Kitty Werthmann: I cannot tell you that Hitler took Austria by tanks and guns; it would distort history. We elected him by a landslide 98% of the vote. I've never read that in any American publications. Everyone thinks that Hitler just rolled in with his tanks and took Austria by force. In 1938, Austria was in deep Depression. Nearly one-third of our workforce was unemployed. We had 25% inflation and 25% bank loan interest rates... We looked to our neighbor on the north, Germany, where Hitler had been in power since 1933. We had been told that they didn't have unemployment or crime, and they had a high standard of living... We were led to believe that everyone was happy. We wanted the same way of life in Austria. We were promised that a vote for Hitler would mean the end of unemployment and help for the family. Hitler also said that businesses would be assisted, and farmers would get their farms back. Ninety-eight percent of the population voted to annex Austria to Germany and have Hitler for our ruler. We were overjoyed, and for three days we danced in the streets and had candlelight parades. The new government opened up big field kitchens and everyone was fed. After the election, German officials were appointed, and like a miracle, we suddenly had law and order. Three or four weeks later, everyone was employed. The government made sure that a lot of work was created through the Public Work Service. Hitler decided we should have equal rights for women... Our education was nationalized... we wouldn't pray or have religion anymore. Instead, we sang Deutschland, Deutschland, Uber Alles, and had physical education... In 1939, the war started and a food bank was established. All food was rationed and could only be purchased using food stamps. At the same time, a full-employment law was passed which meant if you didn't work, you didn't get a ration card, and if you didn't have a card, you starved to death... Soon after this, the draft was implemented. It was compulsory for young people, male and female, to give one year to the labor corps... Three months before I turned 18, I was severely injured in an air raid attack. I nearly had a leg amputated, so I was spared having to go into the labor corps and into military service.Thanks Commander X.
That statement, to the best of my knowledge, is false. There was never a free election in Austria to anoint Hitler. The Nazis seized Austria militarily in 1938 with little trouble, having undermined the previous Austrian regime internally for years before sending the troops in. They arrested the Austrian chancellor and sent him to a concentration camp. There was some opposition to the Nazi takeover within Austria (aided by German emigrees) but it never manifested itself to the level where it could muster any military resistance.
Regrettably, the statement about the supposed election mars an otherwise credible article by Ms. Werthmann.