Austria Ready for Unification's Message
Vienna Times, March 10, 1938
Yesterday, Chancellor Schuschnigg announced a plebiscite on whether Austria will remain independent, or follow the natural dictates of its ethnic composition and join with growing Germany, now seemingly reborn under the steady and determined leadership of its Fuhrer, Austrian native, Adolf Hitler.
To some this seems to be an example of Schnuschnigg caving in to the pressures of the more dynamic and strong-willed German leader, but those with this view are clearly a minority.
It is true that the intellectuals of Vienna bemoan the apparent loss of an Austria identity through an alliance with the German Reich. However, as one who has traveled throughout the Tirol on many a skiing vacation, rather than just confining myself to effete coffee-houses, like Herr Krugmann, I can tell you that the feelings of those in the city favoring non-confederation, let's call them "pessimists", are not shared by the common Austrians that make up the back bone of this land. I like to call them, "anschlussmists"
These common people, the people of the beer halls, sausage factories, clock makers, puppeteers, and all those wearing the brown-shirt and leiderhosen of pride agree that it is better for Austria's future to join in league with its powerful and upward-moving neighbor to the north than to remain in a state of meaningless independence.
It is true the pessimists, comprised as they are of intellectuals, artists, and financiers, all have financial or religious reasons for opposing the plan so advocated by Herr Hitler and now the strong-willed Schuschnigg. However, their claims and concerns seem both overwrought and unduly dour, especially to the average hard-working Austrian of the Alps who unarguably have made this country what it is. What the family in Innsbrook wants may not seem right and proper to the academic in Vienna, but that does not mean that the bulk of the former will not have their voices heard.
It is true that Herr Hitler has, while rising to power in Berlin, made statements regarding Jews that are strident and even accurately called impolite. However, now that he has taken political power in Germany, other than minor changes in the law, he has yet to put this rhetoric into practice. There is little evidence at this point that even if that language was something he was serious about, which it is likely he was not, it is language of the past and not of policy. Appealing to one's base through hyperbole is part and parcel of any political process and there is little evidence of any pending actions against jews*. It seems unlikely that Austrians have anything to worry about on this score and indeed such assertions now seem to be simply "fear mongering".
In the coming hours, Austrians will have to make the faithful decision, we must make sure that we respect the will of the majority and not let fear and use demogougery to cloud what should be evident to all.