. Increasingly a voice of the radical Right, it denounced the League and called for Anschluss via "national self-help. This shift provoked a radical change in the concept of Anschluss.
   REFERENCES:Gehl, Austria; Ritter, "Hermann Neubacher"; Suval, Anschluss Question; Von Klemperer, Ignaz Seipel.

A Historical dictionary of Germany's Weimar Republic, 1918-1933. .

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