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FRIEDRICH RAINER AND THE PARADOX OF AUSTRIAN NATIONAL SOCIALISM
Archiv für vaterländische Geschichte und Topographie Bd. 91
Author: Maurice Williams
Editors: Ulfried Burz / Claudia Fräss-Ehrfeld
Year of publication: 2005
Number of pages: 311
Weight: 950 g
Trim size: 24,5 x 16 cm
Friedrich Rainer’s political career offers a storybook example of the progress made by a young, ambitious, intelligent man who played his part in making the National Socialist system work.
In his book, Professor Maurice Williams reconstructs the rise of a young man from the provinces to the highest echelons of Hitler’s Germany. After the failed 1934 Nazi putsch in Austria Rainer progressed rapidly and single-mindedly into becoming one of the most important figures in the indigenous illegal movement. Originally his plan was to create an independent National Socialist Austria. Surprised when Germany annexed his country, Rainer, a lawyer brought up in Carinthia, was still prepared to give his services to an ideology which preached the cultural, political, and racial superiority of the Germans, notions which led to the most appalling consequences.
As one of the main organisers of the international “annexation” of Austria to the German Reich, Rainer was compensated by his Führer: becoming first the Gauleiter of Salzburg, then of Carinthia, and from 1943 the Supreme Comander of the Operation Zone Adriatic Coastland.
Williams decribes how Rainer sought to put the policies of the Third Reich into practice in Southeastern Europe und how later, as a prisoner of the Western Allies and of Tito’s Yugoslavia, he reinterpreted his previous actions, employing at times a grotesque strategy of justification, which even today finds support. This study is alo eminently readable for Rainer’s political analyses of the immediate post-war era, which impart an insight into the high suspense of the emerging Cold War. The fact that Rainer – contrary to official announcements – was not immediately executed by the Yugoslavs following his 1947 trial but placed his inside knowledge at the disposal of the communist state, gains in significance, given the recent opening of archival materials in the United States, which has raised the issue of cooperation between the CIA and former National Socialists.
Using a wide rage of documentation, the author has produced an original, compelling portrait of Friedrich Rainer. His study allows Rainer himself to take us into the heart of Austrian National Socialism.
Price € 30,-