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HOW FASCISM CAME TO AUSTRIA* CHARLES A. GULICK, JR• .IN the world-wide indignation aroused by the obliteration of a tiny nation's independence it is easy to slight one important fact: HItler did not bring fascism to Austria. That job was begun at Versailles and St. Germain, but it was completed by a cabinet of which Schuschnigg was a member (though he personally looked forward to a Habsburg restoration). Hitler changed only the colour and the form of fascism. From the early 'days of the Republic certain powerful economic groups were determined to overthrow it as soon as possible, and by force if necessary. On the other side, that is, chiefly among the working classes, was an equal determination to defend democratic institutions and to retain the social and economic gains of 1918 and 1919. What was done by the leaders of the Social Democratic (the workers') party after the collapse of the old empire speaks'strongly for their democratic convictions. On November 11, 1918, Dr. Karl Renner, first Chancellor of the Republic, reported to the National Council that the workers were putting severe pressure on the party to take over the government, but that the leaders had decided to continue the existing coalition as the only guarantee against anarchy and economic chaos. The parliamentary elections of February, 1919, greatly disappointed many Social Democrats; for they secured only 72 mandates in a lower house of 170 seats. Again they decided for a coalition, in response partly perhaps to other influences, but mainly to their faith in democracy and hope of victory by its methods. When the Soviet republics were set up in Hungary and Bavaria in 1919, there was again strong pressure upon the Socialists to throw in their lot with the Communists; again they refused.l Though the coalition broke down in 1920, an examination of the writings of the party leaders shows that they always wished to operate on a parliamentary basis. Even the Linz programme of 1926, which was characterized by the conservatives as a threat of civil war, was actually a reaffirmation of "'The au thor makes grateful acknowledgment to the Social Science Research Council, and to the Institute of Social Sciences of the Deiversi ty of California, for financial assistance during a year in Austria. For numbered notes see end. 198 HOW FASCISM o CAME TO AUSTRIA 199 the party's devotion to democratic institutions. Its exact language demonstrates that the Socialists pledged themselves not to resort to force unless a "counter-revolution succeeds in shattering democracy."2 Working on this pai-liamentary basis, the party increased its votes in the general elections of 1923 and 1927; and it increased its representation in parliament in 1930, despite the loss of a few thousand votes. From 1919 to 1934 it maintained an approximate two-thirds majority in O the city council of Vienna. By 1930 fortyseven per cent of the population of the country lived in a city, town, or village admini~tered by Socialists. How this strength was used all the .world knows. For decades Vienna had been the Mecca of physicians. During the 'twenties it attracted even more social-welfare workers, pedagogues, and housing experts. Tuberculosis had been known as "the Vienna sickness." Now, under the direction of Dr. Julius Tandler, the death-rate ° from pulmonary tuberculosis dropped to about half what it had been in 1913. Before the \Var Austrian schools were roundly cursed by working-class parents as Ilbeating schools." Now the reforms, initiated in Vienna by Otto Glockel, spread throughout the land, and the kindergarten in the Sandleiten housing complex, for example; was extolled as a model throughout the world. Until the fourth year of Social Democratic control began to bring changes, Vienna was disgraced by thousands of dwellings whose lack of light, of ventilation, and of plumbing surpassed almost anything in slums elsewhere. In the next ten years the city built over 65)000 houses and apartments and raised its standards with a rapidity never before equalled. Finally, during the first sixteen months of the Republic, the workers' representatives jn parliament initiated and put through a series of laws dealing with labour and social problems, which placed Austria in...


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