Tag Archives: dictator

In 1938, why were so many Austrians Nazi-friendly?

Why Were So Many Austrians Hitler-Friendly?

By Rick Steves

Today I stood on Vienna’s Heroes Square where, in 1938, more than 200,000 tearfully happy Austrians gathered before Adolf Hitler. The Nazi dictator stood on the palace balcony and stated, “In front of German history, I declare my former homeland now a part of the Third Reich. One of the pearls of the Third Reich will be Vienna.” From that day on, Austrians were forbidden to say the word “Austria.”

Americans often wonder how Austria could so eagerly embrace Hitler. Let me hazard an explanation: Imagine post-WWI Austria. One of the mightiest empires on earth started — and lost — a great war. In a few bloody years, it went from being a grand empire of 55 million people to a relatively insignificant landlocked state of six million that was required to be nonaligned.

The capital, Vienna, was left with little to rule, and now its population comprised a third of the country’s. With the economic crisis we know as the Great Depression, Austria also got a fascist government complete with a dictator named Engelbert Dollfuss. He was as right-wing and anti-Semitic as Hitler, but he was pro-Roman Catholic Church, pro-Habsburg, and anti-Nazi. When an Austrian Nazi assassinated Dollfuss in 1934, it was easy for the German Nazis to take over four years later. By that point, the Austrian fascists had already put down the leftists. The German Nazis just took over their Austrian counterparts’ file cabinets. And, Hitler promised greatness again…and jobs…

 

Read the rest, and check out Rick’s travels through modern-day Vienna

 

 

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The ousted authoritarian government of Mexico – PRI – may be back

When Mexico’s long-ruling party was ousted by voters 12 years ago, giddy celebrants hailed the event as something like the fall of the Berlin Wall.

For seven decades, the Institutional Revolutionary Party, or PRI, had governed virtually unchallenged, aided by election trickery, a well-honed ability to buy off potential troublemakers and, when that didn’t work, an iron fist. Its historic loss in 2000, and its tumble to third place six years later, led some to even imagine a Mexico without the PRI.

Now the PRI is on the verge of an epic comeback. Polls show the party’s presidential candidate, Enrique Peña Nieto, holding a double-digit lead over three rivals ahead of the July 1 vote. The party could also end up with majorities in both houses of Congress for the first time in 15 years.

The PRI’s march back from humiliation owes as much to widespread anger over skyrocketing drug violence and an anemic job market as to any lessons learned.

But the possibility of a PRI triumph raises a question now at the heart of the race: What kind of PRI would govern — a cleaned-up, “new PRI” retooled for a modernizing Mexico, or the opaque monolith of yore, with its dark intrigues, rampant graft and authoritarian streak?

 

Keep readingThe fall and rise of Mexico’s PRI

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Anonymous hacktivism – exposing the evil of the Syrian Assad dictatorship

Hackers aligned with Anonymous have exposed hundreds of e-mail messages from the webmail server of Syria’s Ministry of Presidential Affairs, the support ministry for Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. Among the exposed e-mail messages was a set of talking points for Assad’s interview with Barbara Walters in December 2011.

A translation of the e-mail sent by Sheherazad Jaafari, a press attaché at the Syrian mission to the United Nations, to Assad aide and former Al Jazeera journalist Luna Chebel, provided helpful hints for Assad to manipulate American opinion about what was going on in Syria. The message suggested that “it is hugely important and worth mentioning that ‘mistakes’ have been done in the begining of the crises because we did not have a well-organized ‘police force.’ American psyche can be easily manipulated when they hear there are ‘mistakes’ done and now we are ‘fixing it.’”

via ars technica