Dollfuss, Engelbert

Dollfuss, Engelbert ĕngˈəlbĕrt dôlˈfo͝os [key], 1892–1934, Austrian chancellor. A Christian Socialist, he rose to prominence as leader of the Lower Austrian Farmers' League and became minister of agriculture in 1931. Appointed chancellor in 1932, he obtained a badly needed international loan in return for a renewal of the pledge to maintain the full independence of Austria. In Mar., 1933, he assumed quasi-dictatorial powers. The increasingly powerful Austrian National Socialist party, backed by Nazi Germany, was the chief threat to the Dollfuss regime and to Austrian independence. Dollfuss dissolved the party in June, 1933. Unwilling or unable to cooperate with the Social Democrats, he relied more and more on alliance with the native Austrian fascists under E. R. von Starhemberg. In foreign policy he lacked adequate support of the Western powers and staked the preservation of Austrian independence on friendship with Italy. Pressed by Starhemberg and Mussolini, he enacted provocative measures against the Social Democrats, and in Feb., 1934, he ruthlessly suppressed a Socialist uprising. In Apr., 1934, Austria became a corporative state with a one-party, authoritarian system. Dollfuss was assassinated (July 25) by Austrian Nazis, who made an unsuccessful attempt to seize power.

See W. Maass, Assassination in Vienna (1972).

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