25 July 1934

The Nazis assassinate Austrian Chancellor Engelbert Dollfuss in a failed coup attempt.

Engelbert Dollfuss was an Austrian statesman who served as the Chancellor of Austria from 1932 until his death in 1934. He was a staunch opponent of the Austrian Nazi Party, led by Arthur Seyss-Inquart, which sought to unite Austria with Nazi Germany under Adolf Hitler’s rule.

In the summer of 1934, the Austrian Nazis, with support from Nazi Germany, plotted to overthrow Dollfuss’s government and install a pro-Nazi regime in Austria. On July 25, they launched an armed uprising in what is known as the July Putsch. The rebels took over several government buildings in Vienna, including the Chancellery.

During the coup attempt, Dollfuss was inside the Chancellery and refused to surrender to the Nazi rebels. A violent standoff ensued, and Dollfuss was eventually shot and fatally wounded by one of the insurgents. Despite being gravely injured, Dollfuss held on to power until he eventually succumbed to his injuries later that day.

Following Dollfuss’s death, the coup attempt ultimately failed. The Austrian military, loyal to the government, suppressed the rebellion, and the conspirators were arrested or killed. The attempted coup strengthened the authoritarian rule in Austria and led to the establishment of the Austrofascist regime under Kurt Schuschnigg, who became the new Chancellor.

The assassination of Engelbert Dollfuss is considered a significant event in Austrian history, as it marked a turning point in the country’s path towards authoritarianism and its struggle against the growing influence of Nazi Germany. It also further isolated Austria from the international community and contributed to the eventual annexation of Austria into Nazi Germany in 1938, known as the Anschluss.