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The Newsreel Hitler seizes Austria 1938

Austria was annexed by the Third Reich on 12 March 1938. There had been several years of pressure from supporters in both Austria and Germany (both Nazis and non-Nazis) for the "Heim ins Reich" movement. Earlier, Nazi Germany had provided support for the Austrian National Socialist Party (Austrian Nazi Party) in its bid to seize power from Austria's Fatherland Front government. In the face of rioting by the small, but virulent, Austrian Nazi Party and ever-expanding German demands on Austria, Chancellor Kurt Schuschnigg called a referendum (plebiscite) on the issue, knowing that the majority of Austrians would vote in favor of maintaining Austrian independence. But before this could take place, Hitler threatened invasion, and demanded Chancellor von Schuschnigg's resignation and the appointment of the Nazi Arthur Seyss-Inquart as his replacement. Hitler's plan was for Seyss-Inquart to call immediately for German troops to rush to Austria's aid, restoring order and giving the invasion an air of legitimacy. However, the German Führer underestimated his opposition. Schuschnigg did resign, but President Wilhelm Miklas initially refused to appoint Seyss-Inquart as Chancellor. Hitler, tired of waiting, ordered the invasion to commence at dawn on 12 March. By the time Seyss-Inquart could send his telegram, it was relatively clear to the rest of the world that the request was theatrics. Schuschnigg's plebiscite was cancelled by the newly installed Nazis.

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