Engelbert Dollfuss

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Dollfuss, looking rather similar to Charlie Chaplin.
Suppress the dissenters
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Bundle of rods

Engelbert Dollfuss (1892–1934) was an Austrian politician and fascist[1] who was the chancellor of Austria during 1932 to 1934, having ascended to the position in the midst of a government crisis, previously holding the role as Minister for Forests and Agriculture. Dollfuss was allied with Mussolini during the 1930s, when Hitler was gaining prominence in Germany. When Dollfuss was assassinated, this caused Italy to have a difficult relationship with Germany until the beginning of World War II.[2]


Dollfuss was born to a poor peasant family in rural Austria. The local priests aided him byfinancing his attendance in public school, which made Dollfuss consider becoming a priest when he enrolled in the University of Vienna to study theology. However, he later abandoned this decision and chose to study law instead in 1912. From there, he gave lessons as a career and even joined the Students' Social Movement, a student organization which performed charity for workers.[3]

During the outbreak of World War I, it was reported that Dollfuss was considered for enlistment in the military, but was said to be rejected because his height was 2 centimeters shorter than the required average.[4]

Political career[edit]

Dollfuss modeled Austrian fascism from Catholic religious values, corporatist ideals, and anti-secularism, which he modeled after Italian fascism.[5]

Despite being a fascist, he saw Nazism as too extreme and outlawed the Austrian Nazi Party in 1934, but not before banning Austrian socialist and social democrat movements and cementing his rule as a religious fascist.[6]

Austrian civil war[edit]

Dollfuss's administration took heavy action against social democrats. The social democrats responded by defending themselves, and this kicked off a civil warWikipedia between Dollfuss's government and the social democrats in February 1934. Most of the fighting took place in east Austria, where bloodbaths and massacres occurred in workers' buildings. The fighting lasted for five days and ended with several hundred dead and about 1,000 wounded.[7] When the fighting ended, the government outlawed the party and its members either escaped abroad or were imprisoned.[8]


Dollfuss was assassinated by Austrian Nazis starting the July PutschWikipedia in 1934. His opponents saw his form of fascism as too weak and lenient compared to Hitler's. His death would temporarily lead Mussolini to be at odds with the Nazis, but later they would become allies after Hitler appointed a new Austrian chancellor who was loyal to Germany and shared his ideology.[9]

See also[edit]

  • Johannes Messner, Dollfuss: An Austrian Patriot. Norfolk, Virginia, Gates of Vienna Books, 2004. ISBN 9781932528367