12 March 1938: The onset of great suffering - Commemoration and Reflection

What began on 12 November 1918 ended on 12 March 1938: the First Austrian Republic. In the evening of 11 March 1938, Chancellor Kurt Schuschnigg resigned and addressed the Austrians on the radio. He concluded his famous speech by saying "God save Austria".

History is remembering the past

On 15 March 1938 Adolf Hitler declared the "Anschluss" of Austria to Nazi Germany.

In 2008 the 90th anniversary of the founding of the Republic of Austria and the 70th anniversary of the "Anschluss", the annexation of Austria to Nazi Germany was commemorated. We also commemorated the protests of 1968. All around the world students protested for social change and against the war. "Sometime they'll give a war and nobody will come" was the dream of that generation. From 1939 until 1945 millions of people had no choice but to go to war and many of them never came back.

Fateful events in early March 1938

When we talk about the events in early March 1938 we remember and mourn all Austrians and all citizens of other countries who fell victim to the atrocities of the Nazi regime. Following the events on 11 and 12 March 1938 Austria lost its independence and sovereignty for seven years. March 1938 marks the onset of great suffering and the darkest chapter of Austrian history. The terror started immediately. In the first few hours after the "Anschluss" tens of thousands of people were arrested in Vienna alone. A large part of the resistance movement was eliminated right in the beginning. The first transports to the Dachau concentration camp left Vienna on 1 April 1938.

They arrived at the crack of dawn

On 12 March 1938 at 5 o'clock in the morning senior Nazi officials Heinrich Himmler and Reinhard Heydrich arrived in Vienna. Half an hour later German troops crossed the German-Austrian border and German airplanes landed at the airport in Vienna. At 4 o'clock in the afternoon of the same day Adolf Hitler arrived in his hometown of Braunau in Upper Austria, where he was greeted by cheering Austrians. The 8th German army met with great enthusiasm on its way to Vienna. The full scale of the horrors that followed the cheering was only revealed in April 1945.

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