a story lives forever
Sign in
Form submission failed!

Stay signed in

Recover your password?
Form submission failed!

Web of Stories Ltd would like to keep you informed about our products and services.

Please tick here if you would like us to keep you informed about our products and services.

I have read and accepted the Terms & Conditions.

Please note: Your email and any private information provided at registration will not be passed on to other individuals or organisations without your specific approval.

Video URL

You must be registered to use this feature. Sign in or register.


Annexation to Germany ignites Austrian anti-Semitism


How Hitler annexed Austria
Eric Kandel Scientist
Comments (0) Please sign in or register to add comments

Austria itself, after the First World War, was essentially emasculated. It had been a large empire which, you know, extended to what are now parts of Russia - in fact the Crimea belonged to Austria - parts of Italy belonged to Austria. Czechoslovakia, parts of Yugoslavia. It was enormous; over 50 million people, and all this was taken away. What was kept was the German-speaking core, about six-and-a-half million people. And from 1932 to 1938 Austria was a dictatorship. It was run on the model of Mussolini, sort of a Catholic dictatorship, with close ties to the Church. The first leader was a guy called Dollfuss, and he outlawed all parties except his own. So the Nazi Party, the Communist Party, the Socialist Party, they were all outlawed. And as a result, the Nazis rose up and shot him - assassinated him a year or so after he took office.

The killers were found, and order was restored, and Schuschnigg took over. But Hitler continued to put pressure on Austria to make the Nazi Party legal, and Schuschnigg at first didn’t want to give in. They met in Berchtesgaden, and Hitler said he wanted the Nazi Party to be legal. He wanted to have two members of the cabinet be Nazis. Schuschnigg gave in on that, and thought this would be the end of it. But Hitler kept on putting pressure on him. And Schuschnigg decided, we’re going to have a plebiscite. We’re going to decide with a vote whether or not the Austrian people want to stay independent, ja, yes, or join with Germany, nein.

And there were propaganda statements written on the street in white paint. It looked for sure as if the vote would be yes, we would stay independent. And Hitler saw that, and marched in on the 13th of March. I’ll never forget that. Lewis and I were listening, with our headsets, and we could hear: Die Fahne hoch! Die Reihen fest geschlossen! SA marschiert mit ruhig festem Schritt. This Nazi marching song. When he came into Vienna, 200,000 people, the largest ever assembled in Vienna, met at Heldenplatz and cheered him as a great victor. Now these were people that two days before that appeared to be opposed to him. All of a sudden they flipped.

Hitler himself was surprised. He thought that he would create a protectorate, you know, a special state that Germany had ties with. But they were so welcoming that he just annexed it. He made it part of Germany. At last, the German-speaking people are united.

Eric Kandel (b. 1929) is an American neuropsychiatrist. He was a recipient of the 2000 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine for his research on the physiological basis of memory storage in neurons. He shared the prize with Arvid Carlsson and Paul Greengard. Kandel, who had studied psychoanalysis, wanted to understand how memory works. His mentor, Harry Grundfest, said, 'If you want to understand the brain you're going to have to take a reductionist approach, one cell at a time.' Kandel then studied the neural system of the sea slug Aplysia californica, which has large nerve cells amenable to experimental manipulation and is a member of the simplest group of animals known to be capable of learning. Kandel is a professor of biochemistry and biophysics at the College of Physicians and Surgeons at Columbia University. He is also Senior Investigator in the Howard Hughes Medical Institute. He was the founding director of the Center for Neurobiology and Behavior, which is now the Department of Neuroscience at Columbia University. Kandel's popularized account chronicling his life and research, 'In Search of Memory: The Emergence of a New Science of Mind', was awarded the 2006 Los Angeles Times Book Award for Science and Technology.

Listeners: Christopher Sykes

Christopher Sykes is an independent documentary producer who has made a number of films about science and scientists for BBC TV, Channel Four, and PBS.

Tags: Austria, Germany, Engelbert Dollfuss, Kurt Schuschnigg, Adolf Hitler

Duration: 3 minutes, 34 seconds

Date story recorded: June 2015

Date story went live: 04 May 2016