What would have happened if Hitler only annexed Austria?

Much bloodshed and tears would have been avoided. I don't think the Brits or the French could have or would have faulted the Anschluss with Austria. It had been a centuries long dream to united Austria and Germany (or at least the Catholic portions of Germany). As much as they may have disliked the notion of annexing the Sudetenland, I think they could at least understood the logic behind it.

I think had Hitler stopped there, WWII would have been avoided. Hitler would have continued with his efforts to make the Greater Reich not just "Judenfrei" or "Jew free", but also Gypsy and Slavic free as well. I think he would have continued with his new economic trade policy and not revert to a gold based currency, or borrowing from international bankers. His military build up would have continued. Perhaps he would made Germany the world's top arms manufacturer and dealer.

However, since Hitler tore up the infamous Versailles Treaty, I wonder if, instead of moving into the truncated Czechoslovakia or invading Poland, he would have demanded the return of German colonies lost as a result of the Treaty Or compensation for them perhaps?).

However, Hitler wanted a return of the Danzig Corridor, connecting East Germany and East Prussia, as well as the other territories lost in the East as a result of the Treaty, so at some point at least, there was going to be a conflict with Poland. As an aside, while Romania, Bulgaria, and Hungary became "allies" of a sort with Hitler, these countries (and others) had belonged to the Austro-Hungarian Empire, which was broken up in 1919 (again, as a result of the Versailles Treaty) into separate countries.

If Hitler would reoccupy the Ruhr and incorporate Austria into the Reich, I wonder what would have happened if he had demanded a return of former lands belonging to the Austro-Hungarian Empire? Perhaps France and the UK would have demanded a plebiscite like the one held in Austria and the Sudetenland.

After all, if they wanted to voluntarily rejoin Austria (and thus the Greater Reich), what business did either France or the UK have in stopping them? France and the UK both had colonies where they weren't wanted and forcibly maintained, so they really had no moral ground to stand on.

Now, if that proved to be the case (whether it took place or not doesn't actually matter), it would have set the stage for Hitler to demand a plebiscite in Poland to see if those living in the former German lands also wanted to return to the Reich. Again, while the UK and France might be appalled at the sudden expansion of Germany, they would have little in the way of an argument to oppose it.

Nevertheless, to your question, I think the Europe and the world would have been much better off if it had indeed stopped there. However, Nazi Germany based its overall economy on preparing for and engaging in war. Without it, the economy might have slowed or even collapsed which would have meant the end of Hitler and the Nazis. Who knows? Maybe the Communists would have been voted into power at the point.

If you are interested in Germany's immediate pre-war and wartime economy, I would recommend that you read "Hitler's Beneficiaries: Plunder, Racial War, And The Nazi Welfare State" by Gotz Aly, You might also enjoy "Hitler's Social Revolution: Class and Status in Nazi Germany 1933 - 1939" by David Schoenbaum.


I think they would still attack Germany and dismantle it. Hitler took German financial system out of debt-based international banking and was very successful with it. International bankers couldn't stand for that, Germany had to be defeated and brought back into international banking system.

Of course Hitler made it easy for them by givingthem every reason to go to war against Germany.


What would have happened if Hitler only annexed Austria?

He was pretty mad which proved good at the end.

If he stopped in Austria, you and I, we wouldn't be alive at all, or would be grateful citizens of the VIIth order of the Great German Reich.

Look what Germany (sans Hitler!) did after the utter devastation of the WW II!!!


Most probably nothing.

Except if Russia or another power attacks.


He did it in 1938- it was an anschluss, but it was not enough for him, so the war started...


If he'd stopped at Austria, or even the Sudetenland then that would probably have been acceptable in the eyes of the British and French, not so much for the people of Czechoslovakia, but they weren't even really consulted during the "negotiations" to cede the Sudetenland to Germany. The Brits and French would have, by all indications, let that slide.
Hitler himself claimed that the Sudetenland was "absolutely my last territorial demand in Europe"
When he broke that promise and took the rest of Czechoslovakia, that was really the end of the Allies patience, and that's when they resolved to back up Poland in case of German aggression.


Hey, Nathan. Probably not very much, although there likely would have been Austrian pushback in the long term.


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