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THE WESTERN MAIL & SOUTH WALES NEWS, August 14th  1934    



Carinthians Talk of Noble Nazi Rising 

By Gareth Jones 
KLAGENFURT, Carinthia.

“ 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.” 

Some 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. 

When 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.          

Towns 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 dead. 

In 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. 


At half past five in the morning I left the train and descended in the capital of Carinthia, Klagenfurt. 

“How 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. 

To 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. 

An 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.” 


“And are there many Nazis here?” I asked. 

“Many 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 happy,” 

A quarter of a mile further on the village began.  Everywhere were notices printed in large black letters: 

Declaration 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. 

I 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. 

When 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. 


“Ninety per cent. of the young people are Nazis here,” said the Mayor. 

“Ninety-nine 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.” 

“If I cannot talk with your son, I should like to talk with some young people,” I said. 

“Young 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 have it. 

“The 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 north.” 


At this point I asked an indiscreet question: “If the Nazis are so strong as you state, why did the rising fail so miserably?” 

“Machine 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.” 

The 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. 

Propaganda 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. 

When 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 Italy.” 


I 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 soldiers. 

“What do you think of the Germans?” I asked. 

One of them replied boldly: “The Germans and the Austrians have the same tongue and are one nation!” 

A few moments later the waitress came.  “Hitler is one of the greatest men that ever lived.  Only he can save Austria! she said. 

As I was sipping my coffee a fair-haired young man came to me and said: 

“The 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. 

“I 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.” 


His serious blue eyes revealed the earnestness, the intolerance, and the courage of the fanatic.  But Europe today is full of such fanatics,

In 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. 

His 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. 

“The 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. 


As 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. 

I 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. 

And 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?” 

That question I shall seek to answer in my next article.  








Adolf Hitler, Chancellor of Germany.


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