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The Anschluss was the occupation and annexation of Austria into Nazi Germany in March 1938. Although Austria had never been part of the modern state of Germany, there was solid support in both countries for the union.

The Anschluss had been a long-proposed idea to unite German-speaking peoples, but was impractical during the years when Austria was the center of Austria-Hungary. In 1919, following Austria-Hungary's dissolution at the end of World War I, the idea became viable but was soundly blocked during the Versailles conference by vindictive French President Georges Clemenceau, who was opposed to the idea of Germany gaining any land. Ironically, some historians believe that allowing the Anschluss in 1919 would have consoled German anger and made the Nazi platform irrelevant, thus preventing World War II.

While Austrian Chancellor Kurt Schussnigg had attempted to forestall the issue with a referendum for 13 March 1938, the German Nazi Party supported a coup by its Austrian counter-part. Days later, German troops marched into the country.

The Anschluss was one more step on the path to World War II, as Adolf Hitler continued German remilitarization and expansion into 1939. Austria ceased to exist as an independent nation until 1955.

Literary commentEdit

The Anschluss took place as described above in all Harry Turtledove timelines with a Point of Divergence after 1938. It also took place in Joe Steele and The War That Came Early, unaffected by earlier PODs.

Anschluss in Joe SteeleEdit

In March 1938, Nazi Germany annexed Austria, rearranging the map of Europe.[1] Adolf Hitler then began making demands on Czechoslovakia.[2]

In the United States, AP reporter Charlie Sullivan was attempting to explain the situation in a way that made sense to the average American when his wife Esther called to tell him she'd gone into labor.[3]

Anschluss in The War That Came EarlyEdit

The Anschluss was one of several events Adolf Hitler counted as "achievements" on the eve of the Munich Conference in September 1938, which for him made the Allied capitulation on the Sudetenland issue so frustrating. Thus, when it was announced that Konrad Henlein had been assassinated, Hitler gleefully declared war on Czechoslovakia.[4].

The annexed Austria became Germany's launchpad into Czechoslovakia days later.[5]

ReferencesEdit

  1. Joe Steele, pg. 195.
  2. Ibid., pg. 196.
  3. Ibid.
  4. Hitler's War, pg. 9
  5. Ibid., pg. 22

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