Engelbert Dollfuss

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Engelbert Dollfuss (in German: Engelbert Dollfuß; October 4, 1892 – July 25, 1934) was an Austrian Christian Social and Patriotic Front statesman. He served as the chancellor of Austria from 1932, and was dictator from 1933 until his assassination by Nazi agents in 1934.


Early life

He was born in Texing in Lower Austria to a single and deeply religious mother Josepha Dollfuss by an unknown father. Dollfuss was educated at a Roman Catholic seminary before deciding to study law at the University of Vienna and then economics at the University of Berlin.

Dollfuss had difficulty gaining admission into the Austro-Hungarian army in World War I because he was short – according to The New York Times, he was 150 cm (4'11") tall.[1] He was eventually accepted and sent to the Alpine Front. He was a highly decorated soldier and was briefly taken prisoner by the Italians as a prisoner of war in 1918.[citation needed] After the war he worked for the agriculture ministry as secretary of the Farmers' Association. and became director of the Lower Austrian Chamber of Agriculture in 1927. In 1930 as a member of the conservative Christian Social Party (CS), he was appointed president of the Federal Railway System. (One of the founders of the CS was a hero of Dollfuss's, Karl Freiherr von Vogelsang.) The following year he was named Minister of Agriculture and Forests.

Chancellor of Austria

Dollfuss became Chancellor on May 20, 1932 as head of a coalition government, with the pressing goal of tackling the problems of the Great Depression. Much of the Austro-Hungarian Empire's industry had been situated in the areas that became part of Czechoslovakia and Yugoslavia after World War I as a result of the Treaty of Saint-Germain. Post-Treaty of Saint-Germain Austria was therefore economically disadvantaged.

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