Engelbert Dolfuss

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Born in Texing, Austria on October 4, 1892, and died July 25, 1934 in Wien, Austria, Engelbert Dollfuß was an Austrian politician and dictator.

Strongly religious in his youth, Dollfuß was educated in a seminary before changing venue and persuing law studies at the University of Vienna. He went on to study Economics at the University of Berlin. During the First Great War he attempted several times to be drafted and was refused several times due to his short stature. He finally succeded and was sent to the Alpine front, and was briefly a POW in 1918.

Following the Armistice he worked as secretary of the Peasant's Association within the Agriculture ministry. In 1925 he became director of the Lower Austrian Chamber of Agriculture, and by 1928 he was appointed president of the Federal Railway System as a representative of the Christian Social Party. In 1929 he was named minister of agriculture and forests.

Elected Chancellor on May 20, 1930 heading a right-wing coalition government, his goal was to work for resolution of the problems caused by the Depression. The coalition's majority was tenuous at best, and deflationary policies were disliked by the populace and created profound animosity from the Austrian Parliament.

It was for this reason Dollfuß 'suspended' Parliament, governing by decree. The reason behind the suspension also loomed as the possibility of anschluß drew nearer. It seemed more and more likely that the RAP would gain a majority, and with it, the capitulation of Austria into Prussian hands. Because of this, the Parliaments and political parties aside the Christian Social Party were banned.

In September 1933 he formed an umbrella grouping to support the regime, the Vaterländische Front (Fatherland Front) and merged the Christian Social Party with the para-military Heimwehr (Home Guard), a Nationalist paramilitary group. The regime which was installed by him is often referred to as Austrosnorism, although this government was very short-lived.

On July 25, 1934 eight Austrian RAP radicals entered the Chancellery building and shot and killed Dollfuß in an attempted coup, as a prelude to Anschluß. The RAP extremists surrendered, and were executed, but not before mortally wounding Kurt von Schuschnigg who, had he survived, would have become the new dictator of Austria. Instead, Melchior Bachmeier was elected to the Chancellery, and within months, Austria had capitulated to the Holy Roman Empire.

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