1938: Arthur Seyss-Inquart Becomes Austrian Nazi Chancellor

1938: Arthur Seyss-Inquart Becomes Austrian Nazi Chancellor
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The accession of Arthur Seyss-Inquart to the position of chancellor allowed for the easy annexation (German: Anschluss) to the Third Reich.

 Arthur Seyss-Inquart was appointed the chancellor of Austria on this day in 1938. This was a great victory for Adolf Hitler and was followed by the entry of German troops into Austria already the next day, and the annexation (German: Anschluss) of Austria to the Third Reich only a short time after that. Seyss-Inquart later became one of the most important Nazi politicians. He was also the Reichkommissar in the occupied Netherlands, and Hitler named him the foreign minister of Germany in his last will and testament.

The ascension of Arthur Seyss-Inquart to the position of chancellor (head of government) in Austria was made possible after the resignation of the previous chancellor, Kurt Schuschnigg. Schuschnigg was an opponent of Hitler’s ambitions and tried to perform several maneuvers in order to prevent him from taking power in Austria. However, Hitler skillfully outmaneuvered him and forced Schuschnigg into a hopeless position.

Arthur Seyss-Inquart was born in 1892, making him three years younger Hitler. He moved to Vienna in his youth. During World War I he served in the Kaiserjäger light infantry units. He then entered Austrian politics, becoming a minister in the government of Chancellor Schuschnigg.

After the end of World War II, Seyss-Inquart was tried at Nuremberg and sentenced to death by hanging. A psychiatrist examined him before his execution and determined he had a very high IQ (141, highest among all captured Nazi leaders).

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