This week marks a sobering anniversary for Austria: seventy-five years since the Anschluss of March 1938. The occasion prompted Elisabeth Sabaditsch-Wolff to express some thoughts about what happened back then, and the parallels with what is happening now across Europe and the entire Western world.
Lonely in the Classroom
by Elisabeth Sabaditsch-Wolff
This week we Austrians commemorate one of Austria’s darkest days: on March 12, 2013 we remember the 75th anniversary of the so-called Anschluss. Adolf Hitler’s triumphant return to his native country marked the end of Austria’s sovereignty and one of the culminating points of the rampant appeasement politics of the time — for which Neville Chamberlain was the premier example.
I am not going into the historical details, which may be found here. I will discuss the significance of the Heldenplatz, and the Hofburg surrounding the Heldenplatz. It was here, from that famous balcony, that Hitler delivered his famous speech, cheered by 200,000 Austrians, saying:
“The oldest eastern province of the German people shall be, from this point on, the newest bastion of the German Reich” followed by his “greatest accomplishment” (completing the annexing of Austria to form a Greater German Reich) by saying “Als Führer und Kanzler der deutschen Nation und des Reiches melde ich vor der deutschen Geschichte nunmehr den Eintritt meiner Heimat in das Deutsche Reich.” Translation: “As leader and chancellor of the German nation and Reich I announce to German history now the entry of my homeland into the German Reich.” Hitler later commented: “Certain foreign newspapers have said that we fell on Austria with brutal methods. I can only say: even in death they cannot stop lying. I have in the course of my political struggle won much love from my people, but when I crossed the former frontier (into Austria) there met me such a stream of love as I have never experienced. Not as tyrants have we come, but as liberators.”
1 Liulevicius, Vejas Gabriel (2009). The German Myth of the East: 1800 to the Present. New York: Oxford University Press. p. 184. 2 “Video: Hitler proclaims Austria’s inclusion in the Reich (2 MB)” [mpg file]. Retrieved 2007-03-11. 3 Educational|accessdate=2007-03-11
As official Austria commemorates this terrible date by looking back and finally coming to grips with the fact that Austria was not just a victim, but that many — too many — Austrians marched alongside the “invading” army, we should never forget that those who do not learn from history are doomed to repeat it.
Learning from history does not only mean looking back, but also doing everything to prevent evil from happening again.
Every time I walk across the Heldenplatz, on my way to another conference — be it an OSCE gathering or the recent one sponsored by the Alliance of Civilizations — I glance up to the balcony and remind myself why I do what I do. I think about the millions of people who were blinded by a mad dictator. I think about the many weak politicians who appeased this madman to secure “peace in our time”, most likely without ever bothering to take a look at either the NSDAP’s party program or Mein Kampf. I think about the hatred spewed against “the other” by the National Socialists and the many Austrians who either supported or were indifferent to the incorporation of Austria into the Third Reich.
And as I look at the balcony from which Hitler mapped out his plans and was rewarded by cheers, I ponder the tragedy unfolding before our very eyes, today, 75 years later.
We have not one Chamberlain, but thousands.
We have another Hitler in the making, there is appeasement on a never-before-seen level (we need more funding for more dialogue!)
And we are once again discussing this appeasement on the Heldenplatz, in the Hofburg.
Like 75 years ago, there is open hatred for the “other”, there are Jews fleeing many European cities, and Europeans are threatened into silence about what they see every day.
In so many ways, the current situation is more worrying than what our forefathers witnessed more than seven decades ago. The indifference among Austrians, but especially an the part of the politicians, with regard to the many immigrants who do not share our values — it is truly, staggeringly maddening.
But — God help me if I become complicit in this history-repeating-itself exercise. I will continue to be warned by that famous balcony every time I pass it. I will continue to be vigilant. I will continue to speak out. I will not be silenced by bullies and thugs.
I have learned my lesson from what transpired in 1938, and will continue to do so.
Sometimes I feel very alone in the classroom.
[To the left of whoever is standing next to Adolf Hitler is the entrance to today’s OSCE headquarters.]
They drove out and destroyed the highly-civilized Jews and invited in and subsidize the anti-Civilization Muslims.
Something’s fundamentally wrong with the Europeans, mentally.
(And Americans, as well, who welcome those who would replace and eradicate them.)
“Something’s fundamentally wrong with the Europeans, mentally.”
I have to agree. The evidence is overwhelming.
It’s as if, too horrified by reality, most Europeans have withdrawn into themselves in an effort not to have to deal with ‘out there’.
I suspect that Chamberlain thought he was dealing with a fellow CFR/RIIA affiliate, and after all, he had a signature on a piece of paper, and assumed that that was enough.
Adolf played his own game of Taqiyah and, without one shot being fired, eliminated 52 Czech divisions from a potential allied lineup and added about 1300 Skoda tanks to his own arsenal. At this point Hitler was equipped for real war.
I have difficulty with the idea that Chamberlain was stupid and/or naive, and that his intelligence services had not briefed him properly. In hindsight, this one act of betrayal (of the Czech people), also sentenced continental Europe to up to 50 years of tyranny. There is something going on here that the history books do not tell us.
I too, think the situation is now worse, what the Nazis achieved by a brazen contempt for ‘old world’ diplomacy, the Islamic forces are achieveing through the lubricating power of political bribery and blackmail, and the subborning of the media, particularly television.
Again, truth is being manipulated before our eyes, and again the word ‘peace’ is being used in an obviously mendacious manner.
Once more, our leaders are playing the game of betrayal, is this the end game described by the Georgia Guidestones?
There is more than meets the eye with Chamberlain at Munich, but it is perhaps less exciting and more mundane. Maybe he really did believe Herr Hitler, and thought that by signing the agreement, the two countries had avoided going to war. And maybe he knew very well what was coming.
In any case, what Chamberlain knew for certain was that Britain was totally unprepared for war with Germany. Long after the war , minutes from cabinet meetings were revealed — I wish I could cite a source, but it’s been more than forty years since I read this stuff — that showed that British rearmament had begun far too late, well after the German reoccupation of the Rhineland, to come anywhere close to catching up with Germany. And the French also had no chance against the Reich.
Chamberlain needed a face-saving way to buy time, and I think he did the best he could, the best he knew how to do. Perhaps he thought he was buying more than a year — maybe two or three — giving Britain a chance to meet the Reich on more equal terms.
However, in what was presumably an unintended consequence, Munich convinced the Führer that the leadership of Britain was weak and cowardly, and would roll over again when Poland’s turn came. He didn’t understand the dynamics of British politics, especially the geopolitics of the Empire and the British Navy. An attack against Poland could not be ignored or negotiated away with another “piece of paper”, or the entire basis of Britain’s global power would be put at risk.
When the Wehrmacht crossed the border into Poland, the rest followed naturally, much to Hitler’s dismay. The die was cast.
What is less clear is why Germany went ahead and declared war on the United States. It gave Britain a mighty ally, and was exactly what Roosevelt was hoping for. It was not necessary. Why did Hitler do it?
I have no answer to that question.
Kennedy, the Historian that is, has pointed out the AH had a financial imperative to plunder Eastern Europe in 1939, Socialism is very expensive, and Adolf had just separated himself from the banksters.
War appears to have been scheduled for 1945, this would have seen the completion of his mammoth battleships and many of his other exotic weaponry.
If you are right, which I am quite prepared to accept, then the standard of Brit intelligence was extremely low, or else they were looking in the wrong direction!
As for AH declaring war on the USA, that appears to be folly unless the Germans were ahead in the production of nukes and knew it.
There is a certain amount of evidence that has come to light that the Germans were enriching uranium at the IG Farben Buna plant at Auschwitz, the one that did not produce even 1 oz of Buna.
But this of course opens an even bigger can of worms…..
But so was the standard of German intelligence. They really didn’t think the Brits would go to war over Poland, anymore than they would over Czechoslovakia.
There were monumental blunders on all sides. Stalin refused to credit reports from his military intelligence people that Hitler was about to invade the USSR in the summer of 1941. He just couldn’t believe that Hitler would do anything so rash — he didn’t believe Hitler’s Lebensraum rhetoric. He assumed it was the same sort of boilerplate propaganda that the Soviet organs issued all the time.
Stalin’s blunder is similar to ours today. People didn’t think Hitler meant exactly what he said, just as people today don’t think Hamas and al-Qaradawi mean exactly what they say.
The CIA and the Pentagon make the mistake of thinking they are looking in the mirror when they talk to the Ikhwan. They think they are negotiating with cynical pragmatists like themselves, not realizing that they are dealing with hardened ideologues who will tell any lie and break any promise to reach their goals, who plan decades and even centuries ahead, in anticipation of certain victory.
We must endure an extended period of sorrow and destruction before we see the error of our ways. If we ever do.
Baron: I read decades ago a PhD dissertation on just this point. (It was a CIA funded effort, BTW.)
His conclusion: Adolf and his OKH sold Stalin on the following alternate rationale for Germany’s positioning of so many army formations at the frontier.
Namely, that they were but a part of the Nazi-Soviet economic negotiations that were then on going…
And that Hitler was placing them for p u r e l y psychological, negotiating reasons…
But that he had no actual intention to invade…
Because he, Adolf, was loathe to initiate a second front while still tied down with Britain.
Next: Stalin completely accepted the, then, conventional view that the Tsar had triggered German hostilities by mobilizing the Russian Army in 1914…
And that, until the Russians mobilized, the Germans were sitting on their hands.
And, of course, Russia lost WWI even before Germany did.
The result was that German negotiators were getting the deals of a lifetime — right up until June 22. Stalin threw Berlin every single thing the asked for. Oil was being unloaded — at the tracks — even as German troops seized the trains.
This master deception was entirely staffed out — by OKH — and had was the biggest fake out until the Nazis were sold a bill of goods about Overlord.
The Soviets also sold Berlin a bill of goods WRT their status in December 1941. That’s why Adolf figured he could afford to declare war on America. Both Britain and Russia were playing possum!
Stalin held off the counter-attack in front of Moscow until it was impossible to delay any further.
(Japan was a full week late in attacking Pearl Harbor. She’d screwed up when issuing new code books. Their tardy arrival caused the start date to shift from December 1 to December 8 — Tokyo time.
Further, by using old and new code books at the same time, the USN and RN broke in to the new codes very, very, quickly.)
To complete the Possum: FDR leaked Rainbow 5 — an extremely classified war plan — in the days immediately prior to Pearl Harbor.
It was not a coincidence. He used Hap Arnold to leak it. Within Rainbow 5 a dreary, slow, mobilization tempo was laid out. It’s most optimistic projection had America only beginning to be ready for a n y European operations by June 1943. (!)
A f t e r it was all over the press, with the FBI hounding for the perps, it’s veracity was implicitly attested to.
Adolf swallowed it whole.
The ‘optimistic’ production estimates for June 43 were surpassed by May of 42.(!)
Churchill, Stalin and FDR set Adolf up. Yet none knew that the other was gaming the Nazis. It took Churchill and FDR until late 42 to realize that they were reading each others ‘mail.’
Then it was decided to establish Echelon. It was Echelon that destroyed the U-boat fleet. Nothing else. Within six months it was ruined.
It took intercept stations all over the globe to piece back together the radio-telegraphic signals to the U-boats. Hence, the term Echelon. (Layered reception and analysis.)
With that intel it was finally possible to vector B-24s to hot spots… and sinkings went into high gear.
Come now Baron, you are ignoring quite a bit of WW2 history here. AH attacked Russia because there were 82 ? Russian Divisions [ not football divisions] sitting along the German /Russian border. You have also conveniently forgotten the 58,000 murdered Ethnic Germans in the Danzig Corridor. AH put up with this provocation for over a year then he did what the Bolshevik murderers wanted him to do, he started the shooting-match. Stalin started it but AH mobilised first.
You are in too much of a hurry to put down AH, try not to let another good story ignore
@ Baron, blert, s.ducain,
Were Soviet divisions not found to be in attacking positions when they were overrun by the Wehrmacht, and hence unable to defend themselves well? And did they not have in their possessions maps of territory deep inside the Reich, suggesting they themselves were planning an invasion? In any case, Hitler’s initial position was strong – with many allies found especially in the Ukraine and Baltic states, who saw the Nazis as liberators and were willing to join their units. Had AH played his card properly, he could have started Barbarossa earlier, and not delayed his attack on Moscow, enabling him to take it before winter – meaning the heart of the Soviet government as well as its communications network taken out. He could then have proceeded in the South and pushed into the Caucasus, ensuring he had a supply of oil, perhaps also enabling him to push into the Middle East to meet up with the Afrika Korps as he originally envisioned. Thankfully he was not so far-sighted.
The Nazis’ ideology was very similar to Islam – relying on expansionism and a desire to conquer the world and form a thousand-year Reich/Ummah. But with TWO important differences. Islam did not (usually) involve Holocaust-style “final solutions”, or depravity of the style the Nazis dished out in the East. Instead – Islam made allies, rewarded them, and took any infidels as either slaves or dhimmis – meaning they ended up contributing to the Muslim war effort.
The second big difference – Islam promised its warriors a place in the afterlife, meaning large numbers of Muslims with a readiness to be killed in battle unmatched by anyone on the opposing side. Whereas all the Nazis had to offer was Lebensraum – which required the German soldier to be alive in order to receive it!
As for Germany’s declaration of war on America, I also fail to understand it. Perhaps a misplaced gesture of solidarity with the Japanese – when the Germans were unable to seriously attack any American positions. Or a proof of the old phrase that “Those whom the gods wish to destroy they first make mad.”…
Truer words were never spoken Baron. I weep at the stupidity of the Free World. Can we save ourselves? Quien sabe?
“Collectivism leads to concentration camps, leader worship, and war.”
— George Orwell, Review of The Road to Serfdom by F.A. Hayek & The Mirror of the Past by K. Zilliacus, reviewed in The Observer (9 April 1944).
The leader worship evinced by American “liberals” today is eerily similar to what Hitler was able to gin up in the ’30s. And just try to point that out to them! They will throw a snit and demand your silence.
“I think about the many weak politicians who appeased this madman to secure “peace in our time”, most likely without ever bothering to take a look at either the NSDAP’s party program or Mein Kampf.”
Is it any different today? I think not. A few years ago congressmen and senators in the US were asked what nations were majority Sunni or Shite. They were unable to answer…
These were people crafting our foreign policy!
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Are we creeping toward Dachau again?
Just where are we headed?
“Something’s fundamentally wrong with the Europeans, mentally.
(And Americans, as well, who welcome those who would replace and eradicate them.)” – profitsbeard.
If one looks at what the Creel commission achieved in six months without Television:
The Committee on Public Information, also known as the CPI or the Creel Committee, was an independent agency of the government of the United States created to influence U.S. public opinion regarding American participation in World War I. Over just 28 months, from April 13, 1917, to August 21, 1919, it used every medium available to create enthusiasm for the war effort and enlist public support against foreign attempts to undercut America’s war aims.
One can just imagine what can be done with Television backed up by a tame media.
We don’t need the SA or Dachau any more, we can recreate the terror in people’s own living rooms!
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Dear Elisabeth, we too feel very alone in our classrooms, wherever and whatever they may be, but together, we will take heart, be stronger, do more, fight harder. It is what we can do. I always think of Churchill, who had warned so often and been ignored. We must all strive to be Churchill at his best. Did anyone know this Churchill, who they thought had been crying wolf…was a wolf? Did Churchill know he would become the Greatest Briton in history (sorry Shakespeare!!) After the good guys won, what did they do to their greatest leader ever? They voted him out. I have always been seriously angry with the Brits for that!!. But we must recognize the enemy and fight with all our heart and soul and guts to defeat our enemy, which seems to be pouring into the Free World with no respite. Guns to the left of us, guns to the right, into the Valley of Death rode the Six Hundred. When shall we ride into the Valley of Death?
Here’s one for the hard-core military tech nerds:
The Soviets took the innovative U.S. Christie tank design and eventually came up the the impressive T-34.
In the interim, however, there was the “BT” series. The interesting thing about these, and in common with the basic Christie design, was that the BT series was capable of running WITHOUT its caterpillar type tracks. The BT series tanks had large, rubber-tyred road wheels that were driven by the engine and brake-steered like a giant “bobcat”. On the road, they were also FASTER without their tracks.
Now, given that about the ONLY paved roads in the whole of Russia at the time were in Moscow and Leningrad, on whose nice, sealed roads were these tanks designed to run?
It has been suggested in mainstream military history circles that Stalin was positioned to invade Germany when the Germans attacked…..
Hence the Russians were caught with all resources in attack formations rather than a defensive formation.
They also ran fast as a rabbit on the extremely flat plains of Russia, Poland, even as far as Berlin.
They’re useless in mud or deep snow, obviously.
At the time, the concept of such light ‘tankettes’ was that they were like light cavalry. War fighting proved that the concept was false.