In An Imperial Pickle

Otto von Habsburg, son of the last Austrian Emperor, has sparked controversy at an event commemorating the Nazis absorption of Austria in March 1938.

The ninety-five-year-old Archduke, who served as a member of the European Parliament for twenty years, declared that there is "no other state in Europe that has a better claim to be a victim of the Nazis."

However, although in the 1930s Austrian politicians sought British support as a means of staving off Hitler's advances, historians suggest that claims of Austrian victimhood are misleading.

Specialists point to the enthusiasm with which many Austrians greeted Hitler and to the loyal service of many Austrians in the Wehrmacht. Others point to the fact that Austria eventually emerged from the war as a sovereign nation, whereas a country such as Poland - which organised the greatest resistance to Hitler - had to endure decades of enforced communist rule, an economic disaster from which it is only just beginning to recover.


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