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German troops entered Austria on March 12, 1938. The annexation of Austria to Germany was proclaimed on March 13, 1938. In this German newsreel footage, Austrians express overwhelming enthusiasm for the Nazi takeover of their country.
In an attempt to prevent the German annexation of Austria, Austrian chancellor Kurt von Schuschnigg called a plebiscite (referendum) on Austrian independence. On March 11, 1938, the Germans pressured Schuschnigg to cancel the plebiscite and resign. This German newsreel footage from March and April 1938 served as propaganda for the Nazi annexation of Austria. It begins with images of pro-Nazi residents in Graz expressing their opposition to Schuschnigg's plebiscite. It also includes footage after Schuschnigg's resignation when the residents of Graz and other Austrian cities celebrated the Austrian union with Germany (the Anschluss).
US forces under the command of General Omar Bradley reached the Ebensee forced-labor camp in Austria in early May 1945. The Germans had built Ebensee at the foot of the Austrian Alps as part of the Mauthausen system of camps. The Nazis employed Ebensee prisoners as forced laborers during the construction of an underground rocket factory. Thousands died from the harsh conditions and back-breaking labor.
This film footage is excerpted from documentary film titled "Mauthausen Concentration Camp," showing footage from both Mauthausen and the nearby Gusen camp. Filmed by US cameramen, the footage opens with a broad view of buildings in the Gusen camp. Excerpts that follow show scenes in the camps, American care of the liberated prisoners, and Austrian civilians loading bodies of victims onto carts for burial.
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