Kurt Alois Josef Johann von Schuschnigg was an Austrian Fatherland Front politician who was the Chancellor of the Federal State of Austria from the 1934 assassination of his predecessor Engelbert Dollfuss until the 1938 Anschluss with Nazi Germany.
15 Facts About Kurt Schuschnigg
Kurt Schuschnigg was liberated in 1945 by the advancing United States Army and spent most of the rest of his life as part of the academia in the United States.
Kurt Schuschnigg was born in Reiff am Gartsee in the Tyrolean crown land of Austria-Hungary, the son of Anna Josefa Amalia and Austrian General Artur von Kurt Schuschnigg, member of a long-established Austrian officers' family of Carinthian Slovene descent.
Kurt Schuschnigg received his education at the Stella Matutina Jesuit College in Feldkirch, Vorarlberg.
Kurt Schuschnigg first joined the right-wing Christian Social Party and in 1927 was elected to the Nationalrat, then the youngest parliamentary deputy.
Kurt Schuschnigg had to manage the economy of a near-bankrupt state and to maintain law and order in a country which was forbidden, by the terms of the 1919 Treaty of Saint-Germain, to maintain an army in excess of 30,000 men.
Kurt Schuschnigg had to be mindful of the growing strength of the Austrian Nazis, who supported Adolf Hitler's ambitions to absorb Austria into Nazi Germany.
Kurt Schuschnigg's overriding political concern was to preserve Austria's independence within the borders imposed on it by the terms of the Treaty of Saint-Germain, which ultimately failed.
Kurt Schuschnigg adopted a policy of appeasement towards Hitler and called Austria the "better German state", but struggled to keep Austria independent.
In reaction to Hitler's threats to exercise a controlling influence over Austrian politics, Kurt Schuschnigg publicly declared in January 1938:.
On 12 February 1938, Kurt Schuschnigg met Hitler in his Berghof residence in an attempt to smooth the worsening relations between their two countries.
When Kurt Schuschnigg reluctantly agreed to scrap it, Hitler demanded his resignation, and insisted that Seyss-Inquart be appointed his successor.
In late April 1945, Kurt Schuschnigg narrowly escaped an execution order by Adolf Hitler, with other prominent concentration camp inmates, by being transferred from Dachau to South Tyrol where SS-Totenkopfverbande guards abandoned the prisoners into the hands of some Wehrmacht officers, who freed them.
Kurt Schuschnigg emigrated to the United States, where he was sheltered at the chateau estate Vousier of the Desloge family in St Louis and then became a professor of political science at Saint Louis University from 1948 to 1967.
Kurt Schuschnigg went back to Austria where he downplayed his time as chancellor dictator and tried to justify Austrofascism.