Hitler's Austria

Popular Sentiment in the Nazi Era, 1938-1945

By Evan Burr Bukey

336 pp., 6.125 x 9.25, 12 tables, 2 maps, notes, bibl., index

  • Paperback ISBN: 978-0-8078-5363-4
    Published: February 2002
  • eBook ISBN: 978-1-4696-5035-7
    Published: August 2018

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Awards & distinctions

2000 National Jewish Book Award, Holocaust Category, Jewish Book Council

2001 Austrian Cultural Institute Prize for the best book on Austrian History

Although Austrians comprised only 8 percent of the population of Hitler's Reich, they made up 14 percent of SS members and 40 percent of those involved in the Nazis' killing operations. This was no coincidence. Popular anti-Semitism was so powerful in Austria that once deportations of Jews began in 1941, the streets of Vienna were frequently lined with crowds of bystanders shouting their approval. Such scenes did not occur in Berlin.

Exploring the convictions behind these phenomena, Evan Bukey offers a detailed examination of popular opinion in Hitler's native country after the Anschluss (annexation) of 1938. He uses evidence gathered in Europe and the United States--including highly confidential reports of the Nazi Security Service--to dissect the reactions, views, and conduct of disparate political and social groups, most notably the Austrian Nazi Party, the industrial working class, the Catholic Church, and the farming community.

Sketching a nuanced and complex portrait of Austrian attitudes and behavior in the Nazi era, Bukey demonstrates that despite widespread dissent, discontent, and noncompliance, a majority of the Austrian populace supported the Anschluss regime until the bitter end, particularly in its economic and social policies and its actions against Jews.

About the Author

Evan Burr Bukey is professor of history at the University of Arkansas and author of Hitler's Hometown: Linz, Austria, 1908-1945.
For more information about Evan Burr Bukey, visit the Author Page.


"In this lucid, lively, meticulously argued book, the author. . . [has] produce[d] a crystal clear rejection of the notion of Austria as victim. . . . Bukey has given us a deft analysis that is surely a welcome point of departure for further discussion and study of a host of difficult questions that assemble around the problematic rubric 'Austrian identity.'"--Central European History

"Bukey's work is tightly organized, well written, thoroughly researched, and solidly argued. It belongs in every university library collection. Though Hitler's Austria has many virtues, not the least of them is the fact that no reader can turn its final page still under the illusion that Austria in the Anschluss era was a nation peopled by morally upright, politically correct von Trapps."--Historian

"[Hitler's Austria: Popular Sentiment in the Nazi Era] is a most welcome addition to the historiography of the period. It is highly readable."--Patterns of Prejudice

"Other scholars have addressed major pieces of the story, but Bukey undertakes a comprehensive survey of the way Austrians responded to, and in some instances participated in, events during the years in which they were included in "Greater Germany." His book provides a timely and sobering reminder of the depths of antisemitism in Austria . . . . . The results of Bukey's efforts amply demonstrate his dedication and industry . . . . Bukey succeeds in providing a thorough chronicle of the vagaries . . . of popular opinion over seven tumultuous years."--Journal of Modern History

"[This] book is remarkable for Bukey's ability to distinguish between subtle variations in popular attitudes and his successful attempt to identify ambiguous feelings, uncertainty, and inconsistent, wavering or irresolute behavior among ordinary people. . . . Bukey uses reports of the security service of the SS and other administrative accounts of popular sentiment. . . . [The] book is a convincing example of a productive use of these sources."--Journal of Social History

"From a wealth of previously unknown archival sources, Bukey has put together a fair, conscientiously multifaceted though unsparingly frank picture of the Austrian people during the period of Nazi rule."--Historische Zeitschrift