• This is tied in with WWII, I believe. For more, read: The idea of grouping all Germans into one state had been the subject of inconclusive debate since the end of the Holy Roman Empire in 1806. Prior to 1866, it was generally thought that the unification of the Germans could only succeed under Austrian leadership, but the rise of Prussia was largely unpredicted. This created a rivalry between the two that made unification through a Großdeutschland solution impossible. Also, due to the multi-ethnic composition of the Austro-Hungarian Empire centralized in Vienna, many rejected this notion and it was unthinkable that Austria would give up her "non-German" territories, let alone submit to Prussia. Nevertheless, a series of wars, including the Austro-Prussian War, led to the expulsion of Austria from German affairs, allowed for the creation of the North German Confederation and consolidated the German states through Prussia, enabling the creation of a German Empire in 1871. Otto von Bismarck played a fundamental role in this process, with the end result representing a Kleindeutsche solution that did not include the German-speaking parts of Austria-Hungary . When the latter broke up in 1918, many German-speaking Austrians hoped to join with Germany in the realignment of Europe, but the Treaty of Versailles (1919) and the Treaty of Saint-Germain of 1919 explicitly vetoed the inclusion of Austria within a German state, because France and Britain feared the power of a larger Germany, and had already begun to disempower the current one. Also Austrian particularism, especially among the nobility, played a huge role, as Austria was Roman Catholic, while Germany was dominated, especially in government, more by Protestants. The events of March 12, 1938, marked the culmination of historical cross-national pressures to unify the German populations of Austria and Germany under one nation. However, the 1938 Anschluss, regardless of its popularity, was enacted by Germany. Earlier, Hitlerian Germany had provided support for the Austrian National Socialist Party (Austrian Nazi Party) in its bid to seize power from Austria's Austrofascist leadership. Fully devoted to remaining independent but amidst growing pressures, the chancellor of Austria, Kurt Schuschnigg, tried to hold a plebiscite.

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