Nazi Party, Austrian

   Known as the German National Socialist Workers’ Party (DNSAP), the organization won a serious following in the urban centers of the First Republic. Outlawed for its role in the July Putsch of 1934, the party came to be known as the Illegal Movement (Illegale Bewegung).
   Between 1923 and 1930, the Austrian Nazis were the beneficiaries of strained economic circumstances. Significant numbers of trade union members shifted their allegiance to the party. So did students troubled by bleak prospects for employment. By 1936, after two years of reorganization with clandestine financial support from Germany and Austrian sympathizers, the Nazis had approximately as many supporters as did the governing Fatherland Front. Nazi leadership, however, was badly divided, though it paid lip service to the Führerprinzip, according to which the party chief was not elected but simply emerged. One large faction was located in the eastern part of Austria and one in the alpine regions to the south and west.
   Kurt Schuschnigg, the federal chancellor, negotiated sporadically with the more moderate wing of the party to bring it into the Fatherland Front and met with some success. However, after the July 1936 agreement between the German Nazis and Schuschnigg, which called for granting amnesty to imprisoned Nazis and incorporation of the party into the Austrian government at some time, the movement grew ever bolder. Its leadership, however, remained fragmented, a situation further complicated by German Nazi efforts to control the activities of their Austrian counterparts. In the final days before the Anschluss of 1938, the Austrian Nazis had become the de facto governing party in several provinces of the First Republic.

Historical dictionary of Austria. . 2014.

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