Hitler's Takeover of Austria: Myth vs. Reality

TLDR Despite a failed Nazi coup in 1934, Hitler successfully takes over Austria in 1938, exploiting a scandal and consolidating his power. The Nazis' strategic and economic interests in Austria lead to widespread repression, including violence against Jews and the establishment of a central agency for Jewish emigration.

Timestamped Summary

00:00 The episode discusses the German takeover of Austria in 1938 and explores the mythologizing of Austria as the first victim of Hitler, while acknowledging the presence of Austrian Nazis and those who welcomed Hitler.
05:33 Hitler plans to take Austria and Czechoslovakia first in order to secure the eastern borders and eventually expand further east, but the generals are alarmed by the idea of expelling millions of people and fear it will lead to war with Britain and France.
09:51 Hitler takes advantage of a scandal involving two high-ranking military officials to clean house and consolidate his power, ultimately becoming the leader of the army and eliminating any opposition to his rule.
14:26 Hitler's dream of reuniting Austria with Germany is still alive, despite a failed Nazi coup in 1934, and he is determined to make it a reality.
18:54 The Nazis are interested in Austria for strategic and economic reasons, as they need the country's raw materials for their armaments program and economic agenda, particularly iron ore in Styria, and Mussolini is willing to give up Austria in exchange for Hitler's support for his imperial ambitions in Africa and the Balkans.
23:29 Schuschnik agrees to most of Hitler's demands, appoints Sase Inkvarts as Minister of the Interior, and allows the Nazis to gain control in Austria, but then surprises everyone by proposing a referendum on union with Germany with a question that favors Austria's independence and excludes voters under the age of 24.
27:52 Hitler sends an ultimatum to Vienna, demanding that the referendum be changed to approve a union with Germany and that Schuessnig resign and be replaced by a Nazi, leading to the appointment of the Nazi guy as federal chancellor and the inevitable invasion of Austria by the Wehrmacht.
32:35 Hitler's emotional response to the enthusiastic reception in Austria leads him to decide to fully absorb Austria into Germany.
37:08 Hitler absorbs Austria into Germany, drafting laws to make it a German province and receiving ecstatic support from the Austrian people.
41:46 After the Nazis took control of Austria, they engaged in widespread repression, including detaining thousands of people, killing Nazi critics, and subjecting Jews to horrifying acts of violence and discrimination.
46:28 After the Nazis took control of Austria, Jews were subjected to violent acts of discrimination, including being forced to scrub pro-Nazi graffiti while being jeered at, kicked, punched, and spat on by mobs of Austrians, leading many Jews to try to flee to the Czech border where they were ambushed, beaten, and turned back, resulting in hundreds of suicides; in response, the Nazis decided to kick out all the Jews and set up a central agency for Jewish emigration, led by Adolf Eichmann, who would later play a major role in the Holocaust.
51:14 In the next episode, the podcast will explore the perspective of the Nazis and their justification for their actions, as well as the escalating persecution and emigration of Jews in Germany.
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