Even before the Anschluß, cities in Austria had attempted to capitalise on their ties to the Führer. Hitler’s plans for Linz are well known. He wanted to transform the city on the Danube into a cultural metropolis, with theatres, museums, art galleries and an enormous stadium. Tourism officials there saw a way to cash in on Hitler’s affection for his boyhood town. Linz styled itself first as the ‘City of the Führer’s Youth’, then as the ‘Hometown of the Führer’, and finally as the ‘City of the Foundation of the Greater German Reich’ (Gründungsstadt des Großdeutschen Reichs). When Hitler announced in March 1938 that he was personally adopting the city, it quickly became the ‘Adopted City of the Führer’. While the entire region of Upper Austria called itself the ‘Führer’s Home District’, individual Austrian towns highlighted their early support for Nazism. Graz was especially gratified when Hitler bestowed the honorary title ‘City of the People’s Uprising (Volkserhebung)’. It used this designation often in its own publicity. A Shell roadmap also referred to Graz as the ‘City of the People’s Uprising’, noting that the town had received this appellation from Hitler in recognition for its ‘self-sacrificing, tenacious perseverance in the fight for Greater Germany’.Semmens (68)
Braunau am Inn
Hitler's birthplace during the Nazi era and today.
Hitler returning on March 12, 1938 during the invasion of Austria at 15:50, crossing the Austro-German border at Braunau. The following members of his staff accompanied him: the Chief of the High Command of the Wehrmacht, General Keitel; the Reich Press Chief, Dietrich; Reichsleiters Bormann and Bouhler, and finally Gauleiter Bürckel. As Hitler passed through the streets of his native town, all church bells chimed, and he was greeted with thunderous applause of a gathering numbering in the tens of thousands.
Hitler's visit inspired the stamp commemorating his 50th birthday which was issued on April 13, 1939.
This building is notable for being the location of Adolf Hitler's first two years of formal schooling, from 1895-1897, although it no longer serves as one.
The year his father retired from the customs service at the age of fifty-eight, the six-year-old Adolf entered the public school in the village of Fischlham, a short distance southwest of Linz. This was in 1895. For the next four or five years the restless old pensioner moved from one village to another in the vicinity of Linz. By the time the son was fifteen he could remember seven changes of address and five different schools. For two years he attended classes at the Benedictine monastery at Lambach, near which his father had purchased a farm. There he sang in the choir, took singing lessons and, according to his own account,16 dreamed of one day taking holy orders. Finally the retired customs official settled down for good in the village of Leonding, on the southern outskirts of Linz, where the family occupied a modest house and garden.
Hitler revisiting Leonding during the anschluß on March 13, 1938 with St. Michael's church in the background where he proceeded to pay his respects at his parents' grave. The grave has recently been destroyed by the municipal authorities. Robert Eiter, with the Upper Austrian Network Against Racism and Right-Extremism, said the latest incident was on All Saints day, on 1 November last year, when an urn was left with the inscription "Unvergeϟϟlich" – German for "unforgettable" and alluding to the ϟϟ. "A lot of flowers and wreaths were deposited there from people who clearly were admirers," he said. "It had to do with the son and not the parents." Brunner, the mayor, said he was happy with the decision to remove the tombstone and Eiter said most Leonding residents also supported it.
Hitler's house on Michaelsbergstraße 16 remains intact.
The Hitlers had moved house several times within Braunau, and had subsequently been uprooted on a number of occasions. In November 1898, a final move for Alois took place when he bought a house with a small plot of attached land in Leonding, a village on the outskirts of Linz. From now on, the family settled in the Linz area, and Adolf – down to his days in the bunker in 1945 – looked upon Linz as his home town. Linz reminded him of the happy, carefree days of his youth. It held associations with his mother. And it was the most ‘German’ town of the Austrian Empire. It evidently symbolized for him the provincial small-town Germanic idyll – the image he would throughout his life set against the city he would soon come to know, and detest: Vienna.Kershaw (7)
Hitler driving through the hauptplatz where an enormous crowd had gathered at the market place to await Hitler’s arrival. Tremendous enthusiasm was evident in Ward Price’s impressive live radio report. Speaking in German on the Austrian broadcast services, the British journalist congratulated the Austrian people on the advent of this day.
Hitler’s triumphant ride from Braunau to Linz took nearly four hours, since the Mercedes could barely work its way through the jubilant crowds. Fifteen kilometres out of Linz, Seyss-Inquart, Glaise- Horstenau and Himmler, together with other National Socialists, awaited the Führer.
When his car finally reached Linz, it was dark. Hitler stepped out upon the small balcony of the City Hall in Linz and listened to the welcoming address by Seyss-Inquart. Thereupon, Hitler gave a speech that was frequently disrupted by thunders of applause from the audience below:
Germans! German Volksgenossen! Herr Bundeskanzler!I thank you for your words of greeting. But above all I thank you who have assembled here and testified to the fact that it is not the will and desire of only a few to establish this great Reich of the German race, but the wish and the will of the German Volk!May there be those among you this evening, our reputed international truth-seekers, who will not only perceive for themselves this reality, but admit it afterwards, too. When I first set forth from this city, I carried within me exactly the same devout pledge that fills me today. Try to fathom my inner emotion at having finally made this faithful pledge come true after so many long years.The fact that Providence once summoned me forth from this city to the leadership of the Reich, must have meant it was giving me a special assignment, and it can only have been the assignment of restoring my cherished home to the German Reich! I have believed in this assignment, I have lived and fought for it, and I believe I have now fulfilled it! May you all witness and vouch for this!I do not know when you yourselves will be summoned. I hope the time is not far off. Then you shall be asked to stand up to your own pledge, and it is my belief that I will then be able to point to my homeland with pride before the entire German Volk.The outcome must then prove to the world that any further attempt to tear this Volk asunder will be in vain. Just as you will then be under an obligation to make your contribution to this German future, the whole of Germany is likewise willing to make its contribution. And this it is already doing today!May you see in the German soldiers who are marching here this very hour from all the Gaus of the Reich fighters willing and prepared to make sacrifices for the unity of the great German Volk as a whole, and for the power and the glory and the splendour of the Reich, now and forever! Deutschland, Sieg Heil!
Ecstatic citizens of Vienna were waiting for Hitler until finally at around half past five in the afternoon on March 14, 1938, he entered the city that had once been the capital of the Holy Roman Empire of the German Nation, passing the Schönbrunn Palace. The church bells here also chimed for him, and “the demonstrations of enthusiasm that accompanied Hitler’s entry into the city defied description,” as the Neue Basler Zeitung wrote. Hitler stayed here at the imperial Hotel at the Ring. Since the jubilations and the chorus of the crowd outside of the hotel would not abate, Hitler stepped onto the balcony around 19.00 together with the aged Austrian General Krauss and delivered a short address:
My German Volksgenossen!
What you are feeling now is something I myself have felt to the bottom of my heart in these five days. It is a great, historic change which our German Volk has undergone. What you are witnessing at this moment is something the whole German Volk is experiencing with you; not only two million people in this city, but seventy-five million members of our Volk, in one Reich. They are all deeply stirred and moved by this historic turning point, and they all consecrate themselves with the vow: no matter what may happen, the German Reich as it stands today is something no man will ever again break asunder and no man will ever again tear apart!
There is no crisis, no threat, and no force that might break this vow. Today these are the devout words of all German beings from Königsberg to Cologne, from Hamburg to Vienna!
Hitler's motorcade approaching the rathaus whilst, on March 15 at around 11:00 a.m., hundreds of thousands of people assembled on the Heldenplatz in front of the Hofburg to hear a “proclamation of liberation.” Two little boys greeted Hitler upon his arrival. Between them they carried a banner which bore the slogan: “The Sudeten Germans greet the Führer.”
On the balcony of the Hofburg, Hitler gave the following address:
Germans! Men and Women!
Within a few short days, a radical change has taken place in the German Volksgemeinschaft, whose dimensions we might see today, yet whose significance can only be fully appreciated by coming generations. In the past few years, the rulers of the regime which has now been banished often spoke of the special “mission” which, in their eyes, this country was destined to fulfil. A leader of the legitimists outlined it quite accurately in a memorandum. Accordingly, the so-called self-sufficiency of this Land of Austria, founded in the peace treaties and contingent upon the mercy of foreign countries, was to perform the function of preventing the formation of a genuinely great German Reich and hence block the path of the German Volk to the future.
I hereby declare for this Land its new mission. It corresponds to the precept which once summoned the German settlers of the Altreich to come here. The oldest Ostmark of the German Volk shall from now on constitute the youngest bulwark of the German nation and hence of the German Reich. For centuries, the storms of the East broke on the borders of the Old Mark in the turbulent times of the past. For centuries into the future, it shall now become an iron guarantor of the security and freedom of the German Reich, and hence a safeguard for the happiness and peace of our Great Volk. I know the old Ostmark of the German Reich will do justice to its new task just as it once performed and mastered the old.
I am speaking on behalf of millions of people in this magnificent German Land, on behalf of those in Styria, in Upper and Lower Austria, in Carinthia, in Salzburg, in Tirol, and above all on behalf of the city of Vienna, when I assure the sixty-eight million other German Volksgenossen in our vast Reich
listening this very minute: this Land is German; it has understood its mission, it will fulfil this mission, and it shall never be outdone by anyone as far as loyalty to the great German Volksgemeinschaft is concerned. It will now be our task to devote our labour, diligence, shared dedication, and joint strength to solving the great social, cultural and economic problems; yet first and foremost to make Austria ever grow and expand to become a fortress of National Socialist willpower.
I cannot conclude this address to you without calling to mind those men who, together with me, have made it possible to bring about this great change— with God’s help—in such a short time. I may thank the National Socialist members of the government, with the new Reichsstatthalter Seyss-Inquart at their fore. I may thank the innumerable party functionaries; I may thank above all the countless anonymous idealists, the fighters of our formations who have proven in the long years of persecution that the German, when put under pressure, only becomes tougher.
These years of suffering have served but to strengthen me in my conviction of the value of the German-Austrian being within the framework of our great Volksgemeinschaft. At the same time, however, the splendid order and discipline of this tremendous event is proof of the power of the idea inspiring these people. Hence in this hour, I can report to the German Volk that the greatest orders of my life have been carried out.
As the Führer and Chancellor of the German nation and the Reich, I now report to history that my homeland has joined the German Reich.
The Nazi flag flying at the Austrian chancellery building on March 11, 1938. That afternoon at 17.00, the “adviser of the Reich Chancellor, Engineer Wilhelm Keppler,” who Kershaw describes as "a one-time small businessman," flew into Vienna on a special flight, landed at the Aspern Airport, and from there immediately drove to the Federal Chancellery. Around the same time, a train pulled into the West Train Station in Vienna, bearing aboard the “Reich Chancellor’s Deputy, Reich Minister Rudolf Hess.” He proceeded to the Federal Chancellery for consultations immediately upon arrival. As officially reported, on March 12 at 5.00 a.m., the Reichsführer SS Himmler arrived in Vienna, coming from Munich. Among others he was accompanied by: the Chief of the Security Police, SS Gruppenführer Heydrich; and by the Chief of the Civil Police, SS Obergruppenführer General Daluege.
The Loos Haus during the Anschluß
The Wehrmacht marching past the parliament building
Hitler driving through Vienna with the Burgtheater in the background.
After the war during the Allied Occupation of Austria, Schönbrunn Palace was requisitioned to provide offices for both the British Delegation to the Allied Commission for Austria and for the Headquarters for the British Military Garrison present in Vienna.
[a] boon to the Russians and the looters were the big wine houses in Döbling and Heiligenstadt. The Russians emptied the great tun in Klosterneuburg and then sprayed it with machine- gun fire when it would provide them with no more solace. People were seen carrying off wine from Heiligenstadt in large vessels... (MacDonogh, 30)Salzburg
‘The great provision of wine and schnapps in Vienna, above all in the vineyard areas, possibly provided a foundation for the raping of the women when it took place.’ It is true that some of the most aggravated instances were in the great cellars of Döbling, where Austrian sparkling wine or Sekt is made, and the wine ‘village’ of Grinzing. (33)
Austrians celebrating the German army's entry into Salzburg via the Staatsbrücke on March 12, 1938.
The Mirabellgarten and Mozartdenkmal with the wife today. On August 9, 1939 Hitler attended a performance of Mozart’s opera Don Giovanni at the Salzburg music festival which was the first time he participated in this particular event. To judge by his reported demeanour there could truly not be a large-scale military conflict looming on the horizon.
Nazi flags on the former Adolf-Hitler-Platz (now Hofburgplatz) and Herzog-Friedrich-Straße with its Goldenem Dachl and today.
During the anschluß and on the occasion of Hitler's visit on April 5, 1939. Hitler would return March 18, 1940 when his train stopped over ifor him to to review an honour guard. According to the Party newspaper, he was “very touched by the enthusiasm demonstrated by the Tiroleans.” Significantly, they sang the “Englandlied” to greet him.
Adolf-Hitler-Platz, so-named from 1938-1946, and today. Today rathausplatz, it had been renamed Marschallplatz after the war until 1955.
Bad Radkersburg, on the Slovenian border (where it is known as Radgona). In the course of the 19th century language conflict, nationalist struggles in the ethnically mixed area arose between the predominantly German-speaking citizens and the Slovene-speaking peasant population down the Mur River. A garrison town of the Austro-Hungarian Army during the Great War, it was occupied by troops of the newly emerged Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes (Yugoslavia) on 1 December 1918. An armed revolt against the occupation forces, led by Johann Mickl, in order to affiliate the town with German-Austria failed. Nevertheless, by resolution of the 1919 Treaty of Saint-Germain, the area north of the Mur passed to the First Austrian Republic, while Oberradkersburg (Gornja Radgona) and the neighbouring municipality of Apače (Abstall), on the south bank, became part of Yugoslavia. The nationalist conflicts lingered on, on both sides of the border. In World War II many members of the German minority greeted the Wehrmacht invasion of Yugoslavia in 1941 and joined the German combat units, while large parts of Radkersburg were devastated by armed conflicts. After the war, most of the remaining German-speaking population south of the Mur was forcibly expelled.
The town hall on the former Adolf-Hitler-Platz
The Seegrotte in Hinterbrühl bei Mödling has changed besides the flags it flies
Nazi flag on the Römerhofgaße in front of the Auracher Löchl
On the Italian-Austrian border during the war and today.
Adolf-Hitler-Platz and today
Adolf Hitler Platz and today; the fountain remains
Schloss Brunnwald, built between 1724-1727 in the midst of a forest as an hunting lodge. A fire in 1898 badly damaged it but by 1905 it had been rebuilt. In 1939 the castle was confiscated by the Nazis to serve as an NSV Müttererholungsheim. After the war services were held for the large number of refugees within.