In February 1934 fighting broke out in Linz between government forces and the Social Democratic Party. Within hours Vienna was up in arms and the fighting soon spread to other parts of Austria. A few days later the party was destroyed and Austria seemed to many observers to have joined the ranks of fascist states. The violence of the fighting, particularly the shelling of the vast workers’ housing complex, the Karl-Marx-Hof, and the summary execution of a number of leading figures in the fighting horrified the civilised world. This book, first published in 1980, looks at the importance of Austrian social democracy as one of the pillars of European Marxism and shows how it became a victim of the spread of fascism. The radical right and the peculiarities of Austrian varieties of fascism are given particular attention, and Dollfuss’s own brand of fascistic state is analysed in terms of classic forms of fascism. Particular emphasis is placed on the economic and social problems of the Austrian Republic which led to a deepening of the political crisis and also to the foreign political ramifications of the problem. Although Dollfuss appeared to be determinedly anti-Nazi it was he who finally gave the order to destroy the Social Democratic Party little realising he was destroying himself. Thus, this study illustrates how socialism was strengthened rather than weakened by the fighting in February, and Austrian fascism far from halting German fascism, paved the way for its final triumph.
Table of Contents
1. Austro-Marxism in Theory and Practice 2. The Christian Social Party 3. The Extreme Right 4. The Economic Problems of the Austrian Republic 5. The Army and the Police 6. The Schutzbund 7. Foreign Policy: Dollfuss Between Mussolini and Hitler 8. The Patriotic Front 9. The Fighting on 12 February 1934 10. The Aftermath of February 11. Austro-Fascism 12. Conclusion