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The German term Anschluss (literally connection, attachment, inclusion) refers in specific political terms to the inclusion of Austria in a "Greater Germany" in 1938. This is as to Ausschluss, the exclusion of Austria from Germany, usually under implied Prussiann domination.

Anschluss was the subject of inconclusive debate prior to the Austro-Prussian War of 1866, whose loss allowed Otto von Bismarck to build the Prussian-dominated German Empire of 1871. After the loss of World War I, the Treaty of Versailles in 1918/1919 explicitly vetoed the inclusion of Austria in Germany.

Anschluss of 1938

Inflamed by Hitler's demagogic broadcasts, Austrian Nazis instituted a reign of terror, worsening after election victories in April 1932. To check the power of Austrian Nazis advocating union with Nazi-Germany, Chancellor Engelbert Dollfuss in 1933 had switched to rule by decree, thus establishing an authoritarian regime ending Parliamentarism, and orientated towards fascist Italy. The Nazis' assassination of Dollfuss (July 25, 1934) and many of his supporters facilitated their domination of Austria politically and culturally.

On March 12, 1938, Germany announced the annexation (Anschluss) of Austria, making it a German province. This melding of the German nation lasted until the end of World War II in 1945.

After a lengthy political standoff, including Hitler making threats of war, a Nazi lawyer, Arthur Seyss-Inquart, was appointed first Foreign Minister and then Chancellor of Austria.

Note: Until the reform of German orthography in 1998, Anschluss was spelled Anschlu▀; the latter term might thus still be found in older literature (see also the "ess-tzett (▀)" article).\n