The domestic and foreign policy of Austria and her relations with Germany and Italy, 1932--1938
McElroy, David Brian
Doctor of Philosophy
On May 2, 1925, Benito Mussolini said in a speech to the Italian Senate: It is necessary to guarantee not only the Rhineland frontier but the Brennero frontier. On this point I wish to make the opinion of the Italian Government perfectly plain, especially in face of the propaganda which is being made in favour of the Anschluss in both Austria and Germany. It cannot be permitted. Thirteen years later, the Giornale d'Italia carried Mussolini's Genoa speech of May 14, 1938, which read in part: "Fascist Italy could not indefinitely assume what was the odious and useless task of the old Austria of the Habsburgs and Metternich---that of opposing the movement of nations towards their unity." This work will be an attempt to determine the factors which led Mussolini from the former to the latter position, from a virtual protectorate over the Republic of Austria to the complete elimination of Italian influence in the Danube area. Such a study lends itself to a critique of the events in Austria between 1933 and 1938 and to an examination of the wider international developments of the same period as reflected in Austrian and Italian policies. The organization of the events of the Austrian tragedy can be delineated into three distinct acts. These acts are the coup d'etat of July 25, 1934, with the death of Federal Chancellor Dollfuss; the Austro-German Agreement of July 11, 1936; and the Einmarsch of March 11, 1938. Immediately preceding each of these three principal acts are three seemingly secondary ones: the February revolt of 1934, the collapse of the Stresa front in May 1935, and the Berchtesgaden Protocol of February 1938, respectively. These latter events are in effect the direct result of Italian influence and policy, and carry an importance not apparent at first, being the causes of the more prominent occurrences in Austria. Implicit, then, in the course of developments leading to the Austrian Anschluss with Germany is the influence of the foreign policy of Mussolini and Fascist Italy. The significant circumstances of Austria's position prior to the Second World War are generally well-known, and the conflicts and frequently highly emotional drama of the First Republic have been subjected to critical investigation. However, these studies have confined themselves largely to Austrian internal developments, frequently biased or written to justify some party or principle. That these domestic developments are intrinsically due to external motivation is not so apparent. These external factors are obscured by their less publicized knowledge, by their overshadowing predominance in other spheres of international power politics, and by the portentousness of still greater factors crowding upon one another in this period.
European history; Political science; International law; International relations