Freiheitsbund, Christian-Socialist defence organisation, founded in 1927 in Vienna to prevent assemblies and industrial terrorism by the Social Democrats; the Freiheitsbund existed formally only until 1936, but in reality until 1938. The Freiheitsbund, as a troop of blue-collar workers without officers dedicated to upholding democracy, was always treated with hostility by the Heimwehr (para-military force). A prominent political exponent was L. Kunschak, its leader J. Dengler. After the revolts in February 1934 and the National Socialist putsch in 1934, former members of the Schutzbund and National Socialists joined the Freiheitsbund in large numbers, bringing membership from 2,100 (1934) to 30,350 (1935) and considerably changing the structure of the Freiheitsbund changed considerably as well. During the era of the corporate state, the Freiheitsbund worked closely with the Unified Trade Union and had significant influence on the distribution of jobs (Staatssekretaere, ministers without portfolio, after February 15, 1938).
Literature#J. Dengler, Der niederoesterreichische Freiheitsbund 1927-1935, 1935; idem, Berg und Tal, 1957; W. Wiltschegg, Die Heimwehr, 1985.