Heimwehr: Wikis

  
  

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March of the Heimwehr in Wiener Neustadt, 1931
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The Heimwehr (German: Home Guard) or sometimes Heimatschutz (German: Home Defense)[1] were a Nationalist, initially paramilitary group operating within Austria during the 1920s and 1930s; they were similar in methods, organisation, and ideology to Germany's Freikorps.

Contents

Origins and reorganization

Formed mainly from demobilised soldiers after World War I, the Heimwehr were initially formed as loosely organized militias to defend the borders of Austria. As with Germany's Freikorps, there was no formal national leadership or political program at the beginning, but rather local groupings which responded actively to whatever they considered to be ideologically unpalatable. In Carinthia, for example, they formed to protect their region from Slovene and Yugoslav troops[2] . Ignaz Seipel, Christian Social Austrian Chancellor at the time, reorganized the Heimwehr as an "answer to the Socialist Schutzbund"[3] in an attempt to curb socialist power. The increasing politicalization of militias led to the Heimwehr involvement in the massacre of 15 July 1927.

1930s

The Heimwehr continued to lack any real national coherence up to 1930, when Heimwehr leaders committed themselves to the Korneuburg Oath, which established an arguably Fascist party platform based on Austrian Nationalism (as distinct from the pan-German nationalism of the Nazis), a rejection of Parliamentary Democracy and Marxism, in favour of a dictatorship, and a rejection of class struggle (see Austrofascism)[4].

When Walter Pfrimer, regional head in Styria attempted a coup in 1931, he received no support from other Heimwehr leaders. After this, many Heimwehr groupings, including the Styrian section, increasingly defected to the Nazis[citation needed].

Decline

After Engelbert Dollfuss created the Fatherland Front in 1934, he gained control over and incorporated the Heimwehr into other right-wing militaries with the help of Ernst Rüdiger Starhemberg. Politically, the Heimwehr suffered a decline in support and significance due to the Pan-German, nationalist allure of the Nazis and Italy's gradual reorientation of its foreign policy towards Germany. As a result of these factors, Dollfuss' successor, Kurt Schuschnigg, absorbed the remaining Heimwehr elements into the Fatherland Front in 1936, and it officially ceased to exist as a political grouping. Ernst Starhemberg was left out of the new governmental order in an attempt to end rivalries between private armies[5].

References

  1. ^ Jelavich, Barbara (1989). Modern Austria : Empire & Republic 1815-1986. Cambridge University Press. pp. 182. ISBN 0 521 31625 1. 
  2. ^ Brook-Shepherd, Gordon (1996). The Austrians : a thousand-year odyssey. HarperCollins. pp. 235. ISBN 0 00 638255 X. 
  3. ^ Brook-Shepherd, Gordon (1996). The Austrians : a thousand-year odyssey. HarperCollins. pp. 261. ISBN 0 00 638255 X. 
  4. ^ Brook-Shepherd, Gordon (1996). The Austrians : a thousand-year odyssey. HarperCollins. pp. 265. ISBN 0 00 638255 X. 
  5. ^ "Mother's Helper". Time Magazine. 15th. http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,756104-1,00.html. Retrieved December 11, 2007. 







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