The expected has happened. Dollfuss, the little dictator who did not know how to dictate, has met his tragic end, which was inevitable. He was assassinated by Nazis who worked in close co-operation with the Nazi Minister to Vienna. Dollfuss resorted to violence and naturally fell a victim to violence. Defying Hitler, Dollfuss nevertheless made use of a brand of Nazism that was akin to Hitlerism. Dollfuss fought on two fronts. He butchered the Social Democrats who had originally offered to aid him against the invasion of Hitlerism. Then he attempted to combat Hitlerite Nazism by a sort of Dollfuss Nazism. He was thus fighting for a lost cause, having alienated most of the sympathy that Austria had enjoyed before his brutal liquidation of the Social Democrats.
The end of Dollfuss and the fiasco of the Dollfuss policy could easily be foreseen. As far back as February 11, 1934, I wrote with regard the Dollfuss policies:
“We are on the eve of a new catastrophe . . . The League of Nations, especially France, Great Britain and the Little Entente, should hasten to exert all their moral powers to save Austria from the clutches of Hitlerism. For Hitler’s triumph in Austria would spur him on to further attempts at the Hitlerization of Europe, and then a new war could hardly be averted.
“There is one consolation in Hitler’s mad desire to bring about the Anschluss with Austria by force. He will find himself vigorously opposed by Benito Mussolini. There is nothing that Italy fears more than the coming of Nazi Germany too close to her frontier by way of Austria.”
Two days later I wrote:
“Austria is in a most desperate position just now. The sympathy of the world goes out to her in her heroic efforts to resist Hitlerism . . . But if Austria is to indulge in the same cruelties and outrages that have disgraced the Hitler regime in Germany, she is sure to alienate the sympathy of the nations that have aided her morally and materially.
“Austria cannot succeed in warding off Hitlerism by Nazi-fying herself. It is a policy that must inevitably lead to suicide.”
And two days after that, on February 15th, my editorial contained the following:
“Chancellor Dollfuss is practically paving the way for the Nazi triumph in Austria.
“The outrageous attack by the government troops on peaceful workers, on women and children, many of whom were killed, is sure to intensify bitterness and strife in Austria and to create a situation which will hasten the coming of Hitlerism . . .
“Little Dollfuss has chosen the reactionary Heimwehr Fascists to lean on. The weakness of Austria was its strength. Dollfuss had gained the sympathy of other nations because of his courageous efforts to resist the German Nazis. By resorting now to cowardly methods that are as despicable as those of the Hitlerite Nazis, Dollfuss is practically making ready to hand Austria over to Hitler. The Fascism of the Dollfuss supporters resembles more closely the Nazism of Hitler than the Fascism of Mussolini.”
Several days afterward I wrote:
“All signs indicate that little Dollfuss is paving the way for Hitler in Austria. The consequences of a Nazified Austria are too horrible to contemplate. Only a definite firm stand now on the part of the great powers can prevent a new European catastrophe.”
Dollfuss has now paid for his criminal folly and has created as dangerous a situation as the Sarajevo affair which proved the starting point for the World War. The menace of Hitlerism to world peace has now become more unmistakable than ever before. Despite Hitler’s promises to Mussolini in Venice, the German Nazis, under the direction of the German Minister, have engineered the anti – Dollfuss Putsch. Only the consciousness of the saner diplomats of the leading powers in Europe that a new war will mean a widespread civil war, may serve to avert the most awful catastrophe with which Europe is confronted at this moment.
The assassination of Dollfuss and the Nazi Putsch in Vienna must at last open the eyes of the whole world to the war mania that emanates from Hitlerite Germany, threatening the foundations of civilization.
Hitler and Hitlerism must be put into a straightjacket, if mankind is to be saved from wholesale bloodshed.
As far as the Jews of Austria are concerned, their plight is tragic. In the event of further complications as a result of the Nazi violence in Austria, they would undoubtedly be among the worst sufferers, even though they have played no role whatever in the Nazi and Dollfuss machinations. A Nazified Austria would be as disastrous to them as Nazified Germany is. The only salvation and hope for Austrian Jewry, and for that matter also for the majority of the Austrian people themselves, lie in the establishment of a democratic government, under the guarantees of the League of Nations, or the great powers, which would undertake to safeguard the integrity and independence of a democratic Austria.