WESTERN MAIL & SOUTH WALES NEWS, August 14th 1934
CRUSADE” TO UNITE AUSTRIA WITH GERMANY
Talk of Noble Nazi Rising
IF you wish to see how strong the Nazis are in Austria,” said a politician to
me in a Viennese café, “go to Carinthia in the south and walk in the
districts where there was bloodshed a few days ago.”
hours later I entered the night Rome express in the south station of Vienna,
which is now guarded by soldiers with bayonets fixed, and was soon speeding
towards the valleys and mountains of south Austria.
dawn came after I had spent a sleepless night on hard third-class benches, I
looked out to see dark blue mountains rising out of whitish mists, rows of vine
upon slopes facing the sun and ancient castles standing like Carreg Cennen on
abrupt cliffs overlooking the river.
whose names were familiar to me because severe fighting had taken place there
after the murder of Dollfuss looked tranquil in the morning sun, as if never a
shot had ever disturbed their peace. I saw Saint Veit, into which within
the past fortnight 500 Nazis marched, occupied the Town hall, hoisted the
swastika flag, and tore down from the church the banners of mourning for
Dollfuss. They had held the town until next morning, when they were
bombarded by artillery and had to escape, leaving behind them between 40 and 50
the morning grey we passed the town which, by a curious coincidence, bears the
name of the Welsh castle Saint Donat. Not long ago brother had shot
against brother in its old-fashioned streets.
AN IMPORTANT QUESTION
half past five in the morning I left the train and descended in the capital of
strong are the Nazis in this province?” I asked myself. It is an
important question for the Government of Austria and for the future of Europe,
because if the Nazis are really strong they may overthrow the present
Government, which stands for the independence of Austria, and unite their
country with Germany, with grave consequences for the world’s peace.
try to answer this question I made for the countryside, and by 10 o’clock I
was swinging along a road lined by vast sunflowers nine feet high, near fields
sprinkled blue with cornflowers and purple with vetch, and beneath lofty
mountains, the tops of which were hidden in clouds. I passed the
grayish-brown River Drave, which rushes into Yugoslavia, joins the Danube, and
then enters the Black Sea. Through a stretch of pine trees and firs I
walked and came out into the open again, where maize and sunflowers grew.
old peasant was working by the roadside. “Ay, what a time we have had
here,” he moaned. “On this very road by my house the Nazis came.
Their shots whizzed past our house, and we just stayed inside, terrified to
move. They marched from that village over there towards the station.”
PRISONS FULL OF NAZIS
are there many Nazis here?” I asked.
Nazis, indeed!” he grunted. “They’re nearly all Nazis, but now the prisons
are full of them. Why, there’s one village I know just near where there
are only three men left. All the others have been taken or have fled
across the border into Yugoslavia. Fools, I call them, to rise when the
harvest is on. What are politicians, anyway, compared with the harvest?
If they’d only give us back our Emperor Franz Joseph again we’d all be
quarter of a mile further on the village began. Everywhere were notices
printed in large black letters:
of Martial Law, From July 26 all houses must be closed at eight o’clock.
The soldiers and police have been instructed to make immediate use of their
rifles, when necessary.
made my way past old-fashioned houses, painted yellow, pink, and light green,
with red flowers in masses in each windowsill, until I came to the house of the
Mayor. Here, I thought, I will find a man bitterly opposed to the Nazis, a
man who will treat them as rebels. My astonishment was great when I was
taken into a room where the Mayor, a tall but bent man who looked like a
gentleman farmer, was. talking with the old headmaster of the village school.
I heard the remark, “The Nazis who rose here were not rebels or terrorists.
It was a noble rising of the people,” I was bewildered. Here was the
chief representative of authority supporting the rebels.
SPIRIT NOT CRUSHED
per cent. of the young people are Nazis here,” said the Mayor.
per cent.” interrupted the headmaster, “if they could vote. I wish you
could talk with my son, but he is in prison. He has been found innocent of
bloodshed and yet he is still there without trial.”
I cannot talk with your son, I should like to talk with some young people,” I
people!” The Mayor laughed ironically. “They’re all in prison
because they are Nazis. But I’ll tell you what the young people want and
what they will fight for again - union with Germany. We are determined to
murder of Dollfuss, much as we deplore it, has not crushed the: spirit of our
young men. There will be more revolts, more fighting, more bloodshed, for
Austria will not have rest until we have joined with our German brothers to the
WHY REVOLT FAILED
this point I asked an indiscreet question: “If the Nazis are so strong as you
state, why did the rising fail so miserably?”
guns!” snapped out the Mayor. “They sent in troops and Heimwehr men from
outside, but one day they will not be able to crush the Nazis so easily.”
Mayor revealed to me the desires of the peasants, who are nearly all in favour
of the union (Anschluss) with Germany. They know that prices for
agricultural products and for timber are higher in Germany than in Italy.
Their suffering has been so great in Austria that they look upon distant Germany
as a kind of paradise where all peasants prosper.
has been smuggled in across the frontiers and the peasants are ready to believe
all the stories of happiness and wealth which they read of in Germany.
I left the Mayor and the schoolmaster they said, “Tell the world that Austria
wants to be united with Germany and does not want to be the prisoner of
made my way to the village inn to enjoy in the open-air that famous Austrian
dish “Wiener Schnitzel” and the coffee which is delicious in even the most
remote valleys. At the next table sat two Viennese boys about 11 years of
age. We talked of aeroplanes and skyscrapers, of kings, emperors, and of
do you think of the Germans?” I asked.
of them replied boldly: “The Germans and the Austrians have the same tongue
and are one nation!”
few moments later the waitress came. “Hitler is one of the greatest men
that ever lived. Only he can save Austria! she said.
I was sipping my coffee a fair-haired young man came to me and said:
Mayor sent me to you. I am almost the only young man in this village who
is not in prison, because I was away when the rising took place. I tell
you that we young men will never be crushed. We will fight to the death
for union with Germany.
have been in Styria, in the Tyrol, and here in Carinthia, and the same spirit is
inspiring the young men today as inspired William Tell in Switzerland and Adreas
Hofer, our hero from the Tyrol. The machine-guns of the present
dictatorship will not keep us down.”
serious blue eyes revealed the earnestness, the intolerance, and the courage of
the fanatic. But Europe today is full of such fanatics,
spite of his views, would not the strength of Roman Catholicism keep the
Government in power? I reflected. Surely a régime supported by the
Pope, such as the present Austrian régime, would be upheld by a pious Roman
Catholic people like the’ Austrians? I asked him these questions.
reply was one I had been surprised to hear from a number of people in Austria:
“I am a Roman Catholic, but, like thousands of those of my faith, I hate the
way the Vatican is carrying out the policy of Italy.
Vatican has lost everywhere during the past few years - in Russia, in Spain, in
Germany, and elsewhere, and now it wants to maintain power in at least one Roman
Catholic State, and that is Austria. The Vatican is Italian in spirit and
Italian in its foreign aims.” Nothing he believe-not even the Church -
could keep Germany and Austria apart for ever, and there were hundreds of
thousands of men like himself who would die to bring about the union.
I had said good-bye to him, wondering as we parted whether he would be killed in
another Nazi rising or whether he would, indeed, play a part in a Nazi Austria,
I reflected on the conversations I had had.
talked to more peasants and workers. Everywhere I found that in this part
of Austria the desire for union with Germany had become a kind of sacred
crusade, and that even the murder of Dollfuss had not discredited
National-Socialism for long.
as the evening haze fell over the mountains I asked myself: “If Austria
becomes united with Germany, will not the Italians march into this very region,
and will that not lead to a European War?”
question I shall seek to answer in my next article.