Class War and Private Armies

  • Elisabeth Barker


During the decade which followed the Geneva Protocol of 1922, bitter strife, verging on class warfare, grew up between the two big political parties, and private political armies mushroomed. Otto Bauer interpreted the 1922 Protocol as Western capitalism’s move to replace the ‘bourgeoisie’ in power in Austria. There was some truth in this. But it may have been more significant that the Geneva Protocol coincided in time with Mussolini’s March on Rome and coming to power in Italy. In the next year, Hitler won European attention by his abortive Munich coup, and from then on pursued his self-imposed role as prophet of the German people in its widest sense. Both Mussolini and Hitler used private armies as instruments for acquiring power and suppressing opponents. Moreover in Britain and France — the supposed watch-dogs of Austria’s independence — there were influential admirers of Mussolini and Hitler. The European atmosphere of the decade was therefore one in which class warfare and private armies seemed quite respectable.


Social Democratic Parliamentary Democracy German People Armed Band Class Warfare 
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  1. 54.
    Josef Klaus, Macht und Ohnmacht in Österreich (Vienna: Verlag Fritz Molden, 1971) p. 23.Google Scholar
  2. 56.
    Ibid., p. 42.Google Scholar
  3. 61.
    Ibid., p. 134.Google Scholar
  4. 62.
    Ibid., pp. 222–3.Google Scholar
  5. 63.
    Helmut Andics, 50 Jahre Unseres Lebens (Vienna: Verlag Fritz Molden, 1968) p. 83.Google Scholar
  6. 65.

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© Elisabeth Barker 1973

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  • Elisabeth Barker

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