In 1938, a culmination of historical cross-national pressures to unify German populations under one nation resulted in the Anschluss - the annexation of Austria and Switzerland into Greater Germany by the Nazi regime in two phases. Anschluss Phase 1
During World War One Switzerland's neutrality was seriously brought into question by the Grimm-Hoffmann Affair. Robert Grimm (pictured), a socialist politician, traveled to Russia as an activist to negotiate a separate peace between Russia and Germany, in order to end the war on the Eastern Front in the interests of socialism and pacifism. Swiss neutrality was further compromised by one unexpected result of the peace settlement, an expansion of Switzerland itself during the Interwar Period. In a referendum held in the Austrian state of Vorarlberg on 11 May 1919 over 80% of those voting supported a proposal that the state should join the Swiss Confederation.
Later, and as a result of Aryanisation, both Germany and Austria suffered a catastrophic capital flight as huge quantities of gold and other Jewish assets had been moved to Swiss Banks in Basle.
Continues in Phase Two.
In 1938, a culmination of historical cross-national pressures to unify German populations under one nation resulted in the Anschluss - in phase one, the annexation of Austria into Greater Germany by the Nazi regime. Anschluss Phase 2
During 1933, in the first the Nazis came to power. Jews were prevented from holding positions in the civil service, and also the professions. On July 25 1934 150 members of the National Socialist Party dressed in the uniform of the Austrian Army broke into the federal chancellery and shot Austrian Chanceller Engelbert Dollfuss in the throat at point-blank range. 1935 had seen the enactment of the Nuremberg Laws in Germany.
After a lengthy period of pressure by Germany, Hitler met Kurt Schuschnigg, the Chancellor of Austria on 12 February 1938 in Berchtesgaden (Bavaria) and demanded that he lift the ban on political parties, reinstate full party freedoms, release all imprisoned members of the Nazi party and let them participate in the government. Otherwise, he would take military action. Schuschnigg complied with Hitler's demands and appointed Arthur Seyss-Inquart, a pro-Nazi lawyer, as Interior Minister and another Nazi, Edmund Glaise-Horstenau, as a Minister without Portfolio.
At about 10 PM on March 11, well after Hitler had signed and issued the order for the invasion, Goring and Hitler gave up on waiting and published a forged telegram containing a request by the Austrian Government for German troops to enter Austria. Around midnight, after nearly all critical offices and buildings had fallen into Nazi hands in Vienna and the main political party members of the old government had been arrested, Miklas finally conceded to appoint Seyss-Inquart Chancellor. Subsequently, 38,000 Austrian Jews were granted refuge in Switzerland by Robert Grimm's (pictured) Socialist Government.
Germany started planning the invasion of Switzerland on 25 June 1940, the day France surrendered. The third of these plans was called Operation Tannenbaum ('Pine Tree'). The plan was submitted by 12th Army on 6 September 1940 to Army Group C for execution, and Phase two of the Anschluss began.
To be continued..