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Februarkämpfe 1934#

Uprising, February 1934: The differences between the Social Democrats and the Republican organisation, the Republikanischer Schutzbund (prohibited in 1933) on one side and Christian-Socialists, the Heimwehr para-military force, in other words the government, on the other ( First Republic) escalated between February 12 and 15, 1934 to a civil war when Social Democratic members of the Schutzbund, under R. Bernaschek, resisted a weapons raid with armed force conducted by the Heimwehr (acting as law-enforcement agents) in the party headquarters of the Social Democrats in Linz ("Hotel Schiff"). Preceding the raid, B. Mussolini had repeatedly called on the Austrian Chancellor E. Dollfuss to take action against Marxists, the heads of the Chamber of Labour had been dismissed and several noteworthy members of the Schutzbund (for instance, Major A. Eifler and Captain R. Loew) arrested.


The conflict in Linz was followed by uprisings in Vienna and other industrialised areas (Steyr, St. Poelten, Weiz, Eggenberg near Graz, Kapfenberg, Bruck an der Mur, Woergl etc.). Uprisings in factory workers´ barracks and council houses (Karl-Marx-Hof, Goethehof, Sandleitenhof, Reumannhof, etc.), especially in Floridsdorf (i.e. Schlingerhof) were crushed by military force. The unorganised protest movement failed mainly because the general strike called by the Social Democrats went unheeded. The uprisings cost the Schutzbund almost 200 deaths and more than 300 wounded, the police suffered 128 deaths and 409 wounded. Several leaders of the protest movement were executed (G. Weissel, K. K. Wallisch, K. Muenichreiter, etc.), others were able to flee the country (J. Deutsch, O. Bauer, R. Bernaschek). As a result of the uprisings, the Social Democratic Party, trade unions and all representative bodies led by the Social Democrats on the municipal and provincial level were banned, and the Maiverfassung of 1934 was declared, establishing a corporate state.

Literature#

J. Deutsch, Der Buergerkrieg in Oesterreich, 1934; E. Froeschl and H. Zoitl (eds.), Das Jahr 1934: 12. Februar, 1975; Februar 1934, 1984; H. Weninger, Die Freiheit, die WIR meinen, 1994; E. Weinzierl, Der Februar 1934 und die Folgen fuer Oesterreich, 1995.