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 THE WESTERN MAIL & SOUTH WALES NEWS, August 10thd 1934   



By Gareth Jones 
VIENNA August 8th.

Three soldiers in steel helmets standing near a machine-gun, a lorry full of police with rifles rushing past; armed men on every corner, and a grim grey building from whose windows a few prisoners looked out-such was the scene that confronted me this morning when I penetrated the forbidden zone of Vienna. 

“You must not stand still here,” shouted a soldier to me as I inquisitively stared at the muzzle of the machine gun and I moved away out of the barricaded area to a quieter part of the city. 

In this forbidden zone is the prison where the Nazis who entered the Chancellery and took part in the murder of Dollfuss are now being carefully guarded. It was only my British passport which enabled me to stroll through those empty watched streets.  Had I been an Austrian the police and the soldiers would have turned me away, for they fear two things-a raid by the anti-Nazi Heimwehr (Austrian Fascist Army under Prince Starbemberg) who might attempt to take revenge upon the murderers of Dollfuss, or an attack by fanatical Nazis who might try to rescue their captured comrades. 

Crowded With Armed Men 

A few streets further on I passed the German Embassy and again I saw police with rifles.  Indeed, Vienna is crowded with armed men, for the city is still under martial law.  Troops march past the hotel window; Heimwehr lads, with bunches of feathers in their grey-green caps, parade before the Opera House; and the purple shirts of the Catholic troops (Ostmärkische Sturmscharen) add colour to the Viennese streets. 

These troops gave a superficial impression of strength and loyalty to the Dollfuss régime, but beneath the surface there is no land so tragically torn by dissension and so flaming with hatred and with the longing for revenge as Austria today. 


The assassination of Dollfuss has moved the Viennese as no other event.  Their sympathy has, however, been for a man who had many admirable and lovable traits, and not for his policy.  They remember his simplicity and his kindness, and several people have wept before me when talking of his death. 

One working man told me how he had talked to Dollfuss a week before Ins death, when they were strolling in a park.  The worker had forbidden his child to play with the Dollfuss children.  But the Chancellor had said, “Why should they not play together?  I am only a peasant’s son, and I shall die just like any other man.” 

In spite of the deep human feeling which has been felt for Dollfuss, there is strong opposition within the country to the policy which his Government has pursued and which Herr Schuschnigg, the new Chancellor, is pursuing. 

Socialist Grievances 

The Socialists, who once ruled over all Vienna and built the magnificent workers’ flats of that city, have not forgiven the Government for the brutal bombardment of the Karl Marxhof in February; for the torture of many prisoners; for the breaking of promises to some of those captured; for the imprisonment of men without trial, and for the introduction of a dictatorial régime. 

Some of the Socialists have gone over to the National-Socialists, and few will forgive the brutality of the present régime or the imprisonment of thousands of workers in concentration camps throughout the country. 

The Nazis are strong throughout the country, although the savagery of the murder of Dollfuss and the failure of the secret Storm Troopers to rise through the country have caused a set-back, but, I believe, a temporary set-back.  They can rally to their side all those thousands who hate the influence of Mussolini. 

“I fought against the Italians during the War.  They are our enemies.  Why should they dictate to Austria?”  asked a Viennese.  “They are just using us Austrians for their own purpose.  I hate Mussolini and his schemes.” 

Flight of South Tyrolese 

They can win the support of those who boil at the ill-treatment of the South Tyrolese by the Italians.  In spite of Mussolini’s promises, the plight of this South Tyrol minority under Fascist rule is tragic. 

The Nazis have the support of the university men, professors, and students, and have many intellectuals in their ranks.  Thousands of peasants in Carinthia and Styria are said to be on the side of the Nazis, and to be longing for a closer union with Germany. 

Therefore, I do not find among the population such a passion for Austrian independence as is claimed by many Italian and French writers.  The racial and economic magnetism of Germans cannot be destroyed even by such a dastardly crime as the killing of Dollfuss. 

Army’s Jealousy 

The strength of the Nazis and of the Socialists has undermined confidence in the police and the army, which has not been wholly restored by the loyalty of these forces during the events following the Dollfuss murder.  The army is jealous of the Heimwehr, and the relations between the Heimwehr and the Catholic troops are sometimes strained. 

Although Dollfuss died for his country, Austria still presents a picture of bitterness, conflict, and brotherly strife.  Few foresee a period of calm.  Some believe that the Socialists, who are working underground, will again rise against the dictatorship.  Others believe that the present Government will have a rapprochement with Germany.

The Government has one trump card, however, and that is the dread that Italian troops will march and occupy Austria if the Nazis come into power. 

“Mussolini will march.  It is no bluff.”  Those are phrases one hears from well-informed people.  Fear of Italian invasion may keep the present régime in power. 

If World-War Comes

“If a world-war comes it will begin by Italian troops marching into Austria to prevent the union of Austria and Germany,” stated one expert.  “If the Italians march the Yugoslavs will send their troops into Austria to prevent themselves being cut off from the north by Italian troops and prevent the Italians joining hands with the Hungarians and blocking Yugoslavia from all contact with Austria or with Germany.”  Austria has therefore become the storm-centre of Europe and its most dangerous part is the region where Italy, Austria, and Yugoslavia almost meet.  That province, Carinthia, is regarded as the first battlefield of a European war, if another breaks out. 

I shall investigate on the spot conditions in the zone which Austrians regard as the fighting ground of the future.








Adolf Hitler, Chancellor of Germany.


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