Kurt Schuschnigg

From Simple English Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Kurt Schuschnigg
Kurt Schuschnigg, in 1936
15th Federal Chancellor of Austria
In office
July 29, 1934 – March 11, 1938
PresidentWilhelm Miklas
DeputyErnst Rüdiger Starhemberg, Eduard Baar-Baarenfels, Ludwig Hülgerth, Edmund Glaise-Horstenau
Preceded byErnst Rüdiger Starhemberg (acting)
Succeeded byArthur Seyss-Inquart
Acting Federal Chancellor of Austria
In office
July 25 – July 26, 1934
PresidentWilhelm Miklas
Preceded byEngelbert Dollfuss
Succeeded byErnst Rüdiger Starhemberg (acting)
Personal details
Born(1897-12-14)14 December 1897
Riva del Garda, then Austria-Hungary, now Italy
Died18 November 1977(1977-11-18) (aged 79)
Mutters, Tyrol, Austria
Political partyPatriotic Front
ProfessionLawyer, Professor

Kurt Alois Josef Johann Schuschnigg (1897–1977, until 1919, Edler von Schuschnigg) was the 15th Chancellor of Austria. He was in office between the assassination of his predecessor, Engelbert Dollfuss in 1934, and the annexation of Austria in 1938. The time of Dollfuss' and Schuschnigg's reign is known as Austrofascism today. He survived the war as a prisoner. After the war, he took US citizenship, and became a professor for state law in the United States. In 1968, he returned to Austria, where he died in 1977.

Schuschnigg studied law in Freiburg im Breisgau and Innsbruck. The nazi Otto Planetta killed Dollfuss, in 1934, in an event that is known as July putsch today. During the war, the NSDAP saw Planetta as a hero. Schuschnigg became the next Chancellor, and at age 36, is the youngest person to become chanellor to this date.

Schuschnigg was a conservative and an Austrian nationalist. He also supported the idea of Austria as a catholic nation. During his time in office, he was opposed to the idea of Austria becoming a part of Germany. Adolf Hitler began to make show aggression towards Austria in the later 1930s. Schuschnigg planned a referendum on the issue, and this was strongly opposed by the Nazis. In his last major speech, he gave an emotional appeal to Austrian independence and nationalism, finishing with the line "Red White Red, until we're dead!" (referring to the colors of the Austrian flag). Schuschnigg was forced to step down on 11th March 1938, and to hand power to Dr. Arthur Seyß-Inquart. One day later, Austria was annexed to Germany.

Schuschnigg was arrested by the Gestapo soon after this. He was sent to the infamous Dachau Concentration Camp, where he spent most of the war. After Dachau was liberated by allied armed forces he moved to the United States. He wrote books on his political career and worked in academia in the US. In 1968 he retired from being a professor and retired to Austria, where he died of natural causes in 1977.