Archduke Otto calls Austria the biggest victim of the Nazis: March 2008


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Dr. Otto von Habsburg, a member for the Christian Democrats in the Austrian parlament, has called Austria the biggest victim of the Nazi's in a speech to parlament. He was applauded by some though his remarks are highly controversial as some point out that they do not think Austria was a victim at all, but as a country co-responsible with Germany for Nazism.

Dr. Otto's party, the OVP is defending him now, read the article in German here.

An article in German about the speech, here.
 
Dr. Otto von Habsburg, a member for the Christian Democrats in the Austrian parlament, has called Austria the biggest victim of the Nazi's in a speech to parlament. He was applauded by some though his remarks are highly controversial as some point out that they do not think Austria was a victim at all, but as a country co-responsible with Germany for Nazism.

Dr. Otto's party, the OVP is defending him now, read the article in German here.

An article in German about the speech, here.

Just a short correction: Otto von Habsburg is not a member of the Austrian parliament, he was an invited guest of the Christian Democrats party. He had been member of the European Parliament for the Christian Social Democrats, the Bavarian branch of the German Christian Democrats party, as he has both the Austrian and German citizenship.
 
The opponents of the Archduke's speech are absolutely correct. Sadly for Austria, far too many Austrians were only too glad to embrace Hitler & Nazism.

Like many countries who collaborated with Nazi Germany, Austria is only too willing to draw a curtain over its past, preferring instead to emphasize the Soviet occupation from 1945-1955.
 
The opponents of the Archduke's speech are absolutely correct. Sadly for Austria, far too many Austrians were only too glad to embrace Hitler & Nazism.

Like many countries who collaborated with Nazi Germany, Austria is only too willing to draw a curtain over its past, preferring instead to emphasize the Soviet occupation from 1945-1955.

True.Unlike Germany,Austria was never de-nazified,meaning,they,older generation,fail/can't/refuse/ to see,still,they were on the wrong end of the straw.

They prefer leaving everything as it is,to continue to eat their Sachertorte under a clear blue sky,and dream of days gone by,be it the
Empire or their fellow countryman AH.

Apart from the above,nice people,wonderfull country and Vienna is an Imperial bonbonbox,lovely.
 
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I am sure there are many exceptions Lucien, note that Otto's speech is controversial in Autria too and he only received the support of a few (and a lot of critisism). Didn't he make some controversial speech a few years ago too, probably something related to Islam?
 
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The opponents of the Archduke's speech are absolutely correct. Sadly for Austria, far too many Austrians were only too glad to embrace Hitler & Nazism.

Like many countries who collaborated with Nazi Germany, Austria is only too willing to draw a curtain over its past, preferring instead to emphasize the Soviet occupation from 1945-1955.

I doubt an expression as "absolutely" correct can be used to describe the past, as the past is a tapestry of actions, reactions, events, plans working and plans gone wrong.

So while I personally doubt that the view the archduke has on the year 1938 and the things that happened then is overall correct, I don't think it is possible to say the exact opposite, that Austria was no victim at all.

The country had suffered so much at the end of WWI, the strong ties to Hungary and Bohemia/Moravia/Slovakia (the Czech republic) which had shaped Austria for centuries were severed: ties that were not only political, but economical. The Czechslowac republic alone inherited 60 percent of the k.u.k econical power, while Hungary got further 30. South-Tyrolia, Trentino and Friuli went the way the other Habsburg-possessions on Italian ground were gone - to Italy. Austria alone was not really an industrialised state, more depending on farming and trade. Trade which had lost his platform. Plus the new laws really went against the former Upper Class of nobility and staff of the former emperor, thus forcing a lot of educated and financially capable people out of the country. Add the economical crisies which worldwide hit the countries, even the peaceful US.

All this happening while the neighbor next door obviously bloomed under the rule of the Nazis, who were trying to add the former "Cisleithanien"-parts of the k.u.k. empire to the new Germany on pointing out that the Germans had always been the leading people in the western part of Austria-Hungaria-Bohemia - I don't really wonder why so many Austrians thought it would be a good idea to be part of a greater state again after what they went through these last 20 years since the end of WWI.

It was only the problem for Austria that the Nazis didn't think for a moment to regard Austria as something special, that they took it and used it and forced it into the war with them, offering mentally or socially disturbed people power over the others in order to terrorize those who didn't want what was starting to happen there as well as in the Czech area.

So I can understand the opinion of the archduke. I doubt that he meant that putting Austria into the position of a victim would erase the responsibility for their misdeeds under the reign of the Nazis. It's just that Austria really had had a hard time after WWI and this explains a lot. Who said that victims come out of their ordeals as innocents? That simply doesn't happen when terror, violence and war had a part in the victim's history.
 
I am sure there are many exceptions Lucien, note that Otto's speech is controversial in Autria too and he only received the support of a few (and a lot of critisism). Didn't he make some controversial speech a few years ago too, probably something related to Islam?

There are always exceptions,but within the elderly generation,there's a stronger emotion/rift.

I am with Jo of Palatine´s comment.
 
There are always exceptions,but within the elderly generation,there's a stronger emotion/rift.

I am with Jo of Palatine´s comment.

Thank you, Lucien.:flowers: Just wanted to add that I did a bit of reading about the background of the happenings leading up to Austria's entry to Nazi-Germany and found that the Austrian politicians of that time had been aware that the Germans were willing to take over by sheer force, even though the Nazis prefered to peacefully take over control of their "Brudervolk". The Austrians knew they had no chance to win. So they gave up before their citizens could be hurt. Just remember that in 1938 the later allies still believed that this was all Hitler wanted: to control the Germanic parts of Europe. If only they had known or realised what Hitler and the Nazis were capable of.

One should not forget that it was Otto of Habsburg's constant political influence on the allies which helped Austria to be considered an independant country after the war, that this was the message he didn't stop to deliver in Washington, London, Moscow and Paris till Austria got his chance. It was grossly unfair that the allies then allowed the Sowjets who feared the Habsburg-influence on Hungary, Czechoslowakia, Ucraine, Romania etc. to force Austria to include the Anti-Habsburg laws (which had been sharped by the Nazis after 1938) into their constitution, so they are valid till today, apart from those who differed to superior EU-laws.
 
Thank you, Lucien.:flowers: Just wanted to add that I did a bit of reading about the background of the happenings leading up to Austria's entry to Nazi-Germany and found that the Austrian politicians of that time had been aware that the Germans were willing to take over by sheer force, even though the Nazis prefered to peacefully take over control of their "Brudervolk". The Austrians knew they had no chance to win. So they gave up before their citizens could be hurt. Just remember that in 1938 the later allies still believed that this was all Hitler wanted: to control the Germanic parts of Europe. If only they had known or realised what Hitler and the Nazis were capable of.

One should not forget that it was Otto of Habsburg's constant political influence on the allies which helped Austria to be considered an independant country after the war, that this was the message he didn't stop to deliver in Washington, London, Moscow and Paris till Austria got his chance. It was grossly unfair that the allies then allowed the Sowjets who feared the Habsburg-influence on Hungary, Czechoslowakia, Ucraine, Romania etc. to force Austria to include the Anti-Habsburg laws (which had been sharped by the Nazis after 1938) into their constitution, so they are valid till today, apart from those who differed to superior EU-laws.

True,the later allies,especially the brits were as blind/shortsighted as was "humanly" possible.The Munich treaty between the brits and the germans comes to mind,in which Tjechoslawakia/Sudetenland was given away just to make the nazi's happy and hoping that would be all.

On Austria,the Austrian Chancellor Dreyfuss was assasinated to make way for the "Anschluss" in 1938 I believe from the top of my head.

On the other hand,the austrians were the very worst within nazi ranks,more fanatic then others,I've always been told by others,especially someone who was a close witness,my own father while doing forced labour work in Sachsenhausen and later Dachau.

So,taking into consideration that several "austrian regiments" fought on the East front,and that they were not the kindest of folks within the ranks,the russians didn't forget and squeezed them out like a lemon as a repercussion.

BBC NEWS | Europe | Austria remembers Nazi annexation
 
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"On Austria,the Austrian Chancellor Dreyfuss was assasinated to make way for the "Anschluss" in 1938 I believe from the top of my head."

Dreyfuss was in france (I believe from the top of my head). The murdered Austrian Chancellors name is Dollfuss.



"... a close witness,my own father while doing forced labour work in Sachsenhausen and later Dachau."

Lucien, your father was in the "Concentration Camp" KZ Sachsenhausen and KZ Dachau. Was he in the resistance in Holland?
 
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That was Chancellor Dollfuss who was murdered, in 1934 I believe.
 
"On Austria,the Austrian Chancellor Dreyfuss was assasinated to make way for the "Anschluss" in 1938 I believe from the top of my head."

Dreyfuss was in france (I believe from the top of my head). The murdered Austrian Chancellors name is Dollfuss.



"... a close witness,my own father while doing forced labour work in Sachsenhausen and later Dachau."

Lucien, your father was in the "Concentration Camp" KZ Sachsenhausen and KZ Dachau. Was he in the resistance in Holland?

Thank you Franz,yes ofcourse it was Dollfuss,sorry,mixed up with Devils Island."Tops of Heads,and the Idus Martae"...grin

Yes I know Franz.He wasn't in the resistance,he,an 18 year old at the time in 1942,was on his way to college when there was one of those feared razzia's here in Amsterdam,fetching men from the streets at random for forced labour duty,"Arbeidseinsatz", in germany.
 
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From this article:

"Otto von Habsburg, 95, the son of Austria's last emperor, told a commemorative meeting that no state in Europe had "a greater right than Austria to call itself a victim".
But the president of the lower house of parliament, Barbara Prammer, told lawmakers that Austrians were complicit in Nazi crimes."

Don't they realise that these two people quoted are talking about two different things? Otto von Habsburg talks about the State of Austria which was annexed by Germany. Barbara Prammer talks about Austrian citizens who were Nazis and who had commited crimes.

Thus the State could be a victim even though some of the citizens were willing helpers of the Nazis.
In the current issue of Germany's political magazine DER SPIEGEL is an interesting and somewhat disturbing article about what kind of people the Nazi killers were. In it it says that Russian prisoners of war were among the most cruel helpers of the Germans at Auschwitz concentration camp. That
shows IMHO to what violence and war can reduce humans: they become blood-thirsty animals.
 
What is the purpose of Dr. Otto Habsburg's comment now?
 
He's 95 years old. He's probably lost the majority if not all of his "marbles" . I wouldn't get riled up over anything he says.:cool:
 
What is the purpose of Dr. Otto Habsburg's comment now?

He was invited to give a lecture about the events of 1938 - because that was 70 years ago and he is one of very few keyplayers from these days who are still alive.

The archduke even had offered to become part of a restitution of the monarchy in order to keep the Nazis away from Austria but the government thought it was too dangerous and so it happened as it did- Austria was annexed by Germany.

Still - as we discussed before a state can become a victim of another even though a lot of its citizens think it is okay what happened. Plus in Austria the name Habsburg alone is able to bring up emotions and critizism, no matter what the archduke would say. Here's an article in English about the background:

English News from Austria

Otto Habsburg in Nazi 'victims' row


The week commemorating the 70th anniversary of the "Anschluss" or German annexation of Austria in 1938 has proven to be a sensitive occasion as it invokes a period of history that many Austrians would prefer to forget.
Otto Habsburg, the son of the last Austrian Emperor Karl I, has aroused controversy because of his remarks at an ÖVP event commemorating the Anschluss.
Habsburg, 95, claimed that "there is no country in Europe that has a better claim to be a victim of the Nazis." Habsburg added that it was natural that so many Austrians had turned out to hear Hitler speak at the Heldenplatz on March 13, 1938 since people had been curious about him....



End of quote - more interesting material in the article.



And no, I don't have the impression that the archduke does not know what he is talking about. He still has all of his marbles...
 
A quotation from famous Austrian-US-director Billy Wilder came into my mind:
The Austrians are brilliant people. They made the world believe that Adolf Hitler was a German and Ludwig van Beethoven an Austrian."

Let's be serious: There is no black and white in history, there are many shades of grey. Like most Germans, most Austrians did nothing against the Hitler-regime. Many were very willing supporters and many others went into some sort of "inner emigration" and waited until the "1000-jährige Reich" was over. Very few people were in the open resistance.

In the first years Austria copied fascistic elements from Germany and Italy and was some sort of "milde dictatorship". But then Hitler forced the politicians to co-operate more and then from March 1938 on, there was almost no difference between Austria and Germany left.

But from a certain point of view of course Austria was a victim of WWII. Germany was a victim, too. Remember how many civilians died when allied bombs fell on Dresden or other big cities. Remember how many people lost their home in areas like Silesia, East Prussia, Pomerania, etc. And how many lost there lives when trying to escape from there. And of course: Remember how many German and Austrian Jews, Communists, gipsies or other opponents of the Nazi-regime were killed.

Nevertheless, most Germans elected that man from Austria and later wondered what happened. And there were enough people in Germany and Austria who supported that system. So in my point of view Austria was co-responsible. But also some sort of victim.

It is very difficult for us, the younger generations (even my parents were born after the war ended) to understand what happened. And - even more difficult - to understand how it could happen. But it happened. I think it is very good and it is the right time to talk about the victims among the civil population in Germany and Austria. But we shall not forget that Germany and Austria (then as a part of the Deutsche Reich) started the war.
 
... there was one of those feared razzia's here in Amsterdam,fetching men from the streets at random for forced labour duty,"Arbeidseinsatz", in germany.

{Edit colourful language} I have visited the Anne Frank Museum in Amsterdam a few years ago.
That was a really bad time in history. I hope these things never come back.

What a pleasure it is to live in Europe nowadays, having peace such a long time.
 
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THe wasn't in the resistance,he,an 18 year old at the time in 1942,was on his way to college when there was one of those feared razzia's here in Amsterdam,fetching men from the streets at random for forced labour duty,"Arbeidseinsatz", in germany.

Lucien, for me the really obscene thing is that after the war the companies who had profited from these working slaves were not willing to pay for the victims. In 1942, the Nazis had "ran out" of jews and political prisoners (they were already killed or transported to the murdering camps in the East) and simply snatched young man from the occupied countries, these young men were used as working slaves for the weapon's industry. Sachsenhausen close to Berlin and Dachau in between Munich and Augsburg were the centers from which each company could "rent" slaves and use them as workers in their factories. MAN, BMW, Varta etc. a lot of companies still existing and some still owned by the family who had owned them back then do not much to at least recognized what they were a part of.

There was a TV-documentation about the Quandt-family of Varta and BMW (the Quandts back then were two half-brothers, one the son of Magda Goebbels from her first marriage) and afterwards the children of these two men really feigned ignorance and astonishment about what former slaves told the TV-team. Come on, you have to know about such things, you should have asked yourself the question what did my family do during these terrible times, is there something we should be aware of?

I feel for your father and I hope he did not get any health problems back then. Maybe he even met some helpful and human Germans back then, so does not believe all of the Germans living back then were evil and cruel.

My father was shot at Stalingrad and on board the last Red Cross-train the Russians let leave the "cauldron". So when Germany was freed, he was still hospitalized in the American zone and quite well treated. But when it was time to realise him, the Americans checked where he was from. Unfortunately though he was born in Mannheim in the American zone (right embankment of the river Rhein) he actually lived in Ludwigshafen, Mannheim's twin town on the other bank of the river. This was French territory and the Americans gave him over to the French. So he was deported to a prisoner of war camp in Marseille which he barely survived. Conventions of Geneva? Forget it.

When he told me about what had happened there, he said that the time in the camp had managed to convince him of the fact that there is pure evil in mankind, something the war hadn't been able before. He said he had started to believe all he was told about the mass murder, destruction and cruelties of the Nazis because he had seen in Marseille what potential mankind had of commiting evil against helpless prisoners. He never palyed the violin after coming back, because he felt he had been part of crimes to terrible to forget and that as a murderer he had no longer a right to enjoy music.

But hwat shall we make of this: that it's right to commit the same crimes because the victims are former perpetrators? That they even might learn form it?

For myself I learned that mankind are as much beast as other animals and that we need the community's strict will to not allow these evil tendencies to turn out in action in order to live a positive and safe life.
 
Well it seems that Dr. Habsburg's words were mischosen. If he had said that Austria had lost a great deal of its identity and individual purpose with the Anschluß, I doubt if anyone would have questioned him; it was that word 'victim' was bound to set off a torrent of protest.
 
Well it seems that Dr. Habsburg's words were mischosen. If he had said that Austria had lost a great deal of its identity and individual purpose with the Anschluß, I doubt if anyone would have questioned him; it was that word 'victim' was bound to set off a torrent of protest.

Probably - but maybe at 95 you are not longer interested in political correctness but simply want people to discuss the past - maybe for the last time you have an influence on this discussion. There are a lot of TV documentaries in Germany and Austria at the moment, so one might think that the basic facts are being established by now in the public perception.

I did quite a bit of reading about 1938 to 1941 lately and it is interesting to see that there is some similarity in behaviour but a difference in treatment between Austria and France. In a way Austria was as occupied as France, there was resistance in Austria and both countries had a government for a time that collaborated with the Nazis. But France is considered to be a winner of the war while Austria is seen as one of the war criminals. There were French soldiers fighting for Germany (namely from the Alsace-Lorraine area, but some fascist from France as well) but the main impression is that France was a victim while Austria was not.

Is it only due to the fact that Austria is a Germanic country? I'm not feeling that I have been able to establish a real reason for the different treatment. As this is not a political forum, I think we should let this question rest anyway. But IMHO it is okay that the archduke raised the question. :flowers:
 
I think it has to do with the overall positive reaction in Austria to the Anschluß. I know there were people who didn't like it but they did not seem so many.

My German teacher told us a little sarcastically that the people who crowded Vienna's streets in the aftermath of the war claiming to be a victim were the same people who lined those streets when Hitler's motocades came by and yelled, 'Heil Hitler'.

The Nationalsozialistiche Partei ran on a platform of uniting the ethnic German peoples and that was the most pervasive message they sent out. Given that Austria was predominantly ethnic German, I imagine that the Nazis thought they were true allies despite what individuals thought.
 
The Nationalsozialistiche Partei ran on a platform of uniting the ethnic German peoples and that was the most pervasive message they sent out. Given that Austria was predominantly ethnic German, I imagine that the Nazis thought they were true allies despite what individuals thought.

You're right, that was the pervasivness. But then that has been their and our history, too. Ever since Charlemagne divided his lands and gave them to his three sons, there had been an idea what "Germanic" was. Even though the Germanic countries were never really united, they were part of a socio-historical "realm" and thus at least related. All this ended with WWI - and from then it was only 15 years till the Nazis were successful through bringing the idea back and allowing people to hope that it could be again as it had been before for centuries.

Now we find that the EU refused to translate certain documents into German, they find that English and French should be sufficient. And suddenly people start counting again just how many German speaking citizens are in the EU and how many speak English or French? Which surely has no actual relevance at all as those who speak German as their mother tongue and are involved in politics speak English perfectly - or so they should if they want to work on an European basis.

But it is difficult to back away from such a long history of common cultural development and the history of the first half of the 20. century really doesn't help. :flowers:
 
As I am afraid to overstep the rules of this Forum, which does not allow real political discussion, I will just say that Austria was not a victim, but the bride of Hitler. The authentic photos of the cheering and adulating crowds that greeted the Anschluss, belies this victim stuff. Look at the faces of the French as the Germans marched down the Champs Elysee. The tears and long faces. Look at the cheering hoardes in Vienna. Read the expirences of the Autrian Jews at the hands of their Austrian neighbors, who were only to glad to jump on the Hitler bandwagon. Jewish students at the univerity being beaten by their "victim" Austrian collegues. Hitler being greeted by large, jubliant crows in Linz on March 13th, the day after Anschluss. Yes, their were some who objected. But not as a majority. Edward R. Murrow and William Shirer reported on the mayhem in Vienna. Austria was well represented in the SS. You didn't get drafted into the SS. It is time that the rewriting of history, by those who wish to assume this aura of vitimization be backed up by real facts. They cannot. There are a thousand, litterally, books that can back this up. Try "The Unmaking of Hitler" by Eugene Davidson.
 
It's so unfortunate that my grandfather and grand uncles, who fought in both World Wars (all of them lied to get in), are not around to see this topic. Boy, would they love to say a thing or two and then some... perhaps more than most could handle.

It is time that the rewriting of history, by those who wish to assume this aura of vitimization be backed up by real facts. They cannot. There are a thousand, litterally, books that can back this up. Try "The Unmaking of Hitler" by Eugene Davidson

Mr. Davidson's book is nothing new despite it being "praised" as the golden key of Hitler bios. Everything the author stated in common knowledge and easy to deduce even by those who are not historians or graduate students of history.
 
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Thank you Glittering Tiaras for seeing this as what it is. It makes me sick and angry, to say the least. My family also served and I lost an uncle after the Battle of the Bulge. I am a bit older than you, I think. As a history major, this was also one of my sub-specialties.
 
I think what Jo was alluding to was that people from all over the world identified with Hitler's message. I remember quite an impassioned speech from American hero Charles Lindbergh, ardently supporting all the Nazi tenets and encouraging his fellow Americans to do the same. The passion and the beliefs that Hitler inspired were not a solely Germanic development and certain Germans and Austrians as well as citizens from other lands were horrified at the movement.
 
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I lost an uncle after the Battle of the Bulge. I am a bit older than you, I think. As a history major, this was also one of my sub-specialties.


I'm sorry for your loss, Countess. Two of my grand uncles took part in the Battle of the Bulge and survived. Small world! All seven of them were there on D-Day. Then they spread out, and you know the rest of WWII's history. I inherited my grandfather's medals from my Mom as well as other valuable stuff that I won't reveal, but the coolest thing I have: Two dirty Nazi medals (why he never cleaned them, I have no idea.) My grandfather never told my Nana or my Mom how he obtained them, but I have guesses. I'll leave it at that.

Ysbel, I clearly understand what she meant. Also, in other threads, she spoke of her relatives who were in the German army, and again, I understood what she meant.

I'm sure if my relatives were alive today they would understand Otto's remark's moreso than more than half of us responding in this topic. It's easy to criticise Otto for his comments, but unless you or anyone else lived through the War (either fighting -- Allied or Axis or were a victim dead or saved) it is difficult to understand what happened as well as some people's feelings about it.

The longer one is from a major event in history, the more difficult it is to comprehend as well as thoroughly understand.

Did that make sense?

:)
 
Yes, that is true and so did Father Coughlin, but there were not hoardes of people lining the streets of New York or Boston or anywhere, cheering the Nazis. But there were in Austria. Yes, there were also those who disapproved, by they were not the majority. There is a great movement underfoot to rewite history, especially WWII. Those who suffered greatly in that war are dying out and soon there will be no "living" people to refute this nonsense. There are thousands of published books, that not only refute, but can show evidence, good solid evidence and pictures of those times. Yet, unsustainable stuff like this is bandied about and soon and in this Hitler was right, "if you repeat a lie long enough, people will believe it". It is greatly upseting to see topics like this trying to gain acceptance into the general milieu. It is not only a lie, it is an insult to anyone who survived that time, especially, those brave men who served in that war, the true victims of the oppression who lost their homes, their families and died in gas chambers and anyone with a historical background. By the way, Lindbergh lost a great deal of popularity for his stance.
 
Yet, unsustainable stuff like this is bandied about and soon and in this Hitler was right, "if you repeat a lie long enough, people will believe it". It is greatly upseting to see topics like this trying to gain acceptance into the general milieu. It is not only a lie, it is an insult to anyone who survived that time, especially, those brave men who served in that war, the true victims of the oppression who lost their homes, their families and died in gas chambers and anyone with a historical background. By the way, Lindbergh lost a great deal of popularity for his stance.

Countess, I really take exception of your choice of words towards my posts, that you call them "lies" and "insults". I don't think such statements are appropriate when dealing with other memebers of this forum who have a different opinion. All I have written here serves the purpose of seeing both sides instead of believing one possesses the absolute truth. It can be backed up with historical research and though I accept you have a different opinion it is very impolite to accuse me of telling lies or to say that reading what I wrote makes you "sick and angry". It is in addition very unprofessional for someone with a mayor in history to believe there is only one final truth when it comes to assessing the past.

Okay, but I try again to make my position more clear:
Nowhere did I say that it was alright that Austria became a part of Nazi-Germany in 1938. Other than in 1933's Germany, there were no votes which gave the Nazi a kind of democratic basis to claim the country and immediately switch it into a dictatorship. Till 1938 the Nazi-party was illegal in Austria and only Hitler's thread with military intervention made the Austrian government change their politics towards the Nazis. So while Germans had a choice and for reasons made understandible by today's historians did not want to see what was looming at the horizon, it was different with Austria.

You may claim that in case of votes the Austrian would have voted for Germany, but they didn't, so this is no historical fact. What is a fact are the orders the Wehrmacht had when it came to the annexation of Austria: try it in peace but use full power if there is resistance.

We so easily believe because there has been so much published about the Nazis that the people back then were as well informed as we are, but just look at what caused the Iracq war to get support: a pack of lies published by interested parties. And back then, the interested party called NSDAP controlled all the German media. English was not so common, so only some people could get their information from the BBC radio. As Britain was in 1938 still following their appeasement politics, I doubt there was much reporting about how things really were in Germany.

Plus it was only 15 to 20 years after WWI which had changed Europe forever as it was the first war with rather industrial means of killing. After the war, millions had lost their lifes or worse: they came home handicapped or bodily healthy but psychologically brutalized through what they had lived through. Society faced massive problems as the monarchy as stabilizing factor was gone, often the belief in God and a God-given society as well. The people had access to weaponry and suffered from poverty and destruction. That was the climate that few of us can understand today
which fed the aggressive and murderous potential of so many people and made others long so much for peace, security and stability that they accepted that it was only for them and not for those the reigning powers deemed to be underlings.

That I somehow can understand that or accept it as an explaination does not mean I condone that. That my family comes from a militarian background (though noone at the moment is serving at the Bundeswehr) does not mean that I believe it was right what the Wehrmacht did to suppress other countries.

But to say it clearly: Austria had definately no chance against Germany, as Germany was set to get it, no matter what. The moment German soldiers went into Austria, they had orders to shoot any Habsburg-family member they could get hold of - if you're interested, I can supply the documents proving that. The Nazis had already build Flossenbuerg KZ (which is close to the Bohemian border and connected through train tracks to the main train track from Berlin to Prague and Vienna) in order to have a place to hold Czech and Austrian citizens who were against the take-over.

Thus there are many historical facts that point to the country Austria as a victim, even though many Austrians were guilty.

What I argue here is the treatment of a country after the war and there are a lot of reasons why it was convenient for the allies to put the country Austria as well as Germany into the culprit's box while the country France stayed out of it even though the governments of both countries decided to collaborate with Germany after the Wehrmacht had occupied their country.

But of course this is a historical discussion as only very few people still live to tell of these days but if one of them who had actively fought against the German Nazis and worked diplomatically for the country of his birth like archduke Otto publicisies his opinion then at least one should take a closer look at reasons why he might have a point here. To say because the Austrians "all looked so happy" is enough to condemn them all is like saying all voters for Bush wanted the war in Iracq or the happenings at Guantanamo.
Plus: to think that because the archduke is 95 he does not longer know what he is talking about is rubbish. He was there, deeply involved in fighting the Nazis and he is still here, old but not suffering from dementia.

Hope this helps in understanding my position.
BTW - my grandfather was one of the founders of the Social democrats party in Germany, was beaten up in 1933 when he organised support for the Social Democrats in the election and made to pay for his political work from 1933-1939 when he was forced into the army. My father was 18 when he had to do "Arbeitsdienst" and 19 when he became a soldier in 1939. He was handicapped in the war, then prisoner of war and was declared a Non-Nazi as well as his father immediately after his return. They then worked both for the Social Democrats in order to establish democracy in the Federal Republic of Germany. To tell me I insulted both of them by pointing out that historical judgment is not always as simple as some people like to believe is an insult in itself.
 
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