Hitler in Vienna 1938: Anschluss of Austria
Hitler in Vienna 1938: Anschluss of Austria


On March 11, 1938, after the Government of Austria had to accept the German ultimatum and resigned under constant international and military pressure, Kurt Schuschnigg, Prime Minister performed a radio speech to the nation. He declared the resignation of the Austrian Government and devolution of the authority to Arthur Seyss-Inquart, the under-Nazi candidate. Schuschnigg also appealed to the army not to make resistance to the German army, crossing the border. On the same day, the president had also been pressured to accept the resignation of the government and agreed to a new chancellor. The newly created puppet government of Austria made an official appeal to  Germany and asked military forces to enter the state to maintain order and peace. Even Seyss-Inquart was not aware of this document until the next day.

Anschluss of Austria. Annexation in 1938
German units cross the Austrian border at Kufstein-Kiefersfelden without any hostility

In the early hours of March 12, 1938, the German Wehrmacht crossed the international border with Austria according to a military plan, aimed to perform annexation regardless of the inner processes in Austria or any permission. The Austrian army has not made resistance to the invasion. Heinrich Himmler was the first highly-ranked German official, who came to Vienna with his SS surroundings in the early hours of March 12. Adolf Hitler arrived in Vienna on the evening, of March 13, 1938, and the day after he was received with open arms by crowds of people. Within the next few days, the Nazis organized a number of events, including public appearances of Hitler, who announced Austria to be a part of the Third Reich.

People on the streets of Vienna, March 1938
A group of Austrian women greets the arrival of the German troops to Vienna, March 13, 1938
The Anschluss of Austria, Wien 1938
Crowds of Vienna citizens gather to greet German Chancellor Adolf Hitler
The Vienna Boys Choir assembled under a banner during Hitler's first official visit to Vienna after the Anschluss
The Vienna Boys Choir with the banner claiming: ‘We sing for Adolf Hitler!’ photographed on March 13, 1938


On March 11, 1938, Austrian Nazis had finally taken action in public just after the resignation of the government and the Prime Minister’s statement on the radio. They put Swastika on the balcony of the Austrian Chancellery building, located within Ballhausplatz. The Nazi flag was planted over the main entrance and had become the first Nazi symbol put on an office building in Austria. The front part of the building with a former chancellor (Schuschnigg) was also decorated with a banner: DURCH KAMPF ZUM ZIEG  (”Through Struggle to Victory”).

The building on Ballhausplatz was a residence of the puppet government, with Seyss-Inquart on-paper Chancellor, up to it had been liquidated on April 30, 1939. Then the Nazi administration took control of the building and maintained it until the end of the war. The construction was seriously damaged as a result of the aircraft bombing in the spring of 1945 and has been rebuilt in 1950. We now see poor differences, comparing photos that were taken in 1938 and the modern view.

Swastika banner on March 11 Vienna
The building and the balcony look pretty much the same, except for the door
Austrian Chancellery building
The complex of buildings facing Ballhausplatz with a distinctive balcony



After the Anschluss of Austria, several buildings in Vienna were decorated with Nazi symbols and banners with slogans. Loos Haus on Michaelerplatz 3, named after its creator, was among the first ones to demonstrate the new order. A piece of cloth stated: GLEICHES BLUT GEHORT IN EIN GEMEINSAMES REICH – ”Same blood in combined Reich’‘. It meant the significance of the reunion between the German Reich and Austria as the historical nation of Aryan blood.

Lous Haus Nazi banner Vienna
The banner at the front side of the Lous Haus: “The same blood belongs in a common Reich!”

Loos House suffered bombing in 1944 and was renewed after the war. At one point it included a furniture store and in 1987 Raiffeisenbank bought the famous construction and the bank is still here. The front side of the building with columns varied only slightly from 1938.

The modern view of the Lous Hosue in Vienna
Instead of the 1938 banner, we can find the naming of the famous Austrian RAIFFEISENBANK
Another photo from the post-Anschluss period with the Nazi decorations. The building is located in the generally crowded square
Michaelerplatz 3 Vienna
Have been accommodating the building for more than three decades now, the bank preserved the classic style
Michaelerplatz 3 Reiffeisenbank
The lobby of the building welcomes with historical pictures from different periods



On March 15, 1938, two days after the Anschluss of Austria, the Nazis organized several celebrations within the streets of Vienna. Surely the most important and famous was a speech by Adolf Hitler, declared from the balcony of HOFBURG, a former Habsburg palace. Crowds of people filled the near Heldenplatz (Square of Heroes). A few hundred thousands of Austrians bridged the gap of the square and some of them even climbed two famous monuments – Prinz Eugen and Archduke Karl. Hitler declared a pompous speech on the future of the German Reich and Austria – his motherland.

Hitler’s speech at Hofburg 1938: Hitler in Vienna 1938
March 15th. Residents of Vienna greeted Adolf Hitler at Heldenplatz, who arrived by car in the Hofburg.
Heldenplatz in Vienna
My 2017 photo is from pretty much the same perspective. Take note of the 12 m high equestrian statue of Archduke Karl in the background
Hitler’s speech at Hofburg march 1938
A well-known photo of Adolf Hitler delivering his speech to the Austrians from the balcony of Hofburg
Hitler's speech in Vienna March 15, 1938 Hofburg
Another bird’s view panorama over the crow at Heldernplatz on March 15, 1938
Hofburg today
In neither of my two visits to Vienna, I was on the balcony, still, this photo gives a glimpse of it from the low point of Heldernplatz
Anschluss of Austria Vienna March 1938
A panoramic view of the Heldernplatz while standing with my back to Hofburg palace, September 2017
Hofburg square today
The same square during my revisit in 2021 with more photogenic weather and sky



On March 15-16, 1938 German troops and the SS formations participated in a number of military parades within the streets of Vienna. In particular, along the Ringstrasse, the heart of the capital, which was a place of passionate interest for a young Adolf Hitler in 1906-1913.

Military parades in Vienna 1938: Hitler Wien march 1938
Hitler was photographed while receiving a parade with Heinrich Himmler next to him

Hitler and his military surrounding reviewed the troops along the Ringstrasse city ring. They took a place within the Maria-Theresien-Platz, between two museums: ‘’Natural History Museum’’ (Naturhistorisches Museum) and “The Museum of Art History” (Kunsthistorisches Museum). Hitler reviewed the troops with 105-mm guns.

Military parade in Vienna, 1939 the Anschluss
German military equipment at the streets of Vienna during the Anschluss parade
Museum of Viena Arts Vienna
Maria Theresia Platz in the heart of Vienna eight decades later

Military units of the Austrian army, which had given their loyalty oath after the Anschluss of Austria, paraded in front of the Parliament of Austria, a place, where young Adolf Hitler had received his early understanding of democracy and its “weakness”.

Austrian troops parade in Vienna 1938
A rare photo of the Austrian troops in Vienna with the House of Parliament in the background. March 1938
Parliament Building in Vienna
Parliament Building in Vienna in 2017 before an intensive reconstruction

On March 16, 1938, units of the newly formed Austrian SS paraded the Heldenplatz, near the Hofburg Palace, a day after a historic speech given by Adolf Hitler.



On the same day, March 15, 1938, Adolf Hitler took part in another important ceremonial event, just next to the Heldenplatz and Hofburg Palace. Hitler tributed flowers to the Austrian War Monument, devoted to the First World War (Great War at that time) and some among the thousands of monuments of such kind throughout Europe.

Laying flowers to the Austrian War Memorial 1938 Hitler
Hitler with his generals at the Austrian War memorial outside Hofburg
Austrian War memorial in Vienna Ringstrasse
This arch leads you to the Heldernplatz Square and the Hofburg Palace leaving Maria Teresia Platz behind
Austrian War memorial in Vienna Ringstrasse today
One of the two memorials of such kind next to the Äußeres Burgtor (Outer Gates)



A month after the Anschluss of Austria (Annexation of Austria in March 1938), Adolf Hitler returned to Vienna to congratulate the voting of the Austrian people for the Anschluss. On April 9, a day before 99.75% of electors had voted for the joining of Germany, Adolf Hitler took part in a massive pompous military parade – his motorcade moved along the streets of Vienna. The most triumphant part of the ceremony was a motorcade way from the Burgtheater to the City Hall (Apr. 200 meters). Hitler was ceremonially welcomed by the Austrian nationalists and he gave a burning speech inside the City Hall, devoted to past and expected events.

Hitler in Vienna Rathaus 1938
Hitler’s motorcade and his Mercedes rode toward the Town hall leaving the Burgtheater in the background
Burgtheater in VIenna
The Rathausplatz (Town Hall’s Square) and the same Burgtheater in the background
Anchluss of Austrial April 9 1938
A concluding parade prior to the referendum concerning the annexation of Austria to the Reich
Hitler's speech at the Rathaus of Vienna, April 9, 1938
Hitler delivers his speech from the balcony of Vienna’s Town Hall on April 9, 1938
The Rathaus, City Hall of Vienna
The City Hall of Vienna and how it looks nowadays



During his visit to Vienna in March 1938, Adolf Hitler was a resident of the Hotel Imperial, located in the heart of a city on Kartner Ring 16. Hitler and his attendants were accommodated in a small apartment on the first floor, but the famous photoshoots we know, describe the Fuhrer on the balcony on the second floor on March 14 and 20. One appearance presents Joseph Goebbels and another one, Heinrich Himmler just next to the German chancellor. Hitler also took an apartment in the Imperial Hotel during his second official visit in April (devoted to the plebiscite). After the war, the Hotel Imperial was taken and roomed by the Soviet occupation troops. It is still a gorgeous and privileged place to stay in Vienna. For decades it welcomed a number of VIP guests: John Kennedy, Nikita Nikita Khrushchev, Richard Nixon, Queen Elizabeth II, and others.

Hotel Imperial Vienna history Adolf Hitler
Adolf Hitler and Joseph Goebbels at the balcony of the Imperial Hotel with Wertheim Palace and the Palace of Erzherzog Ludwig Viktor in the background
Hotel Imperial in Vienna
Hotel Imperial still impresses with its exterior which attracted dictators, Presidents, and Monarchs
Imperial Hotel, a historical landmark of Vienna
The balcony facing modern Karntner Ring street from the previous historical photo with Hitler and Goebbels
Hotel imperial Wien
The Hotel holds the mark of prestige, yet you may easily get inside the lobby
The lobby of the Hotel Imperial Vienna
The magnificent lobby of the Hotel Imperial
Richard Wagner
A plate devoted to Richard Wagner could be found on the front side of the Hotel Imperial



On March 1, 1941, Adolf Hitler was present at the signing ceremony between Bulgaria and Axis powers, which officially agreed to join the Tripartite Pact. Representatives of Japan and Italy were also present and gave their signatures, as opposed to Hitler being just the highest guest and observant. This ceremony took place in a gorgeous Belvedere palace that has varied poor since 1941. It was not the first event of such kind in Belvedere: on November 20, 1940, Hungary joined the Tripartite Pact also in the presence of Hitler.

Hitler in Belvedere 1941
Adolf Hitler and Joachim von Ribbentrop at Vienna’s Belvedere Palace, November 20, 1940
Belvedere Palace VIenna
The Belvedere Palace has slightly changed since the XVIII except for repairing the damage caused by the air raids in WWII



Adolf Hitler performed his pompous entering Austria on March 12, 1938, to journey across the country and visit places of his childhood and youth. His motorcade moved from the West to the East and visited a number of cities, before reaching Vienna on March 13. After visiting Braunau am Inn – the city where he was born, Adolf Hitler moved to the Linz. German Chancellor spent his childhood from 1899 until 1907 in Linz and his parents were buried in a cemetery in Leonding (a suburb of Linz). After Leonding, Hitler entered Linz and was welcomed by the crowds of people, who supported the Anschluss of Austria.

Anschluss ceremonies in Linz. Hitler in Linz 1938
Hitler salutes to the National-socialists in Linz, March 12, 1938

Hitler’s motorcade moved through the Hauptplatz, the main square, which was renamed to Adolf-Hitler-Platz (Square of Adolf Hitler) on the same evening. Thousands of citizens came to greet the German chancellor. A month after, On April 20, 1938 city administration organized a pompous celebration of the 49-s birthday of Adolf Hitler, which mainly took place within the main square.

The city of Linz Anschluss of Austria
One of the preserved colored photos of Linz and particularly of Hauptplatz during the Nazi era
The city of Linz today
I was amazed at how in fact cozy the main square of Linz is. Take notice of the famous Trinity Column or ‘Plaque Column’ from the XVIII century

In the late hours of the same March 12, 1938, Hitler has his passionate speech from the tiny balcony of the Linz City Hall. He proclaimed the reunion of Austria and Germany to form an empire for centuries. The main square was crowded with thousands of people, who wanted to see Hitler and some of them even climbed the local statue, created in 1723 to have a better perspective of the event and the main guest.

Hitler's speech in Linz march 1938
Hitler addressed the citizens in Linz from the balcony of the Town Hall, on March 12, 1938. Heinrich Himmler, Heinz Guderian and Arthur Seyss-Inquart are to the left of Hitler
Linz, the balcony of the City Hall
The balcony of the Linz City Hall 79 years later in September 2017



After the Anschluss of Austria in March 1938, Hitler’s motorcade entered Linz and moved to the Hauptlatz using a bridge, which did not satisfy Hitler. German leader had grandiose plans for Linz – he even planned to meet his last years here after all his victories and accomplishing his historical mission. The old bridge exploded and the Nazis built a new one, called Nibelungbrucke.

Model of the planned redevelopment of the Austrian city of Linz on the banks of the Danube as Führerstadt Linz
Model of the planned redevelopment of the city of Linz with the famous bridge at the forefront
Nibelungen Bridge at the end of 1940 Linz
Demolition work in the course of the new construction of the Nibelungen Bridge at the end of 1940


 Nibelungbrucke bridge in Linz
A rare colored photo of the Nibelungenbrücke bridge in 1943
 Nibelungbrucke bridge in Linz today
I took this picture while standing at the bridge in the same direction toward the Hauptplatz (Main Square)

Nibelungbrucke bridge remained almost unchanged as a reminder of the Nazi past after the Anschluss. After the war, a new administration demolished two statues of Siegfried and Kriemhild.

Nibelunged bridge in Linz during the Nazi era
Another perspective of the bridge in the direction of the North Bank of the Danube standing back to the city center
 Nibelungbrucke bridge
Nibelungbrucke bridge from the low point

I am very grateful to war archives, museums, libraries, private collections, and writers for the historical photos in this article. To the extent that some author or a copyright owner may not want some of the above black-and-white photos to be used for educational purposes here, please contact me for adding credits or deleting the pictures from the article.