Hitler Angry Over Schuschnigg's Proposed Vote on Austrian Independence Hot

Hitler Angry Over Schuschnigg's Proposed Vote on Austrian Independence

Arthur Seyss-Inquart and Adolf Hitler
Source: Wikipedia

Adolf Hitler reacts strongly to Austrian Chancellor Kurt Schuschnigg's decision to hold a plebiscite on Austrian independence. Hitler has no intention of allowing Austrians the freedom to vote on their own futures and because the vote is supposed to happen so quickly, in just two days, he's not left much room for political maneuvers. So Hitler simply issues a threat: turn power over to Austria's National Socialists or Germany will invade.

Hitler doesn't even wait for an answer before signing the invasion orders for the military, which is already massed at Austria's border. Schuschnigg is desperate for help from any quarter, but none is to be had. Austria's old ally Italy has in the past few years become much closer to Nazi Germany. Neither France nor Britain are willing to do anything. So Kurt Schuschnigg resigns and transfers power to Arthur Seyss-Inquart, Minister of the Interior. Schuschnigg says in his farewell speech:

"The German Government today handed to President Miklas an ultimatum, with a time limit, ordering him to nominate as chancellor a person designated by the German Government and to appoint members of a cabinet on the orders of the German Government; otherwise German troops would invade Austria."

Seyss-Inquart is not a member of the Nazi Party, but he is sympathetic to their ideology and appoints high-ranking Nazis to his cabinet.

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Kurt Alois Josef Johann Schuschnigg

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